Let’s face it. Not all periods are the same. We grow up learning that a period comes once a month, lasts 28 days, and is often accompanied by cramps. End of story. But as we menstruators know, this isn’t really the whole story. There’s so much more to it because your period is totally U-nique. You may have a friend that takes the week off to rest and load up on Advil when they get their period while you may run a marathon on your period. Or maybe your friend always knows the exact date their period will arrive while yours is always left to surprise. What gives? Why are our periods so different?
A variety of different factors go into what makes your period different from your friends’, especially because our periods can actually be a reflection of our lifestyle choices. One of the ways we see this come into play is in our diets. No, we don’t mean the toxic diet culture where you skip out on that cookie, rather we are talking about the way in which we fuel and show love to our bodies. If you are constantly consuming unhealthy foods, you are more likely to have more severe cramps than if you are eating a diet that consists of a healthy variety of feel-good nutrients like omega 3s and calcium, which actually help reduce menstrual cramping.
Lifestyle has an influence on menstruation beyond just the foods we consume. How we choose to move our bodies through exercise also plays a part in shaping our period. No exercise at all can result in worse cramps while excessive exercise may cause your period to be totally absent––a condition called amenorrhea. This condition occurs because exercise can activate the hypothalamus, which in turn, can suppress your period. The key here is to find that Goldie Locks medium in which you are exercising enough to keep a healthy flow but not too much to where you have no flow at all. At Viv, we love the idea of moving our body in an empowering way, so find what feels groovy to you whether that is playing badminton, water polo, or Zumba!
Another way our choices can influence what our period feels and looks like involves whether or not we choose to be on birth control. The birth control pill is often prescribed not just for the sake of preventing pregnancy, but also to help out our friends who have a heavy flow. Birth control pills can even help make your period more regular if you have irregular periods and they can even completely take away your period by skipping the placebo pills at the end of the pack––if a physician recommends it for you. This works because birth control changes our hormone activity which can alter what’s going on Down Under.
However, our periods are also influenced by factors that are outside of our control and have more to do with specific populations being more susceptible to certain menstrual patterns than others. Let’s do a break down. The first factor is age. If you have just started your period, your period will last longer than someone who is in their 30s and is well along in their menstrual journey. Someone in their 30s will have a different period than someone who is in their 50s and is about to enter menopause. When approaching menopause, periods may be painful and bleeding may actually be heavier––like your period giving you a grand finale. Additionally, being overweight may cause more irregular periods whereas being underweight may result in no period at all.
To cap it all off on celebrating the diversity of periods, I’d like to show you some data collected by the fabulous and amazing Catherine Mak at Viv that shows off just how U-nique periods can be! Also, please be sure to keep in mind that this survey was largely filled out by menstruators aged 18-24 years. To start, participants were asked about the nature of their period. Surprisingly enough, only 19.5% percent of individuals indicated that their period is “normal”, as compared to being fast and heavy, very light, etc. Not so surprisingly, over half of our participants opt for tampons as their menstrual care product of choice––clearly people are getting amped for Viv’s tampon drop! More on that juicy news later! Ever wondered what people purchasing behaviors are like when it comes to period care? Our survey indicates menstruators tend to buy in bulk at one time and save them for future use. Pretty cool, huh?
Well, that’s it for this week. We hope you learned a lot and will find yourself celebrating the beauty and uniqueness that is your period. Until next week!
Viv For Your V
Want to learn more about Viv for your V? Check out www.vivforyourv.com