10 Period Myths That Must Be Broken5 minute
When I was in college, I was hanging out with some of my classmates, and I noticed that a girl was feeling uncomfortable. I asked her openly that are you on periods and everyone's face was like they have seen an alien. The girl took me aside and asked me how you can say something like this publicly. And that's when I realize that this is how we have raised our girls. We have made them so guilty about periods that they don't want to talk about it.
The period is such a taboo subject that we are even scared of saying it aloud. So we came up with code names like lady problems. It has been around since ancient times, and we can witness in our history as well as our scriptures. You will get to see mentions like-
"Go away from women during periods because they are not clean."
"Whoever will touch her during the period will be unclean, and if you touch her, then you shall wash your clothes and take a bath."
"Contact with period blood will sour the wine. The crops will become barren. The seeds will dry up." And the list goes on...
A woman has around 500 periods in her lifetime. If we put it in an average, they go on bleeding about 3000 days in their lifetime. Taboos around periods in India is way broader. They are skipping school. They are forbidden from holy rituals. They are excluded from sports. For a few days every month, their life on hold.
Around 20 millions of girls drop out of school as soon as they start menstruating in India. And only 18% of women have access to sanitary pads in India. It is shocking to see the figures, but it is the truth.
Taboos around periods-
In India, taboos around periods are like the mother of all taboos. Some are so stupid and illogical that if you think about it, you will just laugh about it. But we have failed as a society to overcome such stupidity because we have never tried. Let's talk about the 10 taboos on periods which you will usually encounter-
- Celebrated yet an outcast- In some parts of south India as well northeast India, when a girl gets her first period, gets presents and are celebrated for this occasion. And still, they are barred from household works for a period of 3 nights.
- A menstruating woman is not allowed to enter the temple- Being born in a Hindu family, I had witnessed it month after month. When my cousin sisters were on periods, they were not allowed to be a part of any holy rituals. Now you can imagine how much shame it will bring to the girl that she will think and believe that she is not even accepted in God's house. She will hate herself for it.
- Nobody should touch a menstruating woman- I have heard this numerous times while growing up that I should not touch a girl or woman while she is on her period. One time I touched the hand of one of my sisters, and I was asked by my grandma to take a bath. Even I felt so enraged hearing such stupidity. I refused to do so. I got some scolding, but hey this is how you all should start in your family as well.
- Her touch will rot the pickle- Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds that if she will touch pickle during her period, it will rot. And women follow it religiously. I still can't get my head around it and aliens must be laughing about it and what a weird mental virus we have.
- Don't go near the Tulsi Plant- The tulsi or basil is considered holy in Hinduism and woman cannot touch it while she is on her period. Even her shadow will kill the plant.
- Don't wash your hair and don't tie your hair- This is again one weird and illogical taboo that women should not wash their hair while she is on her period. She has to keep her hair open. There is no trail of this that what is the reason behind it but it is still get passed on by older women to younger girls.
- Living in exile- In some rural parts of India and Nepal, Girl lives in a shed outside the house while she is on her period. This practice is called "Chhaupadi". Sometimes it leads to the death of some women. In the first-ever case, there has been an arrest in Nepal for such practice in the first week of December 2019.
- A menstruating woman should not enter the kitchen- In Indian households, a woman cannot enter the kitchen if she is on her period. This is as stupid as it sounds. The food will become bad if she will touch them. This is so discriminatory. As she should be free to do whatever she wants while she is on her period.
- Virgins should not use tampons- India has so much preached about the virginity of a girl. In some rural part, there is still a virginity test before marriage to see that if a girl is a virgin or not. And that has started a taboo that if you use tampons, you will lose your virginity. Scientifically it is not true at all and tampons are not associated with virginity in any way. It is so absurd and shameful that we give so much importance to virginity.
- Buying Sanitary pads is embarrassing- There is so much shame associated with menstruation that women, as well as men, are embarrassed to buy sanitary pads or tampons. Even medical shops give it in wrapped paper or brown or black bags. Women never ask a male member of the family to buy them pads or tampons. This is how we have built our society.
It made no sense to me while I was processing these as a child, but Now I am an adult, and I can understand that these taboos are deeply rooted in our culture. It will not go away until we, as an individual will start opposing it. I am hopeful for the younger generations that they will not pass on these stupid taboos to the next generations. And the older women are also somewhat responsible for this and if they will start speaking up about it.
I believe these taboos will go away because it needs to go away.
Feel free to drop a comment on what type of taboo around periods you have witnessed while growing up.
Eating disorders and mental health in teenagers4 minute
Eating disorder and mental health are two sides of the same coin. Depression leads to eating disorders and vice versa. Eating disorders among teenagers are very common. For instance, take Rache. She is a 14 years old girl. She finished her lunch in the school cafeteria. She is so upset with sudden weight gain that she went to the bathroom and forced herself to throw up. It might seem normal for starters that sometimes we throw up after eating food, but after doing for 5 to 10 times, and now it is a daily ritual for Rachel. And in the future, it will lead to serious health concerns, even death.
Jack is 16 years boy, and he was a chubby kid growing up, so he became obsessed to have an athletic body. So he started only eating salad and started running miles every day. After some time, jack became tall and thin, but he always felt tired and exhausted. One night he became severely ill with stomach pain and cramps. He was admitted to hospital and now undergoing various tests for his mystery illness.
Nowadays, millions of teenagers are affected by eating disorders, and most of them are girls. One out of every 7 girls are or were struggling with eating disorders. Of all the eating disorders cases, 90% of them are girls. Weight obsession is the main reason for this as all teenagers these days are obsessed with the perfect body.
Eating disorders can happen in many ways; some people don’t like to eat all then some do binge eating. Mainly, There are three types of eating disorders.
- Anorexia Nervosa - People having anorexia nervosa avoid food or eat very less amount of food. Even if they eat, they are very restrictive and selective of their food choices. Even if they are underweight, they consider themselves overweight.
Symptoms- Here are some signs and what it will lead to over a period of time.
- Extremely restricted eating and in some cases intensive and excessive exercise
- Extreme thinness
- A never-ending pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy and normal weight.
- Intense fear of weight gain
- Poor body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced and shaped by perceptions and projection of body weight and shape
And these symptoms over time can develop in worse cases like-
- Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
- Mild anaemia and muscle wasting and weakness
- Brittle hair and nails, dry and yellowish skin, Growth of fine hair all over the body
- Severe constipation, Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
- Damage to the structure and function of the heart
- Drop-in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
- Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time
- Irregular periods delayed puberty and slow growth
- Infertility, Brain damage, and multiorgan failure
Anorexia is a fatal eating disorder, and it can lead to sudden death. It has the most mortality rate among all eating disorders. People with anorexia often have a hard time remembering things. The thoughts and emotions they go through daily are- feeling alone, sad, or depressed, anxiety, fears about gaining weight and thoughts of hurting themselves.
- Bulimia Nervosa- People with bulimia often have a habit of overeating and then feeling guilty about it. After they go through with intense fasting or exercise or depends on pills. Their thought is that they are compensating for overeating. People with bulimia can be of normal weight or overweight.
