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Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.
Comic strip: A conservative American family visits the (future) Museum of Menstruation
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation
and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
"Down with the feminine hygiene aisle!"
"I have had one since I was 7 and I am now 30. To me it can be a pain but in actuality it is apart of life."
"I wish I hadn't wished for it in the first place, because for the year I've had it it had made me miserable."
"There are significant risks to the hormone therapy many women use during menopause. Why would it be any different during our fertile years?"
"I won't shed a tear when the periods stop. Would I stop them now? Huge YES, if it was healthy & safe to do so."
"I would not want to stop menstruation, it is a womanly right, it is a way a woman experiences her most powerful time."
"Now my periods are winding down and I'm so looking forward to them stopping forever. I'm looking forward to being a granny (and not just a granny midwife). I have to agree with the lady who said 'Not just yes, but hell yes.'"
"My dad is a doctor, but he doesn't say anything; my mom says 'it's normal' too, so I don't go 'to the doctor' when I have those pains."
"Every day after school I would pore over returned search results from Google for 'menstruation' and the like. MUM.org was also a big hit with me. (I really admire you and the effort you have put into your site!) I always deleted the computer's history; the searches were getting to be a secret obsession."
"I'm sure that if men had to deal with something so undesirable for just 3 months, then there would definitely be a miracle pill to stop this madness immediately!"
"If you are unhappy with the products you use then you should look into the many other options out there. You might just feel a bit better physically and mentally."
"As much as I dislike going through mine, I would rather keep it, than suffer some unknown health issues women wanting to cease their cycles may face."
"And it's kind of disgusting, but I kind of like wearing pads during the school day or whatever. It's kind of squishy and it's actually a little bit comfy, like a little cushion."
"What I noticed was that American women are extremely conscious about their body and easily embarrassed by the most natural things. American women couldn't even imagine not shaving their armpits . . . . Did it ever occur to someone that being a little bit (just a little bit) dirty is actually attractive because that's just what life is like?"
"I am done with having kids. I am ready to be done with having periods. . . . I have been asking how I can speed up the menopause process just so I can stop this monthly cycle."
"For 2.5 weeks of the month I am miserable. . . . Since I am unable [to have children], I would like this mess to stop."
"I even asked the vet if I could be spayed along with the cat. He just laughed. He thought I was kidding."
Depo-Provera not working
"There is no way to stop them without fooling around with my hormones and as far as I know they are pretty important to my health."
"I have always believed that woman are 'higher beings' in some ways because we have children and get to wear divine dresses!!"
"I plan to meet with a doctor soon to get my prescription changed to Seasonale or something of that sort, and I encourage other women in my situation who feel helpless to do the same. :)"
"God, just no more ANYTHING that has to do with blood!"
"Even with all this, I always welcome my period, it feels like such a cleanse every month. Plus it sure makes me appreciate being pain-free and mobile again when it's all over."
"I was born to be a reptile . . . ."
"First of all, as a registered nurse, let me say that I think women should be able to do whatever they want with their periods."
"I've appreciated the feminine, the moon cycles, the fecundity, the fertility. It's awesome, . . . now go away, shoo."
"[M]y heart goes out to the sisters who know another side of this."
No! "As with many other women with an early onset of what was later diagnosed as bipolar, mine was set off by my first period."
A Zambian writes Yes!
"So would I stop menstruating if I could? I only do four times a year and would not change it for anything."
"I plan to have a party when I stop menstruating - today wouldn't be soon enough for me."
"I was experiencing a wonderful 'period' of what is known as 'lactational amenorrhea'"
"It makes me more mentally and spiritually clear."
"I love to feel the cramps. It reminds me of being in labor, and the power that I found there."
No. "I know that science can medicate all that away for me, but like ADD/ADHD and some depressions, I think magic pills take away from the multiplicity of human experience."
No. "I like the idea of not being the same emotionally, hormonally, physically, mentally, all the time."
Yes. "I don't need my period to remind me 'Oh yeah, I am a female.'"
Menstruation is a painful reminder
Polish woman is ashamed of menstruation
A Malaysian woman, a biologist, says probably, at least for a while. And "[o]ur church was going to the beach for a camp. My twelve-year-old sister and her then-best friend Lyn were on their periods and were a bit upset that they'd be unable to swim at the beach (tampon use is still uncommon in Malaysia due to cultural taboos and the *&@#*! things being priced about RM1 apiece."
Woman from Zambia: menstruation is a"wonderful experience of womanhood," but "very inconvenient especially when . . . traveling."
"I see it as a curse, a harsh reminder from my body and my brain that if and when I start having sex (yes, I am still a virgin, and plan to remain that way for as long as I possibly can), I'd better be careful to make sure I'm adequately prepared against pregnancy . . . . I don't need this curse to prove that I'm a woman. I have other far less painful and most definitely less disgusting methods of showing that I'm female."
Nope. "I've gone for months at a time without my cycle and have never been so uncomfortable in my life, not just because of the 'could be pregnant' factor, but because I felt out of sync."
"No. I see my period as a cleansing function." But maybe in some cases . . . .
She responds to a comment about her answer
Hungarian woman "not so delighted about ... the 'clever ones,' those girls or women who are trying to teach others a lesson" on this page.
No. She has a genetic disorder: "After six months of the Pill, I took myself off and never refilled the prescription. The relief was immediate. I began to take responsibility for my own body."
Yes. She too has a genetic disorder: "[F]or several years, I had a note in my school file that I was excused from dressing out and participating in gym during my period, and not one teacher respected that note. . . . In my opinion, there are far more arguments against having a period than there are for having one, but this is just my opinion."
Maybe, maybe not. "Explaining to my boyfriend that was 16 at the time why I wouldn't have sex with him was like trying to explain astrophysics to a toddler."
No. "I chanced to take Seasonale, and rather enjoyed the three months I got to go without bleeding, but after a year, my whole body started working differently!"
"Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!"
"It's not rocket science. Less chemicals and medications are the answer - not more."
Croatian 16-year-old hates menstruating: "Before coming across this site, I never knew that there were women who felt as strongly (and negatively) about this as I do, and now I finally don't feel alone anymore thanks to some brilliant comments on these pages." [There are six Web pages and hundreds of comments from readers, pro and con, starting right below.]
American 13-year-old: "When I begin to bleed . . . and I read the comments of others I know that I am the same as most every other woman. It's some kind of reassurance."
Yes. "People take plenty of other medications that alter their bodies without thinking twice."
"I don't want to keep going on for the rest of my life like this never knowing what's going to happen because my periods come when they get ready and not one but two and three times."
Yes. "Enough is enough"
"I can't help but wonder if it is the result of the garbage being fed to girls and women nowadays, the garbage that says: 'try to suppress your femaleness as much as you can.'"
"No! I like knowing when I'm not pregnant."
No. "It HORRIFIES me how some women just casually say yes to putting hormones and other foreign things into their body to stop this natural process."
No. "I will mourn my youth, but not miss the inconvenience, the stains, the bloating, . . . "
Would I stop menstruating?
Well, it's almost a moot question at this point - I'm 48. Still bleeding like clockwork, but much lighter 'days' and the end is undoubtedly within a few years. I will mourn my youth, but not miss the inconvenience, the stains, the bloating, the occasional cramps, and the constant searching for that last stray tampon left in a jacket pocket, my knapsack, the glove compartment, the back of a drawer so that I could make it to the store to get more.
As a side note: From my thirties on, every winter before putting my winter clothes away I would 'seed' a pocket in each jacket with a tampon so there'd always be one available in a crunch. Also when I open the box - if I've run out I buy two boxes - I distribute them from the first into knapsacks, carry bags, drawers, etc., in case I haven't gotten to the stores before the last box runs out, because for me, its not something I ever think of until "that time."
Would I have chosen to never have it? No. I feel connected to other women around me and throughout time, I like the bond. I almost always get my period right around or after the full moon also, and I like that vague connection to the moon/ the universe. But in my teens and twenties I would gladly have stopped it for ten years or so. In my thirties and forties I had become much more leery of pharmaceutical companies "anything for a buck" attitude, and of doctors' wanton distribution of drugs and chemicals without knowledge of, or apparent concern for, long-term effects (DES, thalidomide, early birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy).
