3 Things Every Girl Needs to Know About Her Cycle

 

By Noelle Thomas

Growing up, like most young women in America, periods were not talked about much all. It was a “sucky” thing that happened—something we had to deal with, that was almost secretive and embarrassing. Does hiding tampons in your pocket at school and slipping away to the bathroom in hopes that no one will know what time of the month it is for you hit home for any one? Well, after getting into the health and wellness space as a hobby in high school, then going on to study it, I felt like I had been lied to!! There is so much more to know about our cycle and periods than anyone talks about! Learning about my own body, my imbalances and how to fix them completely changed my life.

Here are 3 very important things that every woman needs to know about her cycle.

Diet and Your Period

1. Your diet affects your hormones.

As you probably know, your cycle is regulated almost entirely by your hormones. Our western culture does not put a lot of emphasis on our hormonal health let alone how our diet can affect it. Yet, most people would agree that you are what you eat. So, is it any mystery that so many women suffer from PCOS, PMS, and hormonal acne—all things that are largely impacted by the quality of your diet?! I think not. On my journey to learn about my cycle and find  solutions for my terrible PMS, I discovered that a lot of my issues were actually based in my diet. I was able to discover this through doing my own research then  seeking out a naturopath, which is a doctor that takes a more holistic approach to health. She was able to tell me that my crazy PMS mood swings were probably being exacerbated by far too much coffee and far too little healthy fats! Crazy right?! The same goes for conditions like PCOS and hormonal acne. With proper guidance from an expert, a few diet tweaks can resolve a lot of frustrating issues!

PMS is not necessary

2. PMS is common, but not necessary.

The actual definition of PMS or premenstrual syndrome is “the physical and emotional symptoms that come 1 to 2 weeks before a woman’s period.” Thanks to movies, TV shows and just general lack of knowledge on our bodies, most women think that it’s totally normal and expected to have gut wrenching cramps, headaches that have the potential to keep you home from school or work and atomic bomb mood swings. Ummm, no. Though slight changes in mood and energy are very normal, anything extreme like that is usually a sign of hormonal imbalance {which don’t worry, is fairly common & treatable}. In fact, not all women even get PMS!! The point is here that after learning that PMS was not necessarily apart of mother nature’s plan, I was able to address my symptoms like crazy mood swings. But if you are unaware that you don’t have to feel this way, you wouldn't even know to question it!

Rest While Menstruating

3. Your body actually needs more rest when menstruating.

So, again, before getting educated on my body and the female cycle, I bought into the culturally constructed idea that suggests giving in to any urges to rest or be socially withdrawn during my period was some sign of weakness. Like, how dare you take a power nap as your body literally sheds its uterus lining and loses blood for a week. Because of those thoughts,  when my period rolled around and I felt more tired and  withdrawn than usual, I’d often feel a bit guilty and weak...Little did I know that most of my friends felt the same on their period and after consulting with the naturopath I was seeing, learned it was completely normal! I learned that, not only was it ok to rest more on my period--if i got the chance that is--but that I should! Not surprisingly, I became an overall happier human when I learned to respect the hard work going on inside my body.  

So, though nobody likes to bleed and be tired every month, becoming aware of your cycle can be somewhat of a fun self-project. When I started learning that I could lessen the severity of my mood swings and actually eliminate cramps I felt so empowered!! The good news is, more and more young women of our generation are getting curious about their cycle, which will hopefully  spur a larger conversation around how to make our lives easier in a patriarchal society. A good start is just learning about your body first and sharing ideas with friends. Let’s make this less taboo because remember, there is nothing weak about our biochemistry, if anything it’s a sign of strength.

Do you have any insights into how to deal with your period? Write to us here!