Symptoms- Physical symptoms because of bulimia may include-
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats
- Feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Tooth erosion and cavities
- Swollen cheeks
The person having bulimia usually have emotions as -
- low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression
- alcohol or drug problems
- Thoughts of hurting themselves
- Binge-Eating- People having binge eating disorder have no control over their eating, and they feel guilty about it. Still, they do not do anything like exercising or fasting to compensate for it, as people with bulimia do. That is why people with bulimia are overweight.
- Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, like 2 to 3 hours.
- Eating fast and eating even when full or not hungry
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
- Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about eating
These symptoms lead to physical problems such as-
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Fatty liver
People with binge eating disorder suffer from low self esteem and anxiety and depression. They have difficulties coping with strong emotions and to get away from that they just take it out by eating in bulk.
Cause of eating disorders-
There is no defined cause of eating disorders, As I would like to point out that there are many various factors which are responsible for it.
For example- The society where we grow up, from morning to evening we encounter things which flaunt perfect body image, but we don’t think for a second that it is real or not, and our kids get caught up in it. So it is influenced by the environment we live in. If we as responsible adults just pay a little attention to eat and teach our kids that they are perfect the way they are. So if you have a kid or any person who is around you and you feel that they are going through the same then don’t hesitate to talk to them.
Because if it is treated early, there are more chances to recover from it.
Diagnosis- Mental professionals first assess the problems and severity of it that how early or late it is. So they can prepare a meal plan with the help of a dietician and proper mental counseling.
So if you feel that you have any of the eating disorders discussed above then feel free to talk to elders, you trust and consult a doctor. It is not that difficult if you have a good support system, then it will be effortless for you to develop your self-confidence. Once you feel good in the state, you are and show love for the body you have. There is nothing in this universe that can pull you down.
Feel free to drop your suggestions and views in the comment section.
Vaginal hygiene for teenagers5 minute
The proper feminine hygiene is not that difficult. The truth is that the vagina itself does the job pretty well. The problem arises when we mess up with it. Just think about the old days when there was no internet, and you are a girl who just started her periods and sudden changes in the shape and size of her body. She had no idea what was happening to her, and she would turn up to her elders for advice and suggestions, and you know how difficult it was in the old days.
Then she would be scrapping for any information she could get, and she would get different types of opinions from different people. Then she would be so confused that she would hate herself for it.
Now we have the internet, but the problem persists. We fill our minds with all types of junk, and the innocent vagina has to suffer for it. People don’t talk about it. It is much more of a taboo than sex. And that leads to different problems like vaginal infections and various diseases.
But no need to worry I am here to break it down for you step by step and give you a very simple and clear cut guide to keep your vagina clean and if she is happy you are happy.
These are some tips you should know to keep your vagina clean and happy.
pH is how you measure the acidity level. And vaginal pH explains the acidity level of the vagina. The vagina naturally contains a balance of different bacteria, and they are the good ones, that protect the vagina from external bacteria and fungus. They provide natural disinfectants and help maintain a healthy vaginal pH of 3.5-4.5. And if your vaginal pH is in this range, then there is a perfect ratio of good bacteria (lactobacilli), and it is acting like a shield that is preventing overgrowth of harmful bacteria that can cause irritation and sometimes infection.
it is an absolute myth that all vagina smells the same, not it’s not true at all. Every vagina has a distinctive smell. If you think that your vagina should smell floral or fruity. It is just men induced agenda for their own satisfaction. You don’t need to bathe it with perfume or any fragrant oil. But if you want some fragrant, then I would suggest that use an organic fragrant oil and do not put it on the vulva or inside your vagina. Put it around your thighs.
Keeping it clean
Cleaning your vagina is very important to keep it healthy and in good function. Dead skin and germs can compile on your inner and outer labia as well as between your clitoris and clitoral hood. So it is essential to rinse your inner and outer labia with warm water. Lift your hood and rinse it with warm water too. Below I will Discuss an explained guide on how to keep it clean.
These are a few tips you can keep in check to keep your vagina clean and infection-free.
Vaginal discharge is normal. Vagina cleans itself by this process. Discharge can vary in smell color and texture, depending on your cycle. So sometimes, when you see a thick white stain on your underpants, then do not worry. It’s perfectly normal. Sometimes where there is an overgrowth of bacteria, then the amount of discharge is more than usual. So if you feel that it is stuck in your vagina, then you can clean it by yourself in your shower. You can put your clean finger inside your vagina and move it from one side to another and scoop it out.
Washing your vagina- You do not need any special product to keep your vagina clean. Most of the product marketed towards vaginal hygiene is full of chemicals and scents not good for the vagina. It can create irritation in the vagina and disturb its pH level and can cause a fishy odor. You can use a mild soap like Dove to clean your vagina. Do not put it inside the vagina, wash the outer side(vulva). Wash it gently with your hands, do not use any loofah. It can cause rashes in the vagina.
The vagina is not supposed to smell like peaches or strawberries. You should know that there are good bacteria inside the vagina that eats old blood cells and keep it clean, so you do not need to help her in that. When you are using the bathroom, you can prevent the bacteria from entering the vagina from the rectum by wiping from front to back.
This very important part of vaginal hygiene as every girl goes through this every month. Keeping your vagina healthy during your periods is very easy. Keep these things in mind during your period.
- Always make sure you are changing your pads or tampons every 3 to 4 hours, even if you are bleeding less. As with time, it can become infectious.
- Start your day by washing it properly, as I instructed above. If you don’t feel fresh, then before changing the pads you can use a baby wipe clean it.
- Talk to your parents about which products work for you best, either its pads or tampons or menstrual cups.
- Always keep an extra pair in your backpack, so if you feel the need to change while you are outside. It will be super helpful.
A proper diet also helps with good vaginal health. You do not need to follow a strict diet, but you need to include some things I am listing below in your regular diet.
- You can add things like strawberries, pineapples, soy, and yogurt that can influence your pH balance in positive ways.
- Beverages like water, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice are also proven to improve vaginal health and keep it moist and hydrated.
- Adding a probiotic supplement to any part of your diet can increase the amount of “good” bacteria in your vagina called lactobacillus. So, eat healthy, and your vagina will really appreciate you!
One important thing you should know which most people do not know. That urinating after masturbation or after having sex reduces the number of harmful bacteria in the urethra, and it reduces the chances of Urinary tract infection(UTI) or any vaginal infection. So always remember to pee.
When you should worry
The vagina gives you warning signals when something is not right, just like any part of the body. Discharge is normal because the vagina is not a dry place. When the discharge is heavier, there may be an overgrowth of bacteria.
If the odor is foul, fishy, and if you are experiencing burning, itching, or bleeding while you’re not on your period, it is time to see a doctor.
So this was my on how to keep your vagina clean, it is really sad that we get to know about sex and our organs in our textbook but never how to take care of them. I hope I was able to explain it to you. Your vagina is wonderful, and so is you, so show her some love. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the comment box.