My emotional symptoms have always been very pronounced, and though there is a familial correlation - five sisters and a mom with similar mood swings - I also have recognized through the years, as others have noted, that most of the problems stem from diet and lifestyle issues exacerbated by hormonal fluctuations. I would list constant low grade dehydration - coffee doesn't count as a rehydrator, ladies! : ) - as one of the main agents of trouble, followed by lack of proper sleep and sleep habits.
Once I committed in life to a healthy, 90 percent organic lifestyle, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, removing stressors from my life (yes, even changing my job, even though it means I won't / don't have as many material things as other Americans), I became happier, healthier, and my periods are virtually annoyance-free, with the exception of hoping I can find that one last tampon somewhere!
Thanks for a great site.
NO! "CELEBRATE YOUR WOMANHOOD!"
Why is it that society has attempted for eons to suppress the powers of woman? The menstrual cycle is as natural as breathing and to suppress it because humanity has not been educated properly is a grave oversight to the magical creation of man that the menstrual cycle is a part of. It is unfortunate that men specifically have not been fully educated and thus have had an adverse response to something so natural in a woman's experience. I have been blessed with men in my life that have no issues with menstruation and sex or menstruation in any form. To suppress menstruation is to suppress being a woman. When we learn to embrace menstruation as a powerful psychic aspect of who we are we as humanity will finally start to evolve into stellar beings. I myself use to loath having my cycle, then I started to read, explore and understand the healing power of menstruation. Menstrual blood has been used to fertilize plant life (I give it to my plants - they love it!) Used to mark areas around the home with the mark of the goddess protecting all that reside within. I used to get tremendous cramps so much so that I would have to take time out ( I don't use medication) - then I started welcoming my menstruation and honouring its power in my life. December 2005 was the last time I had a painful menstrual cycle. Now the first sign of spotting and I WELCOME my menstrual cycle and honour the strength that it gives me. CELEBRATE YOUR WOMANHOOD!
****, Vancouver, Canada
YES! "My womanhood has been proven!!"
I would stop in a heartbeat if I could. I have been a teenager bleeding, a young woman bleeding and a mother bleeding and now I'm tired of bleeding.
My womanhood has been proven!!
Yes. "It's hard to explain to my professors why I miss classes once a month and why for a week I have to fan myself and sit by an open window . . . ."
I would stop my cycle if I could. Although I do love going through the naturalness of my body I feel that many times it gets in the way. When I menstruate I tend to have crippling cramps and hot flashes. This is very hard to have as a college student. It's hard to explain to my professors why I miss classes once a month and why for a week I have to fan myself and sit by an open window even if it's the middle of winter and there is snow outside. However I would only do it if later on in my life I could regain it in order to have children. Another drawback I feel of having your cycle is the lack of sex during that week.
College student, age 20
No. "I guess what I am saying is suck it up quit bitching about something you were meant to have and if you are going to pick up any kind of pill make it Midol."
I would love to stop the cramping, but as for having a period I am very happy to be regular again. I did the Depo-Provera shot for a couple years and it really caused a lot of problems. I was facing never being able to have children and in the emergency room for 10 hours b/because I had a miscarriage after being off the shot for five months. I went through a bunch of bullshit, taking hormones and shit to regulate my period. Thankfully a year later I am once again regular and loving it. Yes, it gets annoying when you want to be intimate with your significant other but girls, it's only a week, we're women, our periods are like our trademark be proud to be a woman. Remember: no period, chances are no children. Birth control highly interferes with your chance to have children and I know I want to have a family. I guess what I am saying is suck it up quit bitching about something you were meant to have and if you are going to pick up any kind of pill make it Midol.
No. "Believe me, the nun left much to be answered and talk about confused . . . I thought I would start bleeding near my inner upper thighs and have a baby shortly after."
No. Absolutely not. I would not choose to stop menstruating. I have always had strange "periods," heavy for three days, skip a month, light for two days and heavy with cramping for eight . . . never predictable. However, I believe that having a menstrual period is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. If we in America talked about and enlightened our youth of the coming of age process and sex, if we were more open about these topics, I believe many people would be happy and happier. I imagine if my parents would have told me about this, and not have had to learn from a nun during catechism, that there would have been less confusion and mayhem in my adolescent life. Believe me, the nun left much to be answered and talk about confused . . . I thought I would start bleeding near my inner upper thighs and have a baby shortly after. I had no idea what actually took place, and this was in the 1980s in America! Come on people. Let's be a little more open as a society.
Thanks for your great web site.
"I had a microwave endometrial ablation 15 months ago and it stopped my periods completely. Absolute bliss."
I've just been reading your excellent site, and found the bit asking for people to email their comments re would they stop menstruating if they could.
Well, I did - I had a microwave endometrial ablation 15 months ago and it stopped my periods completely. Absolute bliss. At last I can plan days out without having to work out dates first.
I suffered for 23 years with heavy periods, and finally something was done about it. It wouldn't surprise me if most of those who say they wouldn't stop menstruating are those with "normal" periods. Those of us who suffered every month would probably differ.
It's about time something was brought out that would stop women having periods, hardly necessary anymore are they?
"I'd sacrifice anything to live without that nasty obligation."
Hell, yeah, I'd stop my period if I could. My fantasy is to never menstruate... EVER. Even though my periods are very light, no cramps, no cravings, slight bloating, slight breakouts and slight breast tenderness. It's just that annoying thing, the flow, the paranoia, the discomfort and all that other bullshit. I'd sacrifice anything to live without that nasty obligation."
"Mess with mother nature and the natural order of things and you will reap what you sow."
I find it shameful that our society puts so little emphasis on the natural way of life. The norm in our society is to drug ourselves, our loved ones, our children and our animals. It is completely UNNATURAL to not get your period on a regular basis. If you do not get your period on a regular basis SEE A DOCTOR to find out why not. There is something wrong with your reproductive system.
I KNOW that once all you women jump on this bandwagon of never having a period no matter what your age that about 10 years down the road when 80% of you find out you can never have children because of what you have been pumping into your bodies has caused permanent infertility, cancer or a host of other, what the pharmaceutical companies will call "unrelated issues" you will begin to sue the very same companies you have made VERY VERY rich.
Have we already forgotten about the silicon breast implants that have scared and murdered countless women. What about Agent Orange in the Vietnam war? Our own country poisoned their own troops and denied it. Please remember that the bottom line for these pharmaceutical companies is the almightily dollar. They will and have hired doctors to say that the period you get every month is "fake" or a "phantom," not necessary. Mother nature does not and never will do "unnecessary." In the natural order of things it is survival of the fittest and the fittest women on the planet have a period every 30 days or so. It's natural and is as it should be.
Ask yourselves why our daughters are now beginning to ovulate at the tender age of eight years old??? It's due to the fact that we feed them UNNATURAL food, such as dairy and meat products that have been pumped full of GROWTH HORMONES for generations. We dump pesticides and herbicides on all our produce, we drink more soda (sugar, caffeine and carbonation) than any other beverage on the planet, which has been linked to brittle bones. As well there has been links to brittle bones and not getting your period. We consume highly processed, highly unhealthy foods every day. Did you know that if you do a bit of strenuous exercise on the day you get your period the pain will go away?! We need to treat our bodies with respect, putting only healthy foods and drinks in them, exercise and get proper amounts of sleep. If we do that many of the problems that plague us today will be gone tomorrow.
Mess with Mother Nature and the natural order of things and you will reap what you sow.
"I am very angry on God like what the point of view to give women this kind of responsbility. It is a big responsibility. I want to rid of that but I can't because ........................... ya . Why women get pregnent only. Gaush I am so mad on nature .their rules are so gaush wrong. You know u have to take care a lot about your self that what I hate about. After every month you will get periods. Why? Why? Why? Big process though. Nobody will discover that how can we rid of this periods. If anybody find any information than please tell me first. We can just talk but we can't do anything. That what I hate about."
YES!! I wonder when Nature will get a clue. I keep asking myself, why ever was it such a great idea to design human females that way, so they can be impregnated each and every month? It's not good. Not for humans, not for the overexploited Earth. But back to the question: why was it a good idea at the start, when human anatomy was drafted? I have only one logical answer. Nature had to ensure the survival of an endangered human race, so she took extreme measures.
Well, it backfired. Now humans are too many, so we have to literally fight against conception. Products related to the female anatomy (contraceptive devices, general and menstrual hygiene items) are littering the Earth at an alarming rate. And women have to face 30+ years of monthly bleeding just to have children, of which few can afford more than two. So decades of mess for two kids. I just don't see how this is good and healthy.
