Fit, Lean & Beautiful #23
By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
What tends to be good for menstruation:
I think an aspirin always works or a pain killer or ibuprofen, that was the only thing I would rely on. Start taking aspirin right at the onset before cramping and pain sets in to avoid pain. Showering or frequent showers may be soothing for menstruating women. I might try some of Aveda’s stress products creams or aromatherapy like “Shampure” (it’s a clean smelling perfume oil) or Aveeno Anti Stress Body Washes. There is also Tiger Balm that soothes feet and hands from pain, a hot water bottle, or a cup of relaxing Chamomile tea. Perhaps a pedicure and a foot soak in salts or maybe a whole body Epsom bath. You may want to experiment with “Icy Hot” cream on the back and maybe a little on the abdomen. Icy Hot definitely relieves severe back pain and may help with pain or cramping.
I think Neutrogena’s Pore Refining Toner is good because hormones begin to rage and break out the skin. “Adapalene” cream from the dermatologist is good for acne and rebuilds new skin.
Birth control tablets or hormonal contraceptives control a lot of the side effects or hormonal changes and cure a lot of cramping, pain and acne. Birth control tablets also reduce the quantity of blood, give menstruation a specific cycle and completely change the experience of menstruation for the better. Birth control pills are also used in menopause to control hot flashes and replace hormones. Birth control tablets can really help women in different phases of womanhood.
Watching a film or television as is commonly done in hospitals may distract women who experience pain and give them some peace.
A nice ceremony and celebration of womanhood is very nice at the onset of menstruation and throughout to “set the tone,” for how a “strong woman,” should think of herself. It can also be nice to give woman interesting examples of professional woman or creative woman etc. in books and films and start saving up those examples. A nice page turner can be great or even gift a pretty book mark to encourage peace and reading. Get a whole box of books to save up for your period or collect sheet music to work on and practice.
It’s a good time to spiritualize, pray and reflect on a female body that is contracting and passing her sacred menses. It’s a good time to spend away from the family or have some time for cleansing the body in nature’s way. What could also be good are a few iron tablets to rebuild a woman’s blood count which for a heavy bleeder may experience anemia. Very often a woman’s entire system may start to cleanse and she may become vulnerable to a cold or even the blues etc. The time period of menstruation may be in general a cleansing time for ridding the body of toxins as is done with a cold. The presence of blood may not be a good exercise time, but a good cleansing, spiritual and resting time.
A lot of women tend to bleed in conjunction with the phases of the moon and start their period on the full or harvest moon or women living together may both bleed in tandem. A nice moon focused calendar can keep you abreast of the moons phases and maybe you can sync up with Mother Earth! A lot of Indian calendars were based on menstruation and the moon phases. Things are said like “13/20” or “trece veinte” to reflect the old sacred calendars. Calendars also worked in conjunction with harvest times and crop seasons. Women were supposed to bleed every 28 days. In certain countries fertility calendars are distributed because during menses a woman cannot become pregnant but may want to clock the passing of her eggs for fertilization to become pregnant. A woman’s blues may even come from the loss of an egg during menses which is part of what she sheds. Women have all kinds of sacred numbers like bleeding 13 times in a year or every twenty-eight days.
For a wonderful technical description of menstruation and to become really “in the know” about a woman or mammalians body see Wikipedia’s definition for menstruation and their bibliography for further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstruation
There are all kinds of combinations that work for sanitary napkins like sea sponges that you rinse out that work well in rural areas but leak when you laugh or cough but represent economy and no waste, or home made snap on pads that you wash or a panty liner tampon combos, or a pad and tampon for a heavy bleeder, or a winged pad to avoid spills, or super tampons for heavy bleeders and I have even heard of two tampons for super heavy bleeders or pads then panty liners at the end when bleeding tapers off. A woman may alternatively choose a variety of supplies and enjoy the “smorgasbord” of menstruation supplies and combos.
The challenge is often not to soil your undergarments or clothing. You may want to designate a set of undergarments. It can really work to hand wash undergarments immediately and soak them in a bucket of bleach before washing to get them white again. White undergarments are easier to bleach and sterilize.
It’s also important not to clog plumbing and think of good disposal methods. Pads are nice to roll up into little bundles and wrap in toilet paper because they can be unsightly. For diapers there were hampers? Normally tampons become a popular choice to flush down the toilet but can impact plumbing and it’s being researched at schools like the University of Michigan, the impact of tampons on the microbiome environment of the vagina. Pulling out tampons can create suction, dry, leave filaments or impact the vagina. It’s important to maintain a healthy vaginal environment and keep it cleaned with the steam from the shower, mild soap and water and perhaps a cleaning agent like a douche of some kind occasionally.
Women tend to bleed for different amounts of time and even up to one week. It might be nice to take this time for yourself and take a much needed break maybe from sex or routine and plan something special. Salads and greens and iron rich foods are good. Maybe even comfort foods may be good for menstruation. A lot of women experience bloating and water retention and look a little “pregnant.” The water retention is said to be part of the cleansing aspect of menstruation.
Some women start to bleed early in puberty around age 11 or even as early as age 8 then finish depending on if they are in their child rearing years. Some stop bleeding in their middle 40’s or even 60’s.
The history of menstruation may be interesting to research, such as in the Middle East with the onset of menstruation and the veiling of women.