8 Ways to stay positive and motivated during this pandemic3 minute
If you are like me, you are probably experiencing more stress that usual. Work is different, the Wi-Fi is acting up, and your social life has come to a halt. Stability and predictability are two words that we are unable to resonate with anymore. After a certain point, all of this can get to you. Fear can make you feel powerless. While you cannot control your feelings, thoughts and the Wi-Fi, you definitely can shift your attention towards the things you can control and help restore your sense of confidence.
Make a list of things that you think are in your control (They could be uneventful or extraordinary) and work on them, every single day. I would like to share with you, my list:
- Start a virtual book/movie club: Start your own book club on WhatsApp. Add all the bibliophiles on your contact list. Or if you’re a movie buff, create a group to watch and discuss movies.
- Enhance your skills: Work on advancing your skill! It could be something as mundane as taking up an excel course or something fun like baking. Try to complete at least two online courses this quarantine!
- Work out: You probably saw this coming. But one cannot stress how important it is to work out especially during uncertain times like these, when your anxiety is at its peak and your thoughts don’t let you sleep. Learn new home workouts every day and let the endorphins and serotonin flow into your body.
- Interact (virtually) with your long lost friends and family: Life can get really busy and to be honest it has been. Until now. And we are unable to cope with all the time we have. Talk to all those people you lost touch with and wished you hadn’t (This does not include you ex. DO NOT TEXT THEM!).
- Learn a new make-up routine: I personally feel like, the time I spend wearing make-up is all for me. It is the time I have chosen for myself. It could take you fifty minutes or fifteen minutes. That is YOUR time, you are looking in the mirror and focusing on yourself. So create a new look and wear some mascara because, why not?
- Write a blog on Glo Community: You probably did not see this one coming. But really, put all your thoughts (happy or sad) into words, not only will it help you learn a lot about yourself, but also help you gain awareness of your reality. You will be helping contribute to the WHO Covid-19 fund!
- Limit your news intake: While it is good to be informed at all times, the amount of information can be a double edged sword. So be aware, but also learn to disconnect.
- Do your bit: Last but not the least, everybody reading this is probably doing their part by washing hands regularly and staying home unless absolutely necessary. Every small effort is going to add up and will have a huge impact.
Do not lose hope. Stay positive, stay motivated and please be safe. We are all in this together. 😊
My story of self isolation.1 minute
I traveled back from London on 16th March and I was placed under strict self Isolation at home for 14 days. In the beginning it was pretty hard and getting stressful. I started becoming restless. But when the nation was placed under a lockdown it made it easier for me to cope up with the situation. I made it safely without showing any symptoms and I am glad I followed the rules to be a responsible citizen. My point being to the people out there feeling lonely that they are not alone. Stay strong. ✌️
Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep Better49 minute
Yoga can do wonders to your body and mind, but you probably already know that. I’ve been practicing for close to two years now, and I think it’s safe to say that it has changed my life. Yoga has SO many benefits and decoding each pose to know how they help your body lead to simpler goal-setting.
With broken work schedules and irregular sleep cycles having affected a whole lot of people in this quarantine period, you might feel the need to get on track and make the most of each day if you’re anything like me. This article highlights 10 yoga poses that you can practice while at home, either first thing in the morning or at least 2-3 hours after a meal. The article merely consists of the poses to be practiced in order to sleep better/longer. If you're a beginner, you can head to theyogajournal to know step by step instructions to achieve all of the aformentioned poses.
10 easy-to-do Yoga Poses that help you sleep better:
1. Cat Pose
2. Cow Pose
3. Bridge Pose
4. Big Toe Pose
5. Corpse Pose
6. Dolphin Pose
7. Downward-Facing Dog
8. Extended Puppy Pose
9. Plow Pose
10. Standing Forward Bend
All You Need To Know About Health & Fitness Week2 minute
Glo.community has officially announced the commencement of #HealthAndWellnessWeek starting the 27th of April in response to a lot of people’s interest in the same. Did you know that while the lockdown has several benefits to your health, a lot of adverse effects can easily be witnessed as soon as you step out of your homes once the lockdown is officially lifted?
This is the sole reason for experts urging you to build up your immunity while you’re at home. Besides, sitting at home can really take a negative toll on your food habits, eating and sleeping patterns, and everyone’s current nightmare (well, besides the novel coronavirus, of course) - submitting to the lifestyle of a “couch potato”.
For all of these reasons and more, Glo has decided to bring to you: The Health & Wellness Week.
We have some very interesting conversations with health experts going live on our Instagram and a bundle of tips, titbits and articles launched each day to keep you up-to-date and answer all your health and wellness related questions.
Some of the topics covered in these questions would be: At home workouts, tackling stress and anxiety, dealing with a lack of motivation to do things, mental health and women, eating disorders, the importance of healthy eating, and lot more.
If you wish to publish an article of your own, make sure to do so on our website.
Until then, here’s some grandma verified gyaan on how to build immunity, that has seemed to work for a lot of people we know:
- Garlic. Tastes disgusting but garlic bread is great, right?
- “Haldi Doodh” AKA turmeric milk never goes out of style
- Exercise, every day. Mopping floors has seemed to work for me
- Drink pomegranate juice
- Sleep for 7/8 hours - not more nor less
We hope you folks are staying home and keeping safe.
6 Ways To Boost Your Immune System in Lockdown3 minute
With a lack of essential vitamins, stress caused by uncertainty and staying indoors all day rises the need for a boost in one's immunity. Here are 6 ways you can aim to boost yours in this lockdown:
1. Cold Showers
The ample benefits that cold showers have on your skin are all highlighted enough across the internet. Supermodels even go to the extent of dipping themselves in ice buckets to have glowing skin before important photoshoots. But what is not widely known is that cold showers have the capabilities of boosting one’s immune system. Wim Hof, a guru of all things cold explains that benefits of cold baths included speeding metabolism, reducing inflammation, improved sleep, and also improved a person’s immune response. Besides, it is summer after all, so this should be quite an easy step to follow this lockdown period.
2. Sweat (or stretch) It Out
Most people are well-aware of the link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Regular exercise improves your mood, reduces stress, and also contributes to general well being overall. The benefits of yoga too, are understated, to be honest. With millions of free workout videos available to you and also made convenient by many apps, you must choose to incorporate at least 30 minutes of ANY exercise (Dance, Yoga, Jump Rope or Other workouts) in your daily quarantine routine.
3. Eat To Boost Immunity
Your diet is an integral part of how you feel. How strong you are highly depending on the food you consume every day. Even with easily available ingredients, you can achieve a boost in your immunity if you choose to do so. Some foods that promote immunity:
2. Turmeric (Haldi)
3. Spinach (Popeye was onto something after all!)
4. Citrus Fruits like oranges, gooseberries, lemons, grapefruit, and mandarins
In addition to this, you must aim to cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and smoking, and eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, oily fish and nuts. It might sound like the obvious thing to do but most people struggle to even get these basics right sometimes.
