Posts tagged #hormones

World Book Day

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Today is one of my favourite days - it's World Book Day! 

Books are my obsession. Literally.  Pun intended. I cannot walk by a bookseller without going in and I can rarely, if ever,  leave without buying at least one new book. 

My house is overflowing with literary treasures and I'm am not embarrassed by it in the least.

I read every single day of my life and all three of my children are also bibliophiles and I am proud of that. I'm sure I had a lot to do with them loving books so; reading to them each and every night before they went to sleep (which is probably one of my favourite memories of their childhoods) and having them see me reading for pleasure on the daily.

I honestly don't think I could fall asleep without reading a chapter or two. Books are many things to me; companions and friends, fountains of knowledge, windows into other worlds, vocabulary expanders and the list goes on and on.

In keeping with the theme of this website, today I thought I'd share with you five fabulous books about periods and the menstrual cycle.

1. Moody Bitches by Julie Holland, M.D. 

  Ms. Holland sees the moodiness of women as a blessing and not a curse and invites you to do the same through the pages of her book. 

We are designed by nature to be dynamic, cyclical, and yes, moody. We are moody bitches, and that is a strength - not a weakness.
We evolved that way for good reasons; our hormonal oscillations are the basis for a sensitivity that allows us to be responsive to our environment. Our dynamism imparts flexibility and adaptability. Being fixed and rigid does not lend itself to survival. In nature, you adapt or you die. There is tremendous wisdom and peace available to us if we learn how our brains and bodies are supposed to work. Moodiness - being sensitive, caring deeply, and occasionally being acutely dissatisfied - is our natural source of power.

This 400+ page books imparts wisdom on how to embrace a woman's natural moodiness, there is a chapter entitled 'Own Your Moods',  and what to do and when to seek help when you cannot, 

2. The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation by Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton and Emily Toth

This book was first published in 1976 and updated and reprinted in 1988. No doubt it could use a new update or perhaps an entire new volume dedicated to the current status of menstruation in our culture, which thankfully is more open and accepting than ever before. #smashtheshame and all that. 

If you are interested in understanding the myths and taboos surrounding the entire menstrual experience  throughout history - from menarche to menopause - then this book is for you. 

 

3. Womancode by Alisa Vitti, HHC

The subtitle on this book is "Perfect your cycle, amplify your fertility, supercharge your sex drive, and become a power source". Ms. Vitti was diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) but her doctor was not very knowledgeable or helpful. She decided to research on her own and discovered some amazing results that she achieved through changing her diet and lifestyle.  The author focuses on helping women regulate their periods, alleviate PMS, restore their energy, enhance their fertility and improve their overall mood and wellbeing . She does this by focusing on 5 different areas; hormones, body, lifestyle, diet and exercise. 

 

4. Code Red by Lisa Lister

"Know your flow, unlock your monthly super powers and create a bloody amazing life. Period."

This lively and well written book teaches women how to live in alignment with the rhythms of nature, the moon and their menstrual cycles. The focus is on accepting and respecting the divine feminine within each of us and instead of fighting our natural inclinations during different phases of the cycle, learn how to ride the emotional and physical waves to maximize the best in us. 

 

5. my little red book by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff

This is an anthology of first period stories along with reflections on them from women around the world and was first published in 2009.  As you can imagine, some of them are sad, some hilarious, but they all excel at making you feel a member of the sisterhood of woman and incites empathy especially for the women who got their first period with no prior information that this was going to happen to them at some point. If nothing else, it highlights the need for formal and early informational sessions for girls so the poor darlings don't think they're dying. 

Quick question: Do you read print books or are you more inclined to read books on your tablet, kobo or kindle?

 

Some Fascinating Facts About Fertility

Quite a few women have told me they use the Female Empowerment Bracelet to help them determine the times they are most fertile because they want to get pregnant and find it more difficult than they had anticipated. 