I have a 15-year menstrual history, and I wish it was history indeed. Each month I cry in front of my husband, not because of any special trouble since I'm an average bleeder with no PMS, but out of sheer intellectual frustration over the female condition.
Men move around freely, and becoming a biological parent is a simple one-night act for them. Women, though, get the none-too-subtle reminder each month that they're primarily just child factories. It might have been a blessing some million years ago. Now it's an outdated, over-the-top inconvenience. Women spend their most active and fulfilling years trying to deal with bleeding and cramps and mess a week every month. That's nothing less than degrading.
I've made up my mind. Yesterday I asked hubby how many kids he wants, we agreed on two. I'll do my best getting pregnant and going through the natural phases of motherhood. But then, sayonara to the monthly bleeding. I'll either opt for Mirena which allows some minimal bleeding, or go straight for the big guns like the Depo shot or the Anya pill. I'm committed to better every aspect of my life as a modern human being. I want a quality life, not a second-rate life as a female reproductive unit with teeth and two legs. It's that simple.
She later wrote,
I just saw this email, thank you for replying personally (and for featuring my comment, too)! By the way, I'm a 28-year-old Hungarian woman. I feel that we have less information and less options here than women in the US. What I know about Mirena, the Depo and the menstrual cups, I know from the web.
Your site has been a great source of information and comfort for me! I can't begin to tell you how thankful I feel. For the first time in my "adult" (=menstruating) life, I feel like I have a right to voice my feelings and consider my options. I feel like I can do so without being judged, patronized and hushed. Instead of suffering silently, I feel like I have choices, even in this sensitive area.
While most men just enjoy their biological luck and make cruel jokes about women's menstrual problems, you make every effort to understand the female cycle and share a wealth of information about it. Wow. Thank you, not only for the information, but for being objective and sympathetic.
Each site page peels off a thin layer of the thick crimson-colored shame I've developed about this issue.
The experience is like an "intellectual menstruation" that I can welcome and cherish. Forgive the parallel :)
In two little words: THANK YOU.
"Nature can shove it"
This is a good thing that they're making something to stop periods. I mean, come on, why would a 13-year-old want a child? They're not even thinking about it. Mother Nature can shove it. We're going to die anyway. The human race will destroy itself so who cares. Men don't have a cleaning process - are they dead? No, so why can't we live without it? If we want to have kids just stop taking the Pill. People who write think like that don't think woman's life would be better with out it. [I'm not sure I understand that last sentence.]
P.S. It's messing up my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"I wanted to stop menstruating and I got it, and it was a living hell!"
My answer to that now would be a resounding "Hell no." I used to wish all the time that I would not get my period. For years I pretty much didn't and if I didn't it would be anywhere from 3-6 months in between each cycle. I wondered what the hell was wrong with me. During this time I got really bad cramps and an extremely heavy flow. I had gone to my OBGYN [obstetrician-gynecologist] and all the blood tests came back normal, but she said I was a little low in T4 but still within the "normal" range. I figured something had to be off with me because I was always so tired and wanted to sleep. I think that even though I was in the normal range that the amount of T4 I had was wrong for my body which is why I think I had a mild form of hypothyroidism. So the doctor put me on the Pill, but the only thing that would help me with getting my period is not helping with my underactive thyroid. I stayed on the Pill for several months but I looked into other options. I couldn't take the Pill anymore because I kept forgetting so I stopped. I went to my local healthfood store and asked the lady what she had for irregular cycles. She gave me Emerita Pro-Gest Body Cream. I used it as directed and after 3 weeks I finally got my period. It was great because it wasn't as heavy or painful as it normally was when I got it. I used it religiously for about 3 months but after that I got lazy or I forgot to take it. So instead of it being the usual 3-6 months it was ony 2 months since my last period.
It's weird I'm not using Pro-gest now but I'm still getting my period every 40 days and it's light and not painful. Mother Nature sent me a zinger because you reap what you sow. I wanted to stop menstruating and I got it, and it was a living hell! But would I stop menstruating if I could? Not a chance!
"I don't need to have a cycle anymore!"
Yes, I would love to be able to stop my periods. I have had really painful and bad periods for about three years now. I recently had a test run to make sure that I didn't have any tumors because my periods have gotten so bad over the years. Everything turned out normal.
I have had two children and have been fixed! I don't need to have a cycle anymore! I wish there was a procedure to stop periods other than a hysterectomy. Let me know if there is something to do to stop them [endometrial ablation, hormone pills]. I would do it!!!
32 years old, United States.
"I want the hormone cycle itself to stop -- no more un-control-able moods!"
I would if I could. I found this site while looking for a a way to stop my periods without the harmful effects of hormone pills. I would stop, not because of feeling "dirty" or "unclean," not even because my periods are so painful I've been in the hospital from them -- but because I want the hormone cycle itself to stop -- no more un-control-able moods! Any suggestions? I don't want kids, but I'd like to have my moods and sex life back -- so let me have a -choice- and my choice is no more periods!
"I don't trust this first wave of meds. Our bodies are delicately balanced and I won't risk mine to a first generation pill that will cause such a disruption."
Yes and no.
Yes: The ideal situation would be to not menstruate until I wanted a child, then end it again when I decide to. But I don't trust this first wave of meds. Our bodies are delicately balanced and I won't risk mine to a first generation pill that will cause such a disruption.
I've already had natural disruption--I have celiac disease (immune system can't handle the gluten in wheat, etc.) but wasn't diagnosed until I was nearly 19 and it took its toll on me in depression and a wacky cycle. Months on end went by without a period through my teens. For the most part it felt great, and I barely noticed. It was only when a doctor asked for my last date that I really thought about it. (I think seven months was the biggest gap with one or two normal periods and another long gap.) My first pseudo-gyn appointment suggest that I could have cysts. But I've been gluten-free for over a year now and my body is getting itself back into gear. I've lost weight, gained energy, and my periods seem to have normalized again. I still have a long cycle (something like 40 days total) but it's been consistent for several months now. It's a huge weight off my mind to know that I'm doing something right for my body. The menstrual cycle is an indicate of how the body is functioning, and we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss it.
It's certainly not perfect. I get horrible cramps every few months, and mood swings are always fun. But I'd rather deal with that for now than take a chance on something we don't understand particularly well. My mother's generation (baby boom) pioneered birth control pills, but it took a while to get the dosages and balances correct. And we're still learning from them--as they enter menopause we're seeing how the use of various pills is affecting their health now.
I'm too young to mess around with stopping my periods on purpose. I'm only 20 and I want to have a family someday. I don't want to be a guinea pig and discover that starting up to have a baby isn't as easy as they thought it would be. I don't want such a child to have problems because my hormones were wacky. Yes, it would be the ideal... but no, I won't try it now. I'd like to see the long term effects first.
Course, if the tampon fairy could fly down and wave a wand a couple of times, that would be different... ;)
20, college student, NJ/NY, U.S.A.
I don't know how people manage to think that this is all beautiful and wonderful and lovely and ... urgh. It's nothing but a constant nuisance. When my period starts, my usual thought is, "Damnit. I hate being on the rag." And when it ends, my usual thought is, "Yay-wheeeeee! Free for another month!"
I'm 35 years old, I don't have kids, don't want kids, don't plan on kids and nobody is going to talk me into kids--so why should I have to put up with this stupid mess every month? There's the expense of "sanitary" products, the smell, the leaks, the stains, the inconvenience, the cramps, the back aches, the leg aches, the moods, the acne, ad infinitum. If there were an absolutely safe, simple, economical way to do away with this constant - and when you have to deal with it every single freaking month the keyword is 'constant' - annoyance, I'd do it.
My periods aren't particularly heavy, but there is that one day when I'm running to the restroom every twenty minutes. My cramps aren't particularly bad, but there are those days when I'd love to have a major dose of morphine and/or have my legs amputated at the waist. My acne isn't particularly bad; the quantity of blemishes, however, is more than made up for by the severity -- one great, big, hot, painful, monster-zit-from-hell-that-lasts-five-days somewhere on my body (usually face or shoulders) is worse to me than twenty little teeny, inconsequential pimples that go away in a couple of days.