5. Fermented Food/Probiotics Are Your Friends
Food like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, dhoklas, and kefir are fermented foods that are rich in beneficial bacteria. A flourishing network of good bacteria in your gut helps your immune cells better differentiate between healthy cells and harmful invaders which decreases the likelihood of infectious diseases.
If due to unavailability or other reasons, you don't wish to consume probiotic foods, you can always resort to probiotic supplements that are equally beneficial, if not more.
6. Ditch Sugar For A While
Research suggests that refined sugars and carbs could lead one to the path of obesity. How is this relevant to your immune system? According to a study, people with obesity who received the flu vaccine were still likely to get the flu, unlike people without obesity who received the same vaccine. Something to worry about, especially in this time of a world pandemic where health should be your number one priority. Although, natural sugars (found in fruit, honey, for example) and whole carbs can still be consumed in moderation.
7. Stay Hydrated
Although hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from a virus as such, preventing dehydration is very important for overall health. Not drinking enough water (At least 2 litres a day) can cause headaches, negatively impact digestion, mood and kidney function and it is these complications that could potentially increase susceptibility to illness. So you must stay hydrated!
Besides physical health, the lockdown can cause some people to have unusual stress and anxiety and this is as much of a concern to your immune system as your physical health. Practice meditation, get adequate sleep, laugh without reason, draw, doodle or do some yoga to help your mind relax. This too shall pass.
Why Vitamin D Is Important During The Lockdown3 minute
First things first. Why does your body need Vitamin D?
- Healthy bones
Vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining calcium as well as phosphorus levels in the blood. This, in turn, contributes to strong, healthy bones. You NEED vitamin D for your intestines to absorb as well as retain calcium and without it, one would be at risk of causing their bones to soften. In simple words, without sufficient amounts of this Vitamin, you could have poor bone density and weak muscles.
- Promotes Immune System Health
Studies show that Vitamin D has a protective effect against the influenza virus. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) also suggests that there exists evidence pointing towards a connection between low vitamin D and an increased risk of allergic sensitization. Besides this, regular sources of Vitamin D also have anti-inflammatory benefits to your body.
- Supports Brain and Nervous System
There is a correlation between winter and negative moods for a reason. The lack of sufficient Vitamin D from sunlight causes people to have increased sleepiness and sleep difficulties. This is primarily because Vitamin D helps enhance mood, and also promotes nervous system health.
- Respiration and Cardiovascular Health
One of the biggest roles of Vitamin D is regulating the immune system. In doing so, the body is less susceptible to immunity-related conditions like acute or chronic respiratory complications. Respiration: the highest prioritized consideration of the human body requires Vitamin D. It basically helps you breathe better. Need we say more?
What are some common symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Repeated infection or allergies
- bone/ back pain
- bad mood (that occurs often)
- impaired wound healing
- hair loss
- muscle pain
Sensible sun exposure on bare skin for around 5–10 minutes, 2–3 times per week, allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.
It is natural that during the course of this nationwide lockdown, you can't get enough sunlight to get your daily dose of vitamin D like you normally would. Vitamin D deficiency can take a serious toll on your health.
What can you do to fight a Vitamin D Deficiency? (Besides getting natural sunlight)
A list of foods that help boost Vitamin D are:
- fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- egg yolks
- beef liver
- fortified milk
- fortified cereals and juices
Below are some general guidelines for how much Vitamin D your body needs:
Vitamin D Recommendations
Besides the consumption of Vitamin D rich foods, you can even resort to supplements if necessary:
Two forms of vitamin D are available for supplementation: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Although they differ in structure and source, both are converted, by the liver, into the same form of vitamin D that is measured in the blood to determine a person’s vitamin D status.
Vegans and others who prefer a plant-based source of vitamin D typically choose to supplement with vitamin D2, compared to animal-based vitamin D3 sources.
Multivitamins, on the other hand, include either 400, 500, or 1000 IU vitamin D in the form of D2 or D3 or a combination of both.
What every source you choose, ensure you don't go overboard fueled by the lack of sunlight. Vitamin D is important, yes, but it's imperative that the supply is in prescribed amounts only.
We hope this was helpful.
Coronavirus Effects - How Your Menstrual Cycle Maybe Getting Affected2 minute
Periods are painful, unwelcome, and quite frankly just annoying when they intrude on a lovely day. But as much as you dread them, it’s way scarier to not have your period show up on time, is it not?
Turns out the stress and change induced by this deadly pandemic could be a reason your period is delayed.
Here’s the thing: The feeling of being united together in these stressful times of a world pandemic, especially with social media acting as “man’s best friend” right now, is very temporarily soothing to the mind. But this doesn’t mean you’re not feeling any stress. You probably are, without even realizing it.
A 360-degree change in your routine - right from work timings, to eating and sleeping schedules and even socializing patterns - all broken in a span of a few weeks. This is bound to bring underlying stress to your mind and body even if you don't consciously feel it all the time.
As a result of this stress, your body is bound to react - either in the form of breakouts, chest pains or even with causing havoc in your period cycle.
Let’s get science-y
Stress activates a hormonal pathway that allows the release of what is known as cortisol AKA the stress hormone. Now the excess release of cortisol tends to suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones. This, in turn, leads to abnormal ovulation that disrupts your menstrual cycle. This is also why doctors claim that birth control pills might not be so effective at stressful times (especially if not taken at approx the same time every day). Even trying to conceive a child with abnormal ovulation may become more difficult than usual.
Although these are some extreme consequences (and quite normal at these times), you may experience other, not-so-drastic changes such as heavy blood flow, longer cycles, or more intense pain than usual.
How to try and bring back things to normal?
If you’re a blessed soul with a cooperative uterus, good for you. But if you experience any of the above-mentioned abnormalities, acknowledge that it is mostly okay and not a reason to panic. You can use a period tracker like clue or flo to make note of your period dates, inconsistency in flow/cramps/duration, and set up a call with your doctor if the irregularities continue to remain even months after the lockdown.
Other than that, since you’re now aware of WHY your period cycle is affected, you can aim to reduce cortisol levels in your body and bring down that stress either by practicing deep breathing/yoga every day, ditching negativity brought by news channels, getting sufficient sleep at normal hours and simply focusing on self-care.
Mental Toughness - How To Become More Resilient3 minute
Developing a resilient mind
Sometimes the inspiration to build resilience is always present around you. You just have to open your eyes. Or in this case, open your mind.
These have been some interesting times. Don’t get me wrong, the way the world is unfolding lately has been quite unprecedented. Adapting to this whole new kind of lifestyle, putting out a brave front, and steering your mind away from those negative thoughts are just few of the many challenges. But as the saying goes "Everything happens for a reason". Maybe this is our chance to dive deep into our inner selves and explore the deep seas inside us. These are the few tips that helped me build resilience. I hope this can be of help to you too!
1. Growing a plant: Nature is the best healer and teacher.
If you can find a small corner in your room, that receives adequate sunlight. Try to grow a potted plant there. It's a worthwhile experience. Watering it periodically and watching it grow a little day by day can instill a feeling of happiness in you and sometimes inspire you. So much that, one day, like me, you might end up owning a jungle!