This brings me great gratification to know that a simple bracelet can offer help to women who want nothing more than to create a brand new life.

Each Feby bracelet comes with an informational pamphlet that itemizes the physical signs of ovulation (which includes a rise in basal body temperature (BBT), an increase in arousal,  a change in vaginal mucus to resemble the consistency of an egg white, and possibly, if they are lucky and tuned into their body, a pain in the region of the egg-releasing ovary). It would be beneficial to know that there are many other factors that contribute to fertility, or lack of. The following facts were found in the helpful book 'Fertility Facts' by Kim Hahn and the editors of Conceive magazine. 

Among things that you might want to be aware of are:

  • The nose knows.  A woman's sense of smell is heightened during ovulation. If you notice you are more sensitive to smells suddenly and are desperate for a baby, start practicing post haste.
  • Keep his junk cool. Ever wonder why male genetalia are on the outside? Turns out Mother Nature was protecting the continuation of the human race with this odd design. An increase in body temperature in males can result in stopping sperm production. Men looking to impregnate a woman are advised to stay away from hot tubs, saunas, steam baths and wearing tight shorts or jock straps. 
  • Butt out. Smoking is not only bad for your lungs and heart but also your ovaries. Smokers have a higher rate of atresia (egg destruction) and menopause is fast-forwarded. Smoking mothers also have a higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and smaller babies. Many miscarriages occur even before the woman knows she's pregnant and smoking may be the culprit. Besides, you definitely don't want to smoke while you're pregnant or around children so the sooner you quit, the better.
  • Skip the oral sex. It may seem counterintuitive as receiving oral sex can be relaxing and climaxing and everybody seems to agree that less stress and anxiety and more calm and happy endorphins boosts your fertility.  But if you really want to conceive it's best to decline the oral love as saliva is known to slow down sperm, possibly inhibiting them from reaching the egg.
  • Timing is everything, especially in conception. Many women believe that having sex when they are ovulating is the ideal time to get pregnant. Not so, according to experts. Having sex just prior to ovulation is in fact optimum as an egg deteriorates quickly and only last approximately 24 hours while sperm can literally last for days inside a woman. So if you have sex at night and then ovulate the next morning, the sperm inside will have a greater chance of fertilizing that egg than if you had a morning session instead. 
  • Moderate your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine (over 300 mg daily) can have a harmful effect on fertility. Most experts agree that if you're trying to conceive your should limit yourself to one or two teas or coffees a day. (As a reference, a Tim Hortons medium coffee contains 205 mg of caffeine and a Starbucks tall brewed coffee has 260 mg.)
  • Soak up the sun. Experts suspect that getting at least one hour of exposure to sunlight can boost fertility. The reasons being that sunlight helps fight depression which is a fertility suppressant and the pineal gland is important to the reproductive system and won't work optimally unless you get enough light.
  • Draw the blinds. The pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin which is a hormone required for reproduction and this is only made during darkness. So, make sure your bedroom is dark and free from artificial light while you sleep.  
  • Dance! Yes, you read that right...dance! Dancing is a wonderful way to get in the mood for making babies as it reduces stress, increases happiness and stimulates blood flow to the reproductive area. Consider it foreplay. 
  • Keep your vagina organic. Douching, vaginal sprays and feminine wipes alter the delicate PH balance in the vagina which are necessary for conception. Doctors advise to stay away from these products all the time and most especially when you're actively trying to get pregnant.

If you know any other fertility tips and tricks, please share in the comment section below. 

Posted on June 29, 2015 .

Women are Meant to be Moody

Years ago (before Feby)  my decade younger sister-in-law confided in me that her husband told her that she was so moody he thought she was crazy and she ought to go to the doctor to get medication for it. I instinctively said "Amelia*, you are a woman. You are meant to moody. We're all moody. Do not go on prozac or some such nonsense simply because you are bitchy once a month." 

