Period Pains Are Real And Should Be Given Attention

Yes, Periods Are A Thing And Cramps Hurt

Please don't tell me that I am overexaggerating.

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Recently, I have been astounded about the ignorance of some of the male species about their knowledge toward female's reproductive organs. Women actually bleed out of their vagina every month for an average of about three to seven days. Baffling! They go as far as to say that we can "turn off" our menstrual cycle and there's a simple solution — just don't get your period anymore!

If only it were that easy.

My period would have been turned off the second I got it. If you get cramps, then it can't be any worse than getting kicked in the testicles, right?

What exactly is a period or menstruation? My favorite description is where the uterus is preparing a nursery for a baby and when it realizes I'm not pregnant, my uterus goes mentally crazy, ripping everything apart and tearing down walls. However, since most girls learned this in elementary school, they know what is really going on in there. The body is readying itself to maintain another human being by sending more blood and tissue to the uterus and when there is no pregnancy (estrogen and progesterone levels are low), all the extras are tossed out by way of the vagina.

Doesn't sound painful, huh? Wrong.

Every girl has a different experience with their period. From my first period up until I was a sophomore in high school, my period was so extremely heavy that I had to wear a tampon and an overnight pad every day and I would still bleed through in two hours. My cramps hit me like a truck. They made me so nauseous that I would feel dizzy and I even passed out a few times. Don't even ask about going to the bathroom during your period, it's gross. I would crave the greasiest and saltiest foods I could get my hands on, but everything I ate (greasy or not) seemed to worsen my menstrual cramps. I couldn't "turn off" my uterus as much I wanted to. Even though there are methods to try to ease these uterine contractions, none of them seemed to do the trick and I know other women experience that as well.

My grandmother told me that my family had a history of endometriosis on both maternal and paternal sides. She had it when she was going through her menstrual cycle and she told me that she had missed days of school because of it. The doctors didn't realize the symptoms then and she was only diagnosed when she became pregnant with my father later on in her life. She had to get surgery so the doctors could scrape off endometrial tissue growing where it wasn't supposed to.

I was beginning to miss school and hanging out with my friends because I was in such amounts of pain.

I rarely wanted to participate in cheer practice or even in gym class because I felt like I was going to hurl with each movement. Thankfully, I went to the gynecologist and she told me we would try a low-dose birth control pill to see if it could ease my cramps before testing for endometriosis. That's right boys! Birth control isn't just used to not get pregnant, it helps with menstruation as well! Two years later, I can actually live through my period without wanting to curl up into a ball and cry. Some months I don't even get a visit from Aunt Flo. Although my body is becoming accustomed to the birth control and they are hurting slightly more with each month, I can get a higher dose of my birth control to ease the pain.

So there you have it! Girls have periods, they can not stop their periods, and menstrual pain can affect the everyday life of a woman.

Unfortunately, not every girl's cramps can be aided in birth control as mine has. Birth control has negative side effects such as weight gain, acne, mood swings, and even blood clots. I know being kicked in the balls does hurt and some guys understand periods extremely well, but I feel that this had to be said. Don't get me started on men's views of women's rights to their bodies.

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A Solution To The Abortion Debate

We need to tackle the problem at its core.
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There are very few political issues that are as controversial as abortion. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice seem to be the smack down of the year, every year. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion years ago, but people from all sides of the political spectrum still focus on it.

I'm not going to give you a pro-choice argument. Yes, I am pro-choice, and yes I have very firm beliefs, but I don't think the argument should focus on whether or not women should have access to abortion.

The argument needs to tackle this "issue" of abortion at a much deeper level. It's not about pregnant women wanting abortions — it's about unwanted pregnancies.

There are many reasons a woman chooses to have an abortion. Maybe they can't afford a pregnancy and a child. Maybe they have health problems. Maybe they are not in a place in their lives where they can properly care for a child. Or maybe, they just don't want to have the baby.

Regardless of their reasons, the core cause of abortion is an unwanted pregnancy. Naturally, the way to end abortion is to stop unwanted pregnancies from occurring in the first place. If a woman never becomes pregnant without wanting to be pregnant, there would be no need for abortion, and the divisive debate could finally end.

How do we do this, you ask? Well, you've come to the right place.

There are two things that need to happen in order to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

1. Comprehensive sexual education

27 states currently have abstinence-only education. This means students in 27 states are never taught about birth control. They never learn the realities of sex and sexual experiences because they are taught not to have sex until marriage.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing abstinence until marriage — or even in marriage if that's what you decide. But the truth is, not everyone is going to be abstinent, and by teaching a curriculum that stresses abstinence, students lack a knowledge base necessary to prevent pregnancies and STDs. Some people won't know anything about sex alone, let alone about condoms, the birth control pill, the birth control patch, shot, ring, IUD, or other forms of birth control that could prevent pregnancies.

Statistically, states with abstinence-only education have a much higher rate of teenage pregnancy or STD transmission, while states with more comprehensive education have seen a drastic decrease in these cases.

People seem to think that including comprehensive sex ed in schools will encourage teenagers and young adults to have premarital sex. But lets face it: they're going to do it anyway. So lets make sure they are educations and that they practice safe-sex so no unwanted pregnancies occur.

2. Access to birth control

Education is all fine and dandy, but unless people have access to birth control, they can't really practice safe sex.

The discourse around birth control needs to be less taboo. Young women should not be embarrassed to talk to their healthcare provider about different options. Both men and women who plan to be sexually active, even if they have the smallest inkling that they will be sexually active, should have condoms so that they are never in a position to "risk it."

Birth control needs to be covered by all health insurance. Not only does it prevent pregnancies, but it also helps regulate women's menstrual cycles and treat endometriosis, along with other health problems women may have. But most importantly, it prevents unwanted pregnancies. Birth control needs to be available to every one, both men and women and genderfluid and genderqueer and everything else on the gender spectrum.


Even people who are pro-choice are not pro-abortion. Whether it is because of morals, medical reasons, or any other reason, no one wants abortions to happen.

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions from happening. People will resort to dangerous methods to get abortions if they are outlawed, but they will not stop completely. The only way to stop abortions is to solve the core of the problem through comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control.

In order to make that happen, the discussion needs to move away from "Should abortion be legal or not?" to "Let's stop unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place." Stopping unwanted pregnancies is the only way to stop abortions.

Cover Image Credit: The New Yorker

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Periods Can Be Complicated, But How You Take Care Of Yourself Shouldn’t Be

Your period care should be easy, period.

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Moon day.

That time of the month.

Menstruation.

Your Period.

Ladies. We can all agree that our periods, depending on how your body works, can be super complicated. You have an entire list of things that can go wrong while you are menstruating and it's about a mile long. To list a few things that plague that majority of us women are well, the obvious bleeding, the cramps from hell, breakouts, mood swings, bloating, ruined underwear.

If any of those things haunt you for about a week or more every month, then I am not here to tell you that there is some magic pill to stop it all (Because we all know Birth control only does so much when it comes to weight gain, hormones, etc). No, I am here to let you know that just because you are on your period and it's complicated as hell, the way you take care of your body doesn't have to be.

Also to be clear I'm not trying to sell you on this whole crunchy approach either, where you ditch your sanitary products and paint with your period blood, that's more BuzzFeed's thing. I just want to let you know that if you don't like aspirin/Tylenol for your cramps you've got other options!

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's tackle the main portion of what we as women mostly face during this time of the month, the bleeding! Now, just in case we have anyone where who doesn't know too much about what's actually going on down there, the run down in simple terms is your vagina likes to practice having babies.

Though, obviously, if you haven't had sex, more specifically unprotected sex (or any other way of artificial insemination) your egg, that dropped from your ovaries doesn't stick to the uterine wall, and then once the cycle has ended and there is no baby, the walls that formed begin to break down. Thus you bleed. Obviously, it's a bit more complicated than just that, but you get the gist.

So, no doubt in my mind when you were introduced to sexual education in school, to help manage your bleeding, you were introduced to a Pad or Tampon. Probably something from the Always brand, well, I'm not "coming at you" if you love these kinds of products, I mean they are what I used when I first got my period. What bothered me growing up thinking that these were my only choices. Over the last few years, more specifically after I suffered from TSS symptoms after using a tampon, I've taken a deeper dive into products that steer clear from the traditional route.

AKA there are cleaner alternatives to overly pushed branded sanitary products we all know today that leave out harmful toxins and ingredients, just to make your period "smell/feel" better. Plus, a lot of these options are cheaper than the regular name brand. These brands create sanitary products that use no more than five natural ingredients.

The Honest Co.

L. (Chlorine Free)

Lola

If using pads and tampons isn't the route for you, there are also other products that are toxic ingredients free and eco-friendly, like the menstrual cups.

If you suffer from cramps during your period, you know how impossible it seems to go about your day. The media, your family and friends and even your doctors will tell you that the best solution for your cramps would be to take some kind of medication. While, there is nothing wrong with opting in for your Advil, or Tylenol, it's best to know that before you treat your symptoms with hard medicine, that there are other ways around it that don't have serious side effects.

The first tip is to regulate your diet with foods that help alleviate cramping. Introduce, bananas, and lemons into your system before your cycle begins. Banana is loaded with magnesium, which is great for muscle relaxation, while lemons introduce vitamin C, a key vitamin that helps your body absorb the iron from your foods. Iron is important for your body during this time, due to the fact that your body is losing quite a bit of blood.

If you haven't heard of heat compression, then you need to get on this next tip now. Heat compression has been used to help sooth cramping for years. Studies have found that using a heating pad, patch or some kind of container with fluid at 104°F (40°C) was as effective as taking ibuprofen. If you don't have a hot water bottle or heating pad, take a warm bath or use a hot towel on the areas where you are noticing the pain. You can find these products on Amazon or at your local Target, CVS or grocery store.

Mood swings can be extremely overpowering when it comes to our periods. It's something that either you go through, or you don't. If you have ticked off yes, then here are a few things you can to help regulate your body's hormones to get your mood in check.

Start with multivitamins like magnesium vitamin B, and calcium D. Magnesium as mentioned before not only helps alleviate cramps, but it supports your hormones, which hello, in case you haven't been following along controls PMS. Vitamin B and (c) D help reduce your estrogen levels back down to a more "normal" state. This just means, the excess estrogen your body produces during this time of the month, makes you go through PMS, along with other symptoms like cramping and migraines. These Vitamins can be found Amazon or by going to your local apothecary. Places like Target and your local grocery store also carry these vitamins close to their pharmacy aisles.

Though alternative care and knowledge for your periods is a viable option, the best care and instructions for more severe symptoms should come from your OB/GYN or your regular physician.

With the knowledge you now have over alternative care for your period, I can only hope you take the power back from not only your period but from the "norms" of what your period care should be. Take a stand for a cleaner more natural period care and start paying attention to what you are doing to your body.

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