2. Laughing OUT Loud: When is the last time you heard the echo of your laughter reverberate through the hall? We all are so used to the emoticons that real laughter has become a struggle. Laughing out can help your mind ease out the stress and help you to break free from unwanted thoughts. Remember the good old saying - Laughter is the best medicine!.
3. Noticing the world around you: How many times did you visit your balcony today? Did you notice the tree outside your house has greener leaves lately!. And oh! There is a nest too. How often do we take time to look at whatever little of nature you find around you? Did you know that listening to the chirping of birds and ruffling of leaves can have calming effects on our mind? Our minds are hardwired to read these sound signals are signs of safety and peace.
4..Taking Trip down the Memory Lane:. Sometimes Technology teaches us to more human when we get lost in our fast-paced life. AN irony of life indeed.
Taking the Parkinson’s law into account - "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion", we are indeed juggling with more self-imposed work than ever before. I was reminded today by the google photos that last year this day, I was enjoying a staycation amidst nature. It reminded me of some sweet memories that I almost forgot existed.
Seriously! Where is your embarrassing baby photos that your parents are so proud of!? The pictures of your milk tooth falling off and you roaming around the house naked and proud. These treasures are sometimes to be dug out for NO particular reason but to replenish your memory and me you smile in embarrassment.
5. Taking Care of Me for You: In Jim Rohn's Words : “The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, "If you will take care of me, I will take care of you. "Now I say, I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.”
Incorporating this mindset is extremely crucial in these times. This is what the air hostess around the world have been signaling to us all through their life: Put your oxygen mask first before proceeding to help others.
There was a time when my mother worked incessantly, seldom taking care of her health, to make others happy. But that deprived her of her own health, as she allotted most of her time to take care of others. Taking care should start from you. While the social construct of a Sanskari women is synonymous to Sacrificing. This is not true at all times. Prioritizing oneself is not an act of selflessness.
6. Abolishing Self Doubt. I have been there too. Initially, I was skeptical of writing this because I wasn’t sure If I was a good writer or if this would have a welcomed response. But then I was contradicting myself. Letting self-doubt breed was my biggest weakness and one I was determined to get through by this quarantine time. To all those out there, wondering if you can do it?. Just do it .(Thanks Nike!). Write it down, sing it loud, Dance it out! Don’t do it for others, Do it for you!
Building resilience is a slow process, but a rewarding one. Hope these tips help you embrace positivity.
Wishing you a wonderful day ahead!
Why Mental Health Is Important Especially During Isolation3 minute
Empty shelves at the store, the exhaustion of self-isolating (especially for extroverts), and the very fear of contracting the disease, this pandemic has caused a lot of people to feel quite abnormal, so to say. Although it’s difficult for people to recognize their feelings and state of mind in such a situation, the center of it is mostly stress, anxiety, and in some cases, even depression.
Although altering the sudden external changes around you may seem like an impossible thing to do, there is in fact much you can do to cope up with the change.
5 tips to take care of your mental health during this COVID-19 pandemic:
- Reverse Your Approach towards things
Someone wise has once said, “It’s all in the head”. Now while this might not seem to be true for everything, this rule most certainly does apply to the circle of motivation. To stay motivated, you have to ditch an attitude that says “I’m stuck here” and use a rather different approach like saying “I finally have all this time on my plate”. Doing things that you have been setting aside for a long time is a great way to feel positive. Do one important task that is beneficial to your long term goals every single day, and you will feel more and more positivity in your thoughts each day.
- Go on an “Anti-depression Diet”
All those diets you’ve been meaning to try out that do nothing but harm your body in the long run? Ditch them all. Go on a happy diet. There are certain foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and are also known to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain. These include eggs, cheese, nuts, whole grains, pineapple, tofu, salmon, berries and green leafy vegetables. Ensure you include at least some of these, if not all, in your diet to contribute to a healthy gut. After all, a healthy gut is the key to a healthy mind.
- Tidy-up your home (and your work ethic)
We understand that it can be difficult to set routines and stick to them, especially while working from home. But a lot of people do it even without being forced to. Working from home and freelancing are not new concepts to have risen in various parts of the world. How do these people do it? It’s not easy, but it is simple. You need to have set stations for various activities. Don't eat in your bed, Don’t workout in your kitchen and do not work on your couch. Also, ensure that you’re home is organized and tidy or you’re just going to feel claustrophobic and unmotivated.
- Therapeutic Sleep
A major cause of feeling depressed or anxious is a lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns. Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day. Get some sunlight on your balcony/terrace first thing in the morning after waking up. To increase the quality of your sleep, you can also resort to cutting off screen-time at least 2 hours before you sleep. A good nights’ sleep goes a long way in helping you deal with any kind of stress-induced emotion.
- Use the Exercise pill
A lot of clinical studies show that regular exercise produces chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in your brain that act as effective antidepressants or psychotherapy to treat milder cases of depression. Since most of you might not have access to a gym, given the current circumstances, create your own home workout routine. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 days of the week. If you do suffer from clinical depression, it can be hard to want to exercise, so start small. You could aim to begin with about 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day and then build your way up from there.
Coronavirus And Pregnancy - All You Need To Know5 minute
As much of an exhausting period it may be for many people to stay at home for weeks together in this coronavirus pandemic, it is more so for pregnant women, especially those with due dates right around the corner.
There are so many questions asked about pregnancy and about the impact on the health of the mother and her child. So we thought we would take this opportunity, do our bit of thorough research, and try and answer some of the most asked questions about pregnancy and the novel coronavirus.
First and foremost, it is important to understand how the virus spreads. The spread occurs through respiratory droplets sent to the air when a person who has the COVID-19 flu coughs/sneezes. It can also spread if someone touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their mouth, the inside of their nose, or their eyes. Current evidence suggests that the incubation period of the virus is anywhere from 2-14 days.
Now that this bit is clear, let's move to answer some of the most asked-questions and concerns that pregnant women have:
- Does contracting the coronavirus increase the risk of miscarriage or other such complications?
An increased risk of miscarriage or fetal malformations has not been documented in pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Based on data from other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that pregnant women who get COVID-19 may have a higher risk for some complications, such as preterm birth. However, this data is extremely limited, and the infection may not be the direct cause of preterm birth.
- What can a pregnant mother do to avoid catching the coronavirus?
The most important step is to practice excellent hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose. Public health officials urge people to tightly limit gatherings and to stay home as much as possible. Social distancing is important to limit the spread of the virus. It’s safe to go out for walks — just try to remain six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live with you.
If you have a mild cough or cold, stay at home and limit exposures to other people. Sneeze and cough into a tissue that you discard immediately, or into your elbow, to avoid making others sick. Hydration and adequate rest also are important in maintaining the health of your immune system.
- What is the risk of passing on the virus on to one’s fetus or newborn?