Menstruation is natural, maybe. So are body odor, mucus and dental plaque, but I don't see anybody lining up to sing the praises of snot.
M.C. (a woman)
I came across your page quite by accident. I have an 11-year-old who by all symptoms will be starting [menstruating] in the next year or earlier. I was actually doing research on the best tampon for her to use when she's a bit older. I started to read some of the emails sent in from various women around the world answering the question "Would you stop menstruating . . . ." Frankly I was a bit flabbergasted.
I'm surprised that women have been putting up with symptoms of fibroids, PMS, migraines, mood swings, hot flashes, etc., for this long. I do not consider myself highly educated, but at least I do know that this is not the way that it's supposed to be. So I started some research. I found that Dr. Lee was right and progesterone cream counteracts the symptoms of estrogen dominance. Everyone I know who uses a good progesterone cream which does not have an estrogen base has had wonderful results. Personally I use Bellatude and will start my daughters on it as soon as needed.
Good grief, let me give you a good example: I live in the South, Mississippi to be exact, and we have mosquitoes, lots of them. We also have dogs. Mosquitoes plus dogs equals heartworms. So, what do you do? Buy heartworm prevention and give it to your dog once a month. It's common sense. Hormone imbalance is the exact same thing. Too much estrogen plus not enough progesterone equals all sorts of bad things. Use progesterone cream to balance the estrogens, end of all kinds of evil. But instead women complain and nag and suffer through it because they think that it will martyr them? Don't know why, but if they're smart, they will at least look into it and what can be the harm in trying it?
Just thought that you might want to know that (probably telling you unnecessarily, but I know that these women are suffering needlessly). If so many women come onto your site, maybe you need to address the issue more widely; and not only women, but I know several husbands who buy Bellatude for their wives and insist that they use it. I must say that they like the increased libido!
I'm impressed with what you have done. You are to be commended, sir.
As a practicing gynecologist for 31 years, author of two gynecology books and having the honour of being a collaborator of the wonderful Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health for nearly five years, I would like to present you my point of view regarding the menstrual suppression subject. It was originally published as an article just on the MUM's site in 2001, at page http://www.mum.org/soucas.htm, with the title "Uninterrupted use of hormonal contraceptives for menstrual suppression: why I do not recommend it," and basically has remained the same along all these years.
In the aforementioned article, after discussing the technical and medical details of the subject, I finish by saying that "... the present-day attempts of stimulating women to artificially suppressing menstruation for reasons of minor importance do not seem to reveal a healthy attitude regarding this typical aspect of women's nature. From the point of view of psychosomatic gynecology, I believe that this new and debatable idea that menstruation is 'useless' and 'superfluous' will certainly contribute to reinforcing the old-fashioned female negative attitudes regarding menstruation, and now hidden under the name of science. I think this is not good for women's psycho-physical health."
But there is something I forgot to mention in my article [which I just added]:
The artificial menstruations ("fake" menstruations) that purposefully occur during the seven days interval between each series of 21 days taking the hormonal oral contraceptives are the most practical way women usually have to know that the contraceptive is working - that is, that they did not get pregnant during the use of the "Pill" (though, of course, there are rare exceptions). Taking this into consideration, if these "fake" menstruations are abolished by the uninterrupted use of the contraceptives, a crucial question arises: what will provide women the usual and most practical control they have regarding the efficacy of the method? If there are no menstruations, which early "information" will women have indicating that the contraceptive may have failed?
I think I answered this a few years ago, when I found your site, attempting to find a help or better product! Yes, yes, yes.
I have bled extremely heavily for 30 years, and the huge mess, and major clots, days I spent sitting on the "throne" afraid to even get up, and each month it got closer and closer and heavier and heavier. I had very low iron, and was very anemic, and the constant exhaustion. I had been told 10 years ago to either have a hysterectomy or deal with it. I didn't want the hormones, or the hyst, so I finally decided I couldn't live my life like this any more. I had an endometrial ablation 10 months ago and my iron and blood count are back to normal, and I no longer have to stay home 5-7 days every 21!
I still cycle, and am done having kids, I just now have no more periods, though the EA is meant for heavy bleeding, and not to cure pain, and it makes your periods manageable. The end results are to be NORMAL flowing. I lucked out and am period free! Which, if you suffer extremely heavy periods, is awesome!
Finally, a solution to make me NORMAL!
I don't mind having a monthly cycle, and if I had a NORMAL period, that would be fine.
I am proud to be a woman, and never minded it at all until it got unbearably heavy, and unless you have lived through changing a pad every 20 minutes, blood flowing down your legs, you really can't imagine!
I would just like to update my thoughts on "Would you stop menstruating?" due to my conversion to a menstrual cup.
I would NEVER stop menstruating. There is no point for me to. I don't have pain, I don't have hassle, I don't have worry, I'm even liking it better (sometimes) when I have my periods (I know, how strange is that). This is because I now use the DivaCup, a menstrual cup [read about menstrual cups]. Used to use disposable pads, and the menstrual cup has so many benefits over them. It seems better when I have my period to when I don't because the cup catches a large percent my vaginal (fluids? - I have doubts with my use or words...) so I don't dry on my underpants. I know, pretty silly, but that is annoying isn't girls? The only problem I sometimes have with the DivaCup is I forget it's there and have left it in a teeny bit longer then recommended. I'll probably try and stop this tho by wearing a certain bracelet or painting my nails or something, to remind myself. An alarm on my mobile has helped tho.
My periods used to affect the kinds of things I did: I couldn't go swimming (I never used tampons), I had to restrain myself from joining in water fights, and having to steer away in fear of getting wet "down-there" and causing some mess. So generally, most water activities. I also felt afraid going camping and even going to friends houses. At school I found it embarrassing when friends asked why I took my whole bag to the toilets. And when school finished I had to quickly run to the toilets, do my thing, and run to the bus-stop to make sure I didn't miss my bus. Sometimes the toilets were even locked right after last period (hah!) so I couldn't, and just had to hope that I wouldn't leak. I found it awkward just doing really physical things. I felt awkward going to bed sometimes. I even was scared of becoming an actor (childhood dream) because of those swimming situations in movies. What if I had a water-related scene and I had my period? I didn't want to be forced to wear tampons or have to talk about it with other people?
Now, however, all those more personal concerns (and others) have vanished.
The only thing I would change about menstruation is the early onset of menarche. I believe that you should reach menarche around the age of 14, not 11.
I also believe that all the pain some women go through when experiencing menstruation is due to health and lifestyle, rather then the menstrual cycle itself. (It would be really interesting to gather information of women who have these problems and see if there are patterns.) So the drug thing seems ridiculous to me.
Also, if you would like to talk to users of menstrual cups then you should go to: http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups
It really helped me (16 year-old virgin, non-tampon-user) with my DivaCup, and even the choice of what brand I'd get plus much more.
Conclusion: Nearly every woman (they don't always work out for everyone) should own a menstrual cup. Everyone should eat healthy (in my opinion from the ways in 'Fit For Life'), Exercise, and start living more naturally.
Thanx again for your site Harry, can't thank you enough really!
Absolutely not. No. No. No. No. No. But that's just me. My experience with menses, while far from painless, has been an integral part of my growing experience as a person, an invaluable avenue toward understanding my own body. I rely heavily upon my monthly cycle as a cleansing, purifying, and regenerating time.
I'm 30 years old now and feel fortunate to have lived in a time where respect and understanding of things feminine as increased so far, while understanding and respect for gender differences is far from perfect or universal. My attitude is far different from my mother's or my grandmother's. (My male partner's attitude far different from his father's or grandfather's.) As it should be. I entirely respect the choice of other women to stop their menstruation I hope that they do so with an abundance of self-awareness and full knowledge of their bodies, their psyches, and the research, science and technology involved. Some of the stories I've read sound excruciating and nothing that I'd would wish on anyone. We all deserve relief from excessive pain and suffering.
In my own experience: I use the cooperative method of birth control (a.k.a. the rhythm method) so I am dedicated to a full and detailed comprehension of my cycle in all its stages. I've charted my cycles from menarche at 13 years of age. I believe that this habit helps to keep me regular. In addition, my practice of conscious/ holistic healing practices orients me in a very specific way to my pain and discomfort. Rather than focus strictly on my body, I am interested in examining my life, my history, and the people and culture around me. I'm not saying that I'm above ibuprofen, only that I try to be fully conscious of what the sources of my pain may be and to address them non-medically before I simply try to "kill" it.