"What do you mean?" she asked, so sweet and unknowing in her youth . 

"I mean, do you track your periods? "

"Kind of. Sometimes. When I remember." was her response.

"Well track your period. Mark it in your calendar but mark your moons every day, all month. I bet if you did you'd find that you're bitchiest right before you get your period. PMS you know?"

"Yeah. I've heard of that but it's not a real thing is it?"

"Oh, it's a real thing all right. I'm living proof. Once a month. Like clockwork, I lose it. Like clockwork I also cry, eat chocolate and go to bed early. You really should keep track. It's hormones. 

"Hmmm. I'm going to do that." she said. "I'm glad I talked to you. I didn't feel good about taking medication. That seems a last resort if I was depressed or something, and I'm not. Sometimes I just get really fed up with Neil* and the kids and then I get mad at myself for getting so mad."

"Classic case of PMS sister." 

We laughed but deep down I was really comforted that she had brought this up with me and maybe I saved her from something. I've seen too many of my close friends go on anti-depressants and become ghosts of their natural vivacious, if somewhat erratic, selves. (Please don't get me wrong, I understand there is often a genuine benefit of taking such medications but I just don't agree that natural highs and lows of being a woman need manipulating.) Amelia never did take a prescription to control her moods and for that I am relieved and grateful.

But I'm no doctor; I'm simply a woman who has lived this truth for a long while and and am trying to share the knowledge of that by means of a bracelet. Well happily, at the beginning of March a book was published that supported everything I believed in my gut all along about being a woman and being moody and that the two elements belonged together is some way and it was written by a doctor. 

'Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, the Sleep You're Missing. the Sex You're not Having and What's Really Making You Crazy' by Julie Holland, M.D. corroborates my theory and everything I've built Feby upon and I'm so estatic that she wrote this book. It may become my new go-to so full is it of thoughtful and well-crafted reasoning about the natural female experience.

The premise of Holland's argument is that fluctuating moods are not inherently negative and it would be in our best interest to allow ourselves to be authentic and follow the indicators that Mother Nature bestows us. . 

“Because it is perfectly normal to have mood fluctuations throughout your monthly cycles, you don’t necessarily need to medicate PMS away, but you do need to educate yourself about it. I also strongly recommend that you keep track of your cycle, jotting down when your period starts and when you ovulate.”
— Julie Holland
“Moods are not an annoyance to be stuffed away. They are a finely tuned feedback system that, if heeded, can tell us how to best manage our lives. “

and

“If we deny our emotionality, we deny the breadth of our talents.”

The book is broken down into three parts. Part One is entitled Moody by Nature and Holland is quick to establish the importance that we possess awareness of our menstrual cycles and its effects on our moods primarily through hormones and chemicals naturally released in our bodies. 

Part Two is entitled Mating, Milfs, Monogamy, and Menopause and this section is teeming with enlightening information largely because I'm presently married and probably in perimenopause as I'm 48 but would be helpful regardless of age or marital status. Most of us will at some time or another struggle with monogamy, motherhood and menopause. 

Part Three is The Moody Bitches Survival Guide and here the author gives practical advice on how to use all the information from the previous chapters.

She cautiously advises to consider alternate forms of birth control other than the hormonal variety as these alters the body's chemistry in a very powerful, possibly toxic way. She believes that hindering the ability of the body of it's natural cycle of hormones and chemicals is not necessarily always in our best interest and natural family planning, condoms, iuds, diaphragms et al are a wiser choice in the long term.  

“The body, undisrupted, is powerfully intuitive and worth listening to.”

I'm end this here as I could pretty much quote the entire book. Moody Bitches is an amazing tome to cycle awareness and embodiment. If you're interested in owning your relationship with your cycle, body and emotionality then I strongly suggest you get this book. Heck, pick it up for other women in your life who may need a nudge in self-acceptance and awareness. In this sisterhood, we're all moody bitches. 

* Names have been changed