Currently, only small studies reporting on a limited number of cases are available to answer many questions, including this one. Most of the women in these case reports had COVID-19 during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- A study of nine pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 and had symptoms showed that none of their babies was affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk.
- Another study of 38 women infected with COVID-19 found that none of the newborns tested positive for the disease.
- Two case reports of infants born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated that the infants had elevated levels of antibodies to the virus but did not demonstrate any clinical evidence of infection with the virus (see here and here).
- Another case report analyzing 33 pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 found that three of their newborns were also infected with the virus and had clinical signs of infection, as well as confirmation of COVID-19 infection. It is unclear whether these newborns were infected while in the womb or if these infections were acquired after birth, as the newborns were tested when they were days old. The possibility of vertical transmission (passing the virus from mother to baby) has not been ruled out.
The risk of passing the infection to a fetus appears to be very low. Currently there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19.
If a woman has an infection with a high fever during the first trimester, it’s safest to use acetaminophen to lower temperature to avoid risk to the developing fetus.
- Will all the doctors be diverted in case of a COVID-19 emergency situation and is it possible that there might be no doctor available at the time a woman has to deliver her baby?
Hospitals are responsible for making contingency plans for emergencies that might require diverting hospital staff. Ask your obstetric team about contingency plans at your hospital. They should be able to keep you updated on any change in plans. At our hospital, there is currently no plan for obstetricians to be redeployed. Obstetrics is an essential component of health, and it is likely that a physician trained in obstetrics will be present at the time of your baby’s birth. Ask your health care team about this.
- Could spending time in the hospital after delivery increase the mother’s risk of exposure to COVID-19?
Hospital staff and your obstetric team are trying to minimize the number of people who come to the hospital. There are rules to make sure that anyone who needs to be evaluated for COVID-19 will be isolated from other patients. All medical staff are working hard to ensure that your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is low.
In the hospital, many precautions are being taken to minimize exposure risks. If you choose to do so, it may be possible to go home sooner than you normally would after birth, as long as you feel well and your birth was uncomplicated. Talk to your obstetric team about this.
- If the mother is tested positive for COVID-19, can she still breastfeed her baby?
Currently, there is no evidence of the virus in breast milk. Given that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, mothers should wash their hands and consider wearing a face mask to minimize infants’ exposure to the virus. The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists recommends that mothers infected with COVID-19 express breastmilk to allow someone else to feed the baby. (Be sure to use proper hand hygiene and cleaning of breast pump parts.)
However, the CDC states that handwashing and wearing a face mask should minimize risks to the infant.
We hope you found this article useful :)
The Story Of A Breast Cancer Survivor2 minute
We’ve all heard of or witnessed at least one case of cancer around us. Why do people think of cancer as a battle? Well, because it is. A significant part of surviving cancer is displaying the qualities of bravery - just like on a battlefield.
The story of this 55-year-old woman says it all.
Meena Bijlani, a woman, a wife, and a mother of two living in New Delhi had detected a lump in her breast on July 1st, 2013. The very same day, after consulting with her partner, she rushed to the doctor to get it checked.
After the reports came in, she saw her worst fears unfold in front of her. She had a 2.3 cm long cancerous growth in her breast. Now, her instant response to finding out about her illness was very naturally a wave of sorry followed by tears. But she knew she had to immediately start surgery and get rid of the problem because cancer demands immediate action. She had witnessed this first hand as she personally knew of two other women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and had been cured of it too.
On 19th July, Meena had an operation to remove the cancerous lump followed by 6 chemotherapy sessions. It was not an easy 7-month journey, she admitted. Her husband and sons were more than alert at all times and helped her get past the difficulties of chemo. They would stay at home on weekends to avoid plausible contraction of any other viruses/infections due to Meena’s now low immunity and together, look forward to someday having the same life that they all once did.
And naturally, 7 months later, Meena was completely cured. In her own words, the secret to success in the battle against cancer - “Go to your doctor as soon as possible. I want to tell any woman who finds a lump to not feel scared but deal with it immediately. This is a curable disease.”
South-East Asia alone has over 1.7 million new cancer cases every single year. Cancer of the breast and cervix are the most common ones reported among women. Reduce this risk of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle - avoid smoking and drinking, exercise every day, and eat a healthy balanced diet.
Top 5 Misconceptions About Women's Health: Busted!2 minute
There are so many rumours floating around that make many women anxious about issues relating to their health. This scoop aims to bust some of the most popular myths there are.
Myth 1: Bras causes breast cancer
The Truth: Wearing a bra most certainly does not cause cancer. If you wish to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer, you must aim to eat a healthy diet, stay within a healthy weight range and avoid alcohol. Alcohol increases your chances of developing breast cancer. Getting a mammogram regularly (once every year) after you turn 45 is a proven way to detect breast cancer early and stop the spread.
Myth 2: Excruciating Period pain is normal
The Truth: Although mild discomfort is normal, the pain should not be debilitating. If the pain is intolerable, do consider calling your OBGYN to make an appointment to check if the pain has underlying causes like endometriosis or fibroids.
Myth 3: Cranberry juice cures UTIs
The Truth: While cranberry juice might taste delicious, (we’re sorry to burst your bubble) but they don't actually cure UTIs (i.e, any bacterial infection that causes burning urination and pelvis pain) If you do happen to get UTIs often, consider making an appointment with a gynaecologist who can prescribe antibiotics and suggest treatments to reduce your chances of getting them.
Myth 4: Your water has to break in order to be in active labor.
The truth: All these movies have made us think of going into labour as a supremely dramatic event. In reality, about 10% of women have their membranes rupture before labor begins. It is (clearly) not a great indicator of whether you are in labor or not, so pregnant women should focus on the frequency of contractions instead.
Myth 5: You have to take a birth control pill at the same time every day.
The Truth: Your health provider/gynecologist probably tells you this so that you REMEMBER to take your pill. It is suggested solely for the purpose of preventing the event of missing your pill. But there's no real evidence to prove that this is medically necessary.
This was one piece in our myth-busting series, stay tuned for a lot more!
All That You Must Know About A Menstrual Cycle6 minute
As much as you dread your “time of the month”, periods are equally scary when they don’t show up. So embrace them, own them and wear your period like a trademark of being a woman.
Even with countless “sex education” seminars in schools and colleges, there are still so many unanswered questions that need to be attended to. Females grow up with periods and aren’t even fully aware of the things that happen in their own bodies. The lack of knowledge leads to a rise in doubts. Doubts convert to fears. And guess what? These very fears revert back to hormonal changes that (drumroll) messes with their period!
This article aims to cover all those unanswered questions about having your period in a concise “all you need to know about a menstrual cycle”.
Menstrual Cycle and ‘The period’ - Explained
Even though it might sound correct to use the words ‘period’ and ‘menstrual cycle’ as synonyms to one another in conversations, they don't actually mean the same.
While ‘a period’ is that part of a menstrual cycle when a female bleeds from her vagina for 2-7 days (on an average), a menstrual cycle is the time from day one of a female’s period to the day before her next. Depending on hormones, a new menstrual cycle begins every 28 days although some women’s cycles could last anywhere between 21 and 40 days.