I am interested in participating in cultural change, I believe that science and technology should play a role in our development as human beings. However, we still live for the most part at the intersection of capitalism, patriarchy, and science. I am most interested in continuing to develop firmer ground at the intersection of feminism and science. Thank you so much for the contribution of your museum to that common cause. Good luck and best wishes to all the women out there taking charge of their bodies.
[The writer also contributed to the Remedies page, the entry starting with "Number one cause of cramps . . . ."]
First of all I would like to say how useful and entertaining I have found your site. As a student reading Womens Studies in London I often find myself referring to you for sources!
I have read many of the other comments posted here; it's a fantastic debate I have to say. Would I stop my periods if I could? To be honest I'm not sure. Up until the age of 18 I would have said yes without any uncertainty, having vowed when my periods started at 11 that I would have a hysterectomy as soon as I was old enough. I hated the pads which felt like nappies, I hated the smell, the cramps, the hormonal mood swings, the tender breasts, the pain of inserting my first tampon - should I go on?! Most of all I grew to hate the taboo about not talking to boys about periods (except to raise the issue of cramps, a "cleaner" less "intimate" part of menstruation) All of these factors left me focusing my anger towards what I saw as the obvious culprit: my womb.
So when, aged 17, my periods stopped I was relieved. It was due (or so I thought) to the injections of Depo-Provera prescribed to me by my doctor after a pregnancy scare. It wasn't. At 18, half-way through my A Levels, I had a very late termination of the pregnancy that the doctor had misdiagnosed earlier as negative (she never explained about false negatives, or offered a second test, I might add.) After the termination I bled solidly for a month with spotting throughout the month after that. The bleeding was an intense experience on its own and I am always thankful when my period ends each time after only five days.
Would I stop my periods now? Not at all. My experience has changed my outlook on my body entirely. I admit, whenever I get my period now I do feel a wave of relief, but that is not to say that having a termination has scared me off pregnancy in the future - just not until I have had my education and stopped being a child myself! Having my period also reminds me of what my womb is designed for - life. I find it very empowering to be reminded of this on a monthly basis.
I feel for the women who have posted here about their torturous menstruations and I wholeheartedly support you in your decisions. Nobody should have to suffer unnecessary extremities of pain and discomfort when there are medical techniques available to prevent it. But I warn against celebrating what I might call the "demise of menstruation." Although there are drawbacks for most (again I mention cramps, smells, aching breasts, mood swings) and pain beyond belief for others, there is something very comforting about having a period for me. The way it reminds me of how my life has been and will continue to be shaped by my womb puts me in awe of the little thing and all the power it holds.
Kia Ora Harry, ["Hi" in Maori]
Firstly I think your site is marvelous. Thank you for such candor and honest edu-tainment!
I tried to add my thoughts to your "Would you stop menstruation if you could?" section via your Web site but it refused to work with this computer.
Here is what I think. Please add it to your panel.
Or perhaps dismiss it as crazy hippy conspiracy femmespeak - this is what I was inspired to write nonetheless..
I have had my period since I was fourteen. It came late, but I was glad.
While growing up I never felt like a girl, and was an utter tomboy. I felt in fact deeply that I would never become a woman, and dreaded such an occurrence. I sometimes wonder if this is why I developed so late. Girls in the changing rooms at school would laugh at my flat chest and rather than wishing I was like them I would secretly think "Well, I'm glad I don't have those ugly lumpy things on my chest- ugh!"
I grew up on a dairy farm and the sight of women's breasts I related in some weird way to the grossly enlarged udders of dairy cows, forced to expel milk twice most days of the year.
For a long time I guess you could say I struggled with my femininity. For a long time I really thought of myself as "feminist." I liked that women could act like a man, work like a man, drink and do drugs, have sex like a man, work sixty hour weeks, and what of it - screw you - we're the same - we're Equal! I beat my body hard with martial arts and exercise.
During this period -(Ha!) - I suffered extremely bad cramps during my menstruation, to the extent of being bedridden and in agony. I remember screaming and moaning incapably and dreading my periods. Every four months cramps would come along that made me want to die, they were that awful.
Doctors prescribed heavy-duty liver toxic painkillers, contraceptive pills, hormonal adjustment, or even surgery. I was resistant to all these treatments, distrusting this kind of suppressive "medicine."
I tried acupuncture, yoga, herb teas, Tibetan medicine. Stupidly, I tried all this while not changing the way I ate or lived.
After panicking one day in an exceptionally bad period I was ambulanced to the hospital and was left, untreated and in agony, on a bed in the corridor, (they refused to treat me because they thought I was mentally unstable, or on drugs, that's how crazy I was from the pain - staff wouldn't even refill my hot water bottle for the pain) I went into some kind of pain-induced zone of a Zen-like calm, and thought: I've got to do something about this. The medical establishment will not help me. I have to do this by myself. Who am I?
It is obvious to me now my hard, dare I say "male" (though I have no idea what it is like to be male) lifestyle of hard work, late nights, drinking, smoking, eating badly and sporadically, six cups of coffee a day, drugs, etc., were responsible for my state. I had been suppressing my femininity and trying to live some kind of exceptionally driven existence.
I had been duping myself.
Now, several years later I have barely a twinge during my periods, which are light and last for about four days.
This is how I got there.
1. I eat very minimal animal products.
2. I don't drink caffeine.
3. I eat minimal processed foods.
4. I don't drink or do drugs to excess (occasionally I will have half a glass of stout and the occasional joint or brownie).
5. I relax with yoga and capoeira.
6. I walk and cycle moderately for fitness.
7. I drink a lot of water before any other beverage.
8. I work lightly, as a job cooking what is considered "slow food."
And that's it. These things worked for me.
I basically slowed down, and got in touch with my body and stopped being so demanding. I laugh and smile a lot more, for the joy of being.
And there is a bit of an ideology behind this, which I will try to explain.
Basically I think as women we have to engage with our connection to the planet and stop harmful, hurtful (I could almost say demonic) activities.
I don't judge anyone who wishes to stop their menstruation, but I think that modern western existence is fundamentally anti-feminine, and that we are being reshaped into suffering worker drones for capitalism.
Does that sound radical? Scary? Plain ridiculous?
I think the African original woman has a lot to teach us, to stop the pain and the frustration. Of feeling like a ROUND peg in a SQUARE hole.
Women are intuitive, nurturing beings. Our bleeding is a tool for empathy. If we charge our love for ourselves, for all beings and for the planet our natural strength and fulfillment will emerge. Women are strong, sweet mothers of wisdom. Witches of herbs, minerals and stews.
We don't need to compete with men, they have their foci and we have ours.
We are best placed in careers that emphasize our feminine aspects of nurturing, natural wisdom, healing and other kinds of generous giving. I am not trying to demean women in writing this, rather that femininity has been and is continually being demeaned in this society.
I know many women who get very upset at this. I'm not suggesting that we are not intellectual or that we are only mothers and homemakers, rather that we need to give our femininity importance, and breathing space instead of suppressing it for work, or play.
I give thanks to all women who have fought long and hard for our rights - to those bright shining sisters.
But what have we lost in the fight for so-called "equality." Do you feel equal? Really?
It's okay to feel tired - relax, have a bath, a walk, a cup of tea.
It's okay to feel bitchy - let it out in a good chat, a letter, a workout.
It's okay to ask your man (or maybe woman) to be gentle and take time - we need to feel appreciated, loved or respected, to want to make love in the highest sense.
It's okay to not want to have children - it is a marvelous, scary event, but our bodies are undeniable geared to produce offspring.
It's okay to say hey, I'm a woman, I want time with my mother, sister, women, in our feminine pursuits.
It's okay to wear a dress, a beautiful flowing sacred garment, releasing our belly organs from constriction. It's okay to be sexy - to feel our powerful kundalini.
I guess what I am trying to say is that our conception of femininity is a very warped thing in this fast track existence, and that by trying to be men, to compete in their pursuits is a dangerous thing for our cycles, our well-being, our woman-ness.
I wish every woman could observe nature on a daily basis, sit in her garden and tend vegetables, have time to make a simple meal, be able to sit, chat, sew and comfort.
I'm not ashamed of being a woman. I don't desire to climb and claw and cut throat in a race to the top. I'm glad to be educated and respected but I don't need to fight for that - my perception of myself is more important than reality.
It's easy for me to say this, living in a society where woman are not subjugated to terrifying things like circumcision or sanctioned rape. These things are perhaps female suppression of the most extreme.
But what other subtle disharmonies are we subjected to? Perhaps unrealistic and perverted expectations? Perhaps a white Western male order?
(Please, no disrespect intended to any real men, the description of which is for real men to consider)
I made myself very ill trying to fit an unfeminine mold, and I feel very much for the women I know, trying to compete, distancing themselves from their empathy, their connection to the earth, to the ancestresses in pursuit of male fame, glory or success.
What is female success? How about we try and uplift our sisters in pursuit of that? How about we give that cycle, circle, the respect and love it deserves.
In love, sisterhood and humility -
and with my arms open in embrace -
NO! I say vehemently as a 49-year-old who has suffered from cramps, mood swings, etc. for most of my life. In my late twenties I didn't menstruate for two years due to lots of physical activity (sexual and otherwise) and birth control pills. It made me feel out of touch with myself and then there was the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. So, in spite of the pain and suffering, I like having my period because it's unique to the female, connects me with the rest of nature, and is a damn fascinating process. I don't like it when science usurps nature.
P.S. Love your web site. It's a valuable historical and teaching tool.
It would seem that the question would be better rephrased -- "If you had a normal healthy periods would you want to stop them?"
Of course anyone would want to avoid cramps, flooding, anemia, severe mood swings, and pain. But all of that can almost always be helped without removing yourself from a normal healthy function! I had periods so severe I could hardly move, and I was so anemic I had to have transfusions. All due to severe fibroids (one became basketball sized). I wanted to save my uterus, and with a uterine artery emobolization I was able to. Even as I went through that hell, I wanted to go for healthy, not for being cut open and losing a part of me. Within days of that surgery, my periods were normal again and I've been symptom free for years.
I started at age 10, and things are winding down in perimenopause at age 47. I've almost never had cramps or mood issues, and I love the monthly changes every day of the month. Who would I be without cycles? It is a sad but also interesting thing to have this change after almost three decades. No woman should have to suffer cramps and heavy bleeding and hard periods. That isn't normal. Help is available, especially with knowledgeable herbalists and natural practitioners.
My answer is no.
A few years ago, I would have said yes. But then I grew a brain and some confidence in my womanhood.
Why on earth would I want to pour money into a corporation to pollute my body with hormones it wasn't intended to have in it? Am I so out of touch with my body that I can't put up with a perfectly natural process? I mean, taking a crap is gross and inconvenient, but I wouldn't suppress it.
I used to have painful periods. Then I stopped fighting my body and accepted that my periods were a part of life. Amazingly enough, the cramps stopped. In other cultures, PMS [premenstrual syndrome] doesn't exist. In those same cultures, there isn't such a sense of shame surrounding menstruation.
We know that tampons are harmful, HRT [hormone replacement therapy] has been proven harmful to our health. So we want to unnaturally alter our cycles and poison our bodies with a product from these same people?
I can't believe that people would rather pop a pill than accept nature. It actually sickens me.
Just my $0.02.
I would maintain the menstrual cycle because that is the way a woman's system works best. Sometimes, my Zoloft doesn't work on my mood of depression very well, but finally doctors have given recognition and treatment to the down side and moodiness of the menses.
I feel better emotionally that physicians are permitted to psychiatrically treat a woman during those times. Sadly, I had to take Zoloft every day when I experienced post-partum depression that gradually became worse until I was hospitalized. I had unbearable headaches/migraine and eventually couldn't get out of bed. My world entirely turns around to happier days when I am on Zoloft. You can see that I have learned to fight and pursue answers to maintain my menstrual period. I hope you all have as much success as I have experienced.
That would be a resounding YES.
I am 37 years old and have had my tubes tied for eight years. There is no point in my having to suffer like this for a week out of every single month of every single year. I am sick of it. It ruins my clothes, it hurts, it makes me irritable, interferes with my sex life, and did I say it hurts? As you can tell, I am on my period now. It has ruined my evening. Please, please, someone give me a pill or something that will make this senseless torture cease.
I am a 42-year-old Canadian mother of one beautiful 6-year-old boy. I have had my period since I was 10 and I have had enough.
My OBGYN [obstetrician-gynecologist] has scheduled me for an operative hysteroscopy endometrial ablation due the heavy periods I have been getting over the past year. The procedure is in two days. If I am "lucky" I will not have bleeding at around three months after the procedure. I was feeling stupid for getting an operation because I am inconvenienced from the week and a half of bleeding each month. (Puts a damper on the sex life). I don't want to take any more medications and The Pill at the strength I need is a risk in it self. I didn't have to take any pre-op hormones either. I don't like going under general anesthetic and that scares me a bit. It is nice to hear that other women hate it as much as I always have.
I'm so impressed with the work and dedication you've put into this site . . . it's informative, funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately, empowering.
That said, would I stop my period if I could?
I'm 40 years old, single and childless (thank God!). I started my period when I was eleven and from that fateful day, it was nothing but one traumatic experience after another. I never had bad cramps, to speak of, aside from the occasional back ache, but the bleeding was horrible! My period would last up to two months sometimes, with no lessening of flow. When I became anemic, my doctor put me on a heavy dose of iron, which ended up doing nothing but giving me diarrhea on top of all the blood. At times, it was so bad, I couldn't go to work, couldn't stand up without gushing all over my clothes, couldn't do anything but spend an hour in the bathroom continually mopping up. It was nothing but a 30-year nightmare.
Last year, it started to get so bad, I was fainting and having cold sweats. I was passing solid clots the size of my fist and finally, after a period that lasted 137 days, I had a emergency D & C. That helped for a month. The next month was even worse, so I had an emergency hysterectomy, which revealed endometriosis, severe hyperplasia, and precancerous cells in my uterus. I wanted to cry for joy the day my gynecologist told me I needed surgery. I am now four months post-surgery and couldn't be more thrilled. I'm 40 years and I can *finally* start living my life.
These women who are telling us that we must be ashamed of our bodies and we should get in touch with what our period is trying to tell us should spend a solid hour sitting on the toilet while a quart of bloody clots pour out of their bodies. They might just eat their words.
A very happy female in Indiana (U.S.A.)
That would be a resounding YES.
I am 37 years old and have had my tubes tied for eight years. There is no point in my having to suffer like this for a week out of every single month of every single year. I am sick of it. It ruins my clothes, it hurts, it makes me irritable, interferes with my sex life, and did I say it hurts? As you can tell, I am on my period now. It has ruined my evening. Please, please, someone give me a pill or something that will make this senseless torture cease.
I found your website by pure chance yesterday and since then I've been going through it over and over.
Some parts are funny, some are rather revolting and - well, most of it is of great interest! Thank you for the amount of work you have done to create such an interesting website!
I am French, I am 28, menstruated very regularly since the age of 12, no children and used to have very severe pains when I was a teenager.
I am most surprised because none of your contributors has mentioned a fact that struck us (I mean, me and other friends) which is: very painful periods stop when you begin having a sex life!
It may sound crazy but at the beginning of my periods, I was in such a pain that I could not sleep during a week each month. The painkillers did little to help. The only "solution" I had found was to"go rollerblading and don't ever stop," just as if the speed could leave the pain behind (didn't work very well I must admit).
So it went on in great suffering, until I had my first boy friend, and it has not been that awful since. I was so amazed at the change that I talked about it with several friends (girls) and they all told me that they had experienced this change themselves.
I don't know what is the explanation of it (is it a relaxing effect, change in muscular postures? Or maybe psychological changes about the way we think about our body?)
It must admit that I am always surprised by the way North American people speak about PMS and PMSing, because . . . well, in France at least and to my knowledge in other European countries too, it doesn't exist.
I am not saying that women don't go through cramps or pain during periods, it's just that we do not report such broad changes of the psyche/the personality.
I have been wondering whether this discrepancy is linked with the different way we deal with sexuality, the body and the shame. Here again, I don't have the correct answer.
[Later she added:]
In fact I'm rather ambivalent about stopping my periods. Some years ago I would have said, "Yes, yes, yes!!!" because it was such a pain and such a bother. (During my first period, I had calculated how long it would happen to me during my life and I was so sad, so angry against "what" might have played this horrible practical joke to me.)