It is important to note that girls are taught these as ‘facts’ in biology textbooks at very young ages and panic when their periods don’t live up to such accuracy. Reality: For the first few years of a young female starting her period, it is very normal for her period to come irregularly and stabilize in a couple of years.
What actually happens in the female body during a menstrual cycle?
First things first. At the start of a menstrual cycle, ovulation takes place, when the levels of a hormone called estrogen starts to rise and signals for an egg to be released from a female’s ovaries. You get your period after the ovulation.
During the process of estrogen rising, progesterone (another hormone) also rises and signals the wall of the uterus AKA ‘the womb’ to thicken. This is like signaling the uterus to be prepared to receive a fertilised egg. The egg travels from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes and right into the (now ready) uterus.
Under normal circumstances, two things can happen here on. One, is that the egg gets fertilised by a sperm which in turn, leads to a pregnancy. In case the egg doesn’t get fertilised by a sperm (within approximately 24 hours) then the egg gets reabsorbed by the body and everything else reverses. Levels of estrogen and progesterone fall back, the womb lining breaks and leaves the body through the female’s vagina - hence ‘the period’.
Periods are usually heavier on the first 2 or 3 days, during which the colour of the blood is red. As it lightens, the blood may become pink, brown or even black. (again, totally normal)
Periods usually last between two to eight days. The average age for a female to start her period is 11 years old, but of course, some start earlier and some later than this too.
Menstrual Cycle- Signs and Symptoms of Periods and PMS
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the very purpose of menstruation, let's get into the visible changes that occur in your body before and during your period.
If it were just the lining of your uterus flowing out as blood through your vagina, it would probably not affect your body and mental health as much. Maybe just an occurrence of physical changes in your body and that’s about it. But since this sadly isn’t the case, and changes much larger such as rising hormones (estrogen and progesterone) take place a couple of days before your period starts, females do experience symptoms - both physical and mental.
There are close to a hundred known symptoms attributed to menstruation and these might differ with each cycle and gradually even change over a period of time. Some women experience close to no symptoms, while some sadly experience too many and all at once.
The most common symptoms of a period include:
- Tender breasts
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Bloating/Fluid retention
- Abdominal cramps
- Lower back pain
- Low energy/fatigue
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Weight gain
PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome)
Since most hormonal changes in your body occur even before the egg enters the uterus, it is natural that changes start to take place in your body before you start to bleed i.e, before you get your periods. Most women get at least some signs of the arrival of their period (tender breasts and food cravings), but some suffer from rather severe symptoms or Premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms are similar to those of a period with added emotional and behavioural signs such as anxiety, depression, anger outbursts, mood swings, forgetfulness, loss of focus and feelings of overwhelm.
Given an option to unsubscribe from this monthly catastrophe that pops up like a calendar event - a lot of girls would cheerfully opt out. But that’s not how the female body works, is it? So it’s best to be prepared for something that you’re going to witness month on month.
Dealing with Periods and PMS Symptoms like a bawse:
There are a lot of known ways to manage your periods and reduce the pain and mental stress that come with it. Some of them that seem to work for most women, (and what you can do too) are as follows:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes. Fun Fact: women who are sedentary and do not get regular exercise typically have heavier and more painful periods.
- Eat healthy meals consisting of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Contradictory to popular beliefs of ‘giving in to your cravings’ and ‘pampering your taste buds’ during your period, eating a balanced diet helps with more than just fixing your mood at this time of the month.
- Hot showers and hot water bags do wonders to calm those abdominal cramps, even if it's just for a little while.
- Try tea therapy - Chamomile to relax your mind and peppermint to help with period bloating.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and salt.
- Although this should be your last option (if all else fails), try over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen and be sure to follow the dosage instructions as mentioned on the label.
- Lastly, get enough sleep. A lack of restful sleep reduces your pain threshold and this is not what you want when you already have cramps attacking you in the middle of the day.
For more such interesting period hacks you can check out this article.
How do you know when there’s a possibility of a problem:
Normally, all the discomforts associated with getting your period should be manageable enough that you’re able to carry on with normal day-to-day activities. However, some females experience severe symptoms that make it difficult for them to carry out even the most basic tasks.
Even though most of these symptoms might seem normal, it’s better to consult a GP in case things seem to go out of hand:
Although mild pain caused by periods is normal, the kind that gets in the way of your daily life should be consulted with a GP. Period pain can be relieved with the help of exercise, taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If it’s the kind of pain that is intolerable, it might be a cause of concern (dysmenorrhea) and should be looked into.
Some women naturally have heavier periods than others, but for periods so heavy that they impact daily life, a GP should be consulted to investigate further into the abnormally heavy bleeding.
Irregular periods can be common during puberty or before menopause and can consist of a variation between time of periods (arriving early or late), the amount of blood lost (heavy/light), and the number of days a period lasts.
Stress too, acts as a factor that messes up your period cycle. A lot of women have been experiencing this now more than ever given the current COVID-19 situations and the nation-wide lockdown. If you’ve been experiencing the same, you can read more about how this pandemic might be taking a negative toll on your monthly cycle here. How the pandemic is affecting your menstrual cycle
Most of the time, irregular periods are nothing to worry about, but it’s best to get yourself checked nonetheless.
This is a very painful condition that occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Not all women who have endometriosis have serious symptoms but it could impact heavily on some females’ lives by causing painful periods, pelvic pain, pain while passing urine/excretion, nausea or depression. Although there is no cure to endometriosis currently, treatments are available to manage symptoms.
Problems that seem normal (but might not actually be)
Sudden changes like periods lasting longer or getting lighter, bleeding between periods, bleeding after having sex, or bleeding after the menopause NEED to be consulted by a doctor. There might not be anything wrong, but it should be investigated to rule out an infection, abnormality or in rare cases, cancer.
The Menstrual Hygiene War: settled once and for all
Sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups - which of the three is the better option for you? Although no single answer could be true for every situation, weighing the pros and cons of all these menstrual hygiene products can sure help you pick what personally suits you best.
The oldest of the three, sanitary napkins have evolved so much in the past years to become slimmer, get wings and turn liquid to gel to help you have an easy, stain-free period. Although they have a variety of pros such as no painful insertions (or any insertion at all), no risks of Toxic shock syndrome and no stains - because they happen to be the most absorbent of the three - pads have their own usage restrictions.
For one, you can't wear a thong, so bye-bye favorite party skirts. Swimming too, is really uncomfortable with a pad on. But besides this, sanitary pads are a cause of concern for many other reasons:
- Pads contain bleach that could increase the risk of cancer
- If not changed regularly, you’re at risk of developing an infection
- If you happen to be active, the constant chafing between your legs can give you a rash
- Pads take about 500 years to fully decompose(!) so they’re basically horror stories for the environment
Females who would rather suffer the initial discomfort on insertion if it means not having to feel a diaper stuck to them for 5 straight days, usually opt for tampons.
Again, tampons too have their pros and cons. It allows you to wear what you feel like (you can literally grab the most body-hugging dress in your closet with nothing to worry about), keeps the blood from getting outside your vagina, and is so discrete to carry around.
But just like pads, tampons come with a bundle of problems associated with their usage:
- Because tampons have the ability to soak up your vagina’s natural lubrication, there’s a risk that they may lead to TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome
- Tampons, much like pads, contain bleach that could lead to cancer
- Inserting discomfort, or general discomfort associated with first-timers is an unavoidable problem (especially with societal stigmas like ‘loss of virginity’ stuck to them)
Beating the cons of both pads and tampons, more and more women are moving toward using menstrual cups in an attempt to go eco-friendly.
There’s no risk of TSS, it's a hundred percent chemical-free and requires very few changes. Menstrual cups are non-messy and don’t pose a threat to the environment like pads and tampons do, so they’re clearly in the win here.
If you are a new owner of Menstrual cup and are not sure how to use it, watch a few instructional videos on youtube, and you’ll be good to go.
We vouch by OrganiCup’s in-depth instructional video How to use a menstrual cup
Our favorite Youtuber Dolly Singh’s real take on Menstrual cups, in case you don’t want to do it the normal way: Dolly Singh's views on the menstrual cup
The only con of using a menstrual cup (besides the fact that some women might resist insertion) is that the cleaning of one is a little cumbersome considering it has to be sterilized after every change to avoid any chance of infection.
Now that you know the pros and cons of each of these menstrual hygiene products, making a choice is relatively easy. Although menstrual cups seem like they should be the winner, it's not a widely accepted product yet. People are still trying to find their ways to get comfortable with inserting something that is literally called a ‘cup’ into their vaginas and this switch is going to take time. Besides, if you’re already suffering from an infection, insertion of a tampon or a menstrual cup - not a great idea. In such situations, a pad is an ideal option.
Whatever you choose, place your comfort before any other factor. After all, there’s enough discomfort caused by your periods itself, so the products you use must be ones that make your period more bearable.
More on menstrual hygiene
FAQs on Menstrual Cycle
1. When do periods stop?
The menopause is when a woman stops to have periods and naturally becomes unable to get pregnant. Until this period of menopause, periods continue. (Bummer, right?)
The average age of menopause is 51, however, some women can reach menopause earlier or later than this (as early as 30s or as late as their 60s). Periods may become less frequent over a few months or years or may stop suddenly. 1 in 100 women experience premature menopause and will reach menopause before the age of 40.
Not all women experience menopause in the same way but many common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood and anxiety, reduced sex drive and problems with memory and concentration.
A GP can offer treatment and suggest lifestyle changes for severe menopausal symptoms that affect day-to-day life.
2. What are the reasons for a missed period?
However, some women will not have periods for many complex and diverse reasons. Just a few examples may be because of medical issues, some may undergo early menopause (when a woman stops having periods and becomes unable to get pregnant naturally), some may have had a hysterectomy (when the uterus is removed for medical reasons), some may be transgender, or some through complications because of eating disorders.
Stopped or missed periods: Some common reasons for why a woman may miss her monthly period include pregnancy, stress, sudden weight loss or gain, extreme over-exercising, an eating disorder, hormonal problems, pregnancy, breastfeeding and reaching the menopause, though there may be many more reasons also. Speak to a GP about stopped or missed periods.
3. Can I get pregnant if I have sex during periods?
It’s highly unlikely that you could get pregnant if you had sex during your period. Although, there's a small chance that the sperm survives in your body for 5 days. So it’s safe to say that it’s risky business to have unprotected sex towards the end of your period since you might be ovulating a couple of days after the end of your monthly cycle.
4. What are the benefits and drawbacks of period sex?
Unless it causes you discomfort or pain, there’s no reason to avoid having sex during your period. It's safe for both partners, although it can sometimes get messy. It is important to understand that while it is fine to have sex during your period, you would still need to use protection. You’re more vulnerable to STDs, and pregnancy is still on the list of possibilities. Respect your body and stay safe with your partner.
Pros of having sex on your period:
Reduced Menstrual Cramps: A natural way to get rid of that period pain as opposed to painkillers is having an orgasm. When you orgasm, the muscles of your uterus contract. Then they release. This brings relief from period cramps. Orgasms can also release endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. Boy, did you ever think sex was the answer to all your problems? Well, it is.
Natural Lubrication. When you have period sex, blood acts as a natural lubricant and is one of the biggest perks of having sex while on period.
Shorter periods: Having sex during your period can shorten its duration. (It’s true!) The contracting of your uterus during an orgasm could speed up the shedding period of your uterus lining.
More pleasurable sex: You’ve probably already noticed a change in your libido around this time of the month, so you might as well put it to good use!
Cons of having sex on your period:
Things can get (pretty) ugly: When you have sex while on your period, things could get messy real quick. There’s a chance that blood could get on you, on your partner, and the sheets. There’s also the fact that period blood can emit an unpleasant smell. So if you’re the kind of person who’s going to be living in constant worry of this ugliness, you’re probably not going to enjoy sex as much.
Possible risk of an STI: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having sex on your period could increase your risk of getting or transmitting an STI, such as HIV. The virus may be present in your period blood. For this very reason, doctors strongly recommend that you use a condom to decrease the risk.
5. Will my hymen break if I use a tampon?
Tampons work just as fine for girls who are virgins as they do for girls who have had sex. And although using a tampon could occasionally cause your hymen to stretch/tear, it doesn’t cause you to lose your virginity because only having sex could do that.
6. Is clotting during periods normal?
Women often worry when they see clots in their menstrual blood, but it’s perfectly normal and very rarely a cause for concern. These blood clots are nothing but a mix of blood cells, tissue from the lining of the womb and protein in the blood that helps regulate flow.
7. What is PCOS?
PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that affects how a female’s ovaries work. The three prominent symptoms of PCOS are irregular periods, excess facial/body hair due to high levels of testosterone or ‘male hormones’, and polycystic ovaries where the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles). There is no cure for PCOS, although symptoms can be treated.
8. What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden, potentially fatal condition caused by the release of toxins from an overgrowth of bacteria called staph, which is found in many female bodies. Toxic shock syndrome primarily affects menstruating women, especially those who use super-absorbent tampons.
While instructions on a tampon box encourage women to change their tampon at least every 8 hours, sometimes people forget to change them or occasionally even tend to lose them. Leaving a tampon in for longer than 8-12 hours increases the risk of infection or possible TSS.
With this, it’s also important to note that the availability of free information on the internet today does not necessarily give it a credibility stamp. A lot of it circulating might be false and misleading. Some of the facts put out on content websites are a result of age old myths that have existed but are utterly absurd! Some of these myths have passed on for generations and people just happen to blindly believe them. You can read all about these popular myths that are believed to be true even today on PMS myths & Period Myths
Be sure to look for information (especially) relating to women's health and menstruation only on credible sources to avoid ridiculous rumours that are only here to hoodwink you.