Nowadays, I don't really care anymore. I always know when my periods are going to happen and I don't suffer anymore. Most of the time I just forget to take pain killers.
Yet, it would be interesting to be free and to stop loosing blood (for people who believe it's "natural," as you emphasized on your site, women from past centuries were almost always pregnant or breast feeding, so I am not so sure that our "nature" is designed to lose that much blood (and lots of women have to take iron tablets).
That was the "yes" part of me; the "no" part is that I have no trust in [artificial] hormones and their safety. I had been taking birth control pills for several years when I was in my early twenties and I had lots of problems with them (when I stopped taking the Pill, I lost around 40 pounds - without diet. Oh, oh.) Nowadays I have a IUD with copper and I am very happy with it.
I think (and most of the "No women" before me stressed similar points) that most of the dislike about periods is linked to a feeling of shame and of "being a second class individual," if you see what I mean.
And I must admit that my ways of thinking about periods has evolved in parallel with my self-esteem (which is not very good even nowadays, but at least I don't hate being a woman anymore, or just on the really bad bad days, which most of the time have nothing to do with my periods).
To conclude, I would say that rather than developing devices to stop the period, we should make an effort to increase the knowledge, the well-being and the self-esteem of women - it would be more useful (even though I am aware that some women have very abnormal periods and should be relieved).
There are certainly times in my life when I have felt that menstruation was a cruel "curse" but over the years my thoughts have mellowed and I have come to embrace my monthly visitor. What does it mean to flow ? It means that I am full of life. It means a release of physical and emotional tensions. It means a time to be aware and to reflect on my femininity. It may mean I need to rest after the flurry of activity that usually comes before it. It is a brief break to do a self-check. Am I taking my vitamins, eating properly, doing enough exercise and good things for myself ?
I used Alesse continuously for four months one time so that I wouldn't menstruate while away on vacation. I had to stop before we went because I felt like I had so much rage pent up inside of me. Lots of women are told by their doctors that birth control pills will make mood swings decrease. After having worked in pharmacies all my life, I have heard enough stories from other women to know that this simply is not true for all women. I think that our bodies have adapted this way for a reason and that continual use of BCPs, without a break to bleed, is harmful indeed.
So, would I stop bleeding if I could ? No, no, no. My body will do that for me when it is ready to. In the meantime, I will enjoy each month. And for those odd times when I am having problems, I will visit with my naturopathic doctor for ways to help me deal with it naturally.
Would I stop this painful monthly dread if I could? Of course I would. I think all women should consider doing so if they could as well.
At 18, I have determined that once I get enough money and bravery, I will find a doctor who will burn off my uterine lining. I forgot the name of the procedure, but that's what I am going to have done. I have no desire or ability to be a mother. I know that if I had children, they would end up in foster care, so I won't even try. I'm just not the nurturing type. So if anyone happens to know the name of the procedure I'm talking about and a doctor who won't give me the "you're too young you'll change your mind later" speech, please e-mail me [endometrial ablation - for a description, see a doctor's site here].
I know a lot of women who tell me to "love your body" and "it's a natural process" and a "beautiful thing." I really want to know what those women are on to be saying that bleeding x amount of days a month every is natural, beautiful and something to love. There are so many things wrong with those statements.
First off, I would like to say that what is "natural" changes over time. At one point in time about 100 years ago, it was natural for a girl to start her period at the age of 16 or 17. It was the norm of the time. Now if a girl hasn't started by 16, there is some kind of problem, but it's entirely "natural" for a 10 or 11 year old to start menstruating. That is just the way society is. What was "natural" then is no longer "natural" now in a modernized society. Natural is only "natural" for so long. Before another woman starts saying that women having been going through the kinds of periods we see as "natural," think about what was natural to those women back then. Having eight or nine kids was natural at one point. Having your first child before hitting twenty was natural and expected. Having a period every month was probably not natural to those women. How would what was natural then compare to what we see as "natural" now?
This "natural" process also varies worldwide. Menstruation is mainly a problem of modern working women of highly industrialized countries who don't have as many kids, live very long lives and work alongside men in an "almost" equal society. Look at some Indian and African tribes who live simpler lives in grass huts and pick their own food. Menstruation-related problems don't seem to come up nearly as often in their societies. After all, many female problems didn't come into play as actual problems until after women began to be treated more equally. Men don't get time off from work for "male" problems, so women don't get time off for "female" problems.
Secondly, I want to address the aspect of love and beauty towards menstruation.
I'm not trying to offend anyone, but why the hell should I love such a disgusting bodily function!? What is so beautiful about it!? Some women may not experience many problems on their periods, but I certainly do. For an entire week, I feel sick, weak, tired, angry, sad, nauseous, and sometimes insane. There have been times when I literally wanted to stab myself because I hated what my body was doing to me. For the first few days I'm on, I can't eat or drink anything outside of water, coke and salted crackers. Everything else just comes back up, even medicine. I cramp the week of and the week before it badly. And my period has an extremely abnormal flow. I don't have light or heavy days like most women; I have light, medium and heavy hours. In one day, my period can go from heavy to super heavy to nothing to medium to nothing again. And then back to light. There have been nights where I thought it would run heavy but nothing was on the pad the next morning. There have also been times when I woke up to a puddle of blood when my period started that night running "light" before I went to bed.
Someone tell me where is the beauty in that. Is it beautiful that I'm sick to my stomach and vomit at the thought of food once a month because of this? Is it beautiful that I stain clothes, sheets and even mattresses with blood? I do realize that being a woman capable of bringing life into the world is a beautiful thing, and certainly worthy of love and admiration. But putting up with this bloody curse every month is not beautiful in the least bit. Then again, it's not meant to be pretty because its a sign that you have not done what nature wanted, the "natural" thing, which would be to get pregnant.
I also want to say something about the stupidest comparison I have ever seen. Many pro-menses I've talked to (pro-menses being people who think women should not stop their periods by choice) often say telling a woman to take a pill to stop menstruation is as stupid as telling a man to take a pill to stop ejaculation. There is no way these two could ever be compared like that. I have yet to hear of a man who ejaculated for days straight against his own free will. I have yet to hear a man complain about pain or sickness associated with ejaculation. Most importantly, I have yet to hear a man who does not enjoy ejaculation. Men usually find ejaculation to be an enjoyable experience that goes along with sex. I don't know too many women who find their periods to be enjoyable in a sexual manner (except some girls I know who get really horny during their periods, but that's another story) or in any manner except the "Yay, I'm not preggie!" manner.
I could rant on and on about this topic, but I don't want to take up the entire Web page. So, I just want to say that while I think it's cool that some women think their periods are wonderful and should be treated in the highest regard, just because something is "natural" does not mean it has to be treated as beautiful and loved. We naturally grow body hair, and most women find it nasty and shave it off. We naturally get wrinkles and gray hairs, but women hide that with hair coloring and makeup. Many women naturally have small breasts and a not quite an hourglass figure, but women get plastic surgery for that.
So why can't the same be done for menstruation? Sure, at one point in time in may have been a beautiful thing that signaled womanhood, but now its more of a pain in the ass. Maybe a permanent solution is too far for some women who want or may want to have kids, but what about those who won't or can't kids anyway? What about women who are done having kids? Why can't a temporary treatment be made for women not ready to have kids yet and for young barely preteen girls who shouldn't have been thrown into womanhood so early?
There is just no need for menstruation in a modern society like ours. Its just a constant roadblock to many women, and not the inspirational gift some people make it out to be.
Hey, I got one of my friends to answer the menstruating question. She somehow couldn't send it to you, so I told her I would. Here is her answer:
"I must admit menstruating is quite annoying, the cramps and being caught without protection. But I wouldn't stop menstruating because it wouldn't be natural. And natural is GOOD!
- 16 years old."
I absolutely would NOT take these pills (Seasonale, etc) that impede menstruation.
I am a 29-year old mother of two. I began my first cycle just a few short weeks after my ninth birthday. From then until well into my teens, I bled for an average of 10 to 12 days a month, heavily. At 16 I went on "The Pill." Actually, I went on a variety of different Pills, but found that they all just messed with my body too much - headaches, mood swings, weight gain, etc. And because of my own ignorance about my body, I continued to suffer the horrible effects of these pills until I was 24! Luckily, I wised up and started learning about my body and my hormones.
Instead of tossing packages of pills at young women, we should be teaching them about their bodies and their menstrual cycles, and how to monitor their fertility without artificial means. Forget the 21-pack or 28-pack and give them a copy of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" instead!
A human body is not meant to have its hormones altered artificially just for the sake of convenience. I can understand the need to correct a hormone imbalance, but we are a generation CREATING a hormone imbalance within ourselves - I fear what this will mean to our children. Will it be another "DES"? [Diethylstilbestrol, "a synthetic estrogen hormone that was given to pregnant women in the 1950's to try to prevent miscarriages. It was not effective and its use discontinued. The female infants of these women, who took the DES, had some developmental abnormalities of their vaginas and cervices that put them at risk for developing a particular type of adenocarcinoma called a clear cell carcinoma." From http://www.gyncancer.com/vagina.html] Something supposedly safe, that so many women took, that ends up affecting generations to come?
No - I'll stick with a wonderful and natural way of suppressing ovulation (and hence, the bleeding too) - my youngest child is now 17 months old, still nursing around the clock, and I haven't seen a menstrual cycle since her birth!
Yes. Mine have never been regular with a cycle between 18 and 30 days usually but sometimes skipping or two in a month, etc. Thankfully they're not heavy but have caused me more trouble than they're worth. I feel fully female when its not "that time of the month" so why should I feel more so during it? Having another child may kill me so its not of any use. To any females who love it or embrace it that's great but I can't wait to stop them.
Thank you, Sue, (Queensland, Australia)
I am definitely not one of these women who feel that having a period is some sort of miracle or life affirming occurrence. I have never enjoyed them but at one point in my life understood the need for them (when I was trying to have a family). But now that I have had my children, am almost 40 and have no desire for more children the periods are nothing but obsolete.
The only thing that turns me off is that most drugs that women take that concern their reproductive system end up causing severe side effects sometimes.
I would happily stop menstruating if I could. I would also be glad if I could just have my uterus removed. I can't imagine anything worse then someone with as many mental hangups as me having a child.
A period is a messy, smelly, painful thing. It doesn't make me feel special, it makes me feel filthy and disgusting. Not to mention the pain. And I don't mean just cramps, but migraines as well. If I could I'd invent a time machine, go back to the Garden Of Eden, and stomp that blasted snake to death before he could ever talk to Eve.
I hate my monthly cycle. I would prefer to turn into a man every 28 days instead!
I started at 16, had irregular periods, usually heavier and longer than normal for the first five years. I have not had an easy history of menstruation, but it has always reacted to my current life situation as if I was in dialogue with it and has pushed me to dig deeper, and become a more whole woman. That, and the support and guidance of girl friends and women around me.
For example, when I was in my late teens and others around me had already had sex for the first time I thought I'd just "get it over with" - I wasn't being too rash, just in a little bit of a hurry. Every single time there would be an opportunity for me to have sex - camping out, a party at a friend's house - and I had this intention in mind I would get my period - every time. My body was telling me I wasn't ready (which I wasn't) and eventually after this happened repeatedly I caught on. It was eerie. But waiting was priceless and I have my own body to thank.
Later in life I found myself in situations where I would give too much of myself to others (what woman doesn't?) These emotional imbalances always manifested in my cycles and because of that have led me to reexamine my situation and make the changes and grow in the places that I needed too.
Though sometimes I do have disabling pain and the loss of massive amounts of blood is difficult to bare, I know that this cycle connects me to a deeper wisdom that drives and pulls us along in our lives. I need only to be open to its meanings and I can benefit and grow from this innate wisdom which is encoded in our own bodies. To begin to read it is to translate it into my own logical language. Some reach out to a god in the heavens far away, I need only look inside my body and I will find it there if I take the time to look. Every physical manifestation has its root in our life style, history and emotional/mental state. My period is a reminder of this. By suppressing and choosing not to listen to my body I would lose valuable intuitions and perhaps not be the person I am today. Humans are creatures of habit and unfortunately we vastly underestimate the necessity of a constant reminder to reexamine and change our habits so that we may grow and evolve in more conscious, aware beings.
I'm from the Northeast, U.S.A., 26 years old.
I would also recommend "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" for further reading about emotional/physical connections.
As I sit here clutching my gut at 1:00 in the morning, I would say goodbye to my period with a middle finger in the air. I have hated it since that day when I was 13. I am now 25 and still despise it as much as I did then.
I thank God everyday for the birth control pill which has reduced my 10 days of Hell to four or five. The cramps that feel like a burning knife in my gut, large clots, bloating, back pain, headaches, diarrhea, enormous tampons (with "back-up" pads), snapping at my husband, irrational crying, and severe anemia (almost to the point of needing a blood transfusion) I will never miss. While they are still there, they are only a minimal nuisance now. When I was in high school I used to black out on the first day of my period and my mother would find me curled up and dazed on the bathroom floor.
I got married when I was 20 and after three years of trying to get pregnant, fed up, I went on the Pill since my period didn't seem to be keeping up its end of the bargain anyway. "Have me and you will know the joy of a child." It wasn't so much to keep me from getting pregnant but to be back in control of my body. And we were at the point where if we decided it was that important to have a biological child, we would need to take those drastic and expensive steps that I was just too worried would put my marriage in jeopardy. My ob/gyn knows about it, but agrees that it is up to us if we ever want to pursue extra steps. And I believe for me, adoption would be the most fulfilling thing I could do. Now these days are just about us, and I like that. Of course there is always a little pain in my heart when I see a woman pregnant or a family with lots of children. And, yes, at times it can even be almost unbearable, (usually around you know when, so put that on my list of reasons), but I believe part of being an adult and being mature is understanding that sometimes you just don't get what you want, and you have to suck it up and get on with life.
I do think of my period as something apart from me, with its own will and personality. And we do not usually agree with each other. I'm sure plenty of people will say that's an unhealthy view of my body, but I do see it as a relationship on the rocks and I hope we can work through it and one day be happy together and live in harmony. But until them I am content with my decision, and I would be on Seasonale [which allows for only four periods a year] in a flash if and when my insurance covers it.
My period does not control my womanliness or my creativity. That comes from my experiences in life, and my heart. I am an artist and that is something almost uncontrollable from deep inside my subconscious that flows out of me. That is what completes me. My love for life, and the deep unwavering love for my husband, and my friends that I would bend over backward to help, my purring kitty, and my 175 lb sweet-as-pie dog, not my period, is what really matters.
Northern Indiana, U.S.A.,
Please forgive my English, as it is not my first language. I'm from Mexico, but I live in California now.
First of all, I want to thank you for the wonderful Web site you have. I discovered it several years ago, and it has helped me to understand my body and be in tune with the wonderful changes it experiences every month. So NO, I would NEVER suppress my menstruation unless I am pregnant or breast feeding.
I come from a family of women who view menstruation as something sinful and dirty. Thankfully I never listened to their wrong information. I pity the people who listen to their mothers' tales of how HORRID it is.
I had my first cycle when I was 11 (on January 11th 1992), I remember liking how warm my uterus felt (and I still love the sensation). I did experience a little pain, but I learned to suck it up and continue with my life in EVERY WAY. My menstruation is NOT an illness. I feel more alive and more aware, in tune with the universe.
When I was first learning to wear pads, I used to use two pads or more at the same time, and I always had leaks. Was I losing too much blood? NO! I was simply *over-doing* the protection. One GOOD pad works better than two. I used to take pills, now I enjoy the cramps, and I find them purifying (now, if a woman has awful pain, she has some sort of trouble and should seek help). I discovered that pills only disconnect you from the world. I like being alive with my five senses working, even if that includes menstrual pains.
About the smell. I LOVE IT! I don't know if other women's menstrual blood stinks. Mine doesn't. Mine smells sweet and earthy at the same time. I like it.
When I am alone, I like being a free bleeder. I don't wear pads or tampons if I can help it. I don't mind the blood on my thighs or the bed sheet - everything is washable.
I like putting menstrual blood on my face, as a facial mask. It makes my skin so soft! I like the sweet smell on my face. I have heard that prevents wrinkles.
When my husband has an important meeting, I paint his chest with my blood. It's like war paintings and I am giving him my "goddess" powers. And he is great! We both love making love, regardless of whether I'm menstruating or not. To the women whose men don't like to have sex during their cycle, I only have two words: Dump him. Who wants an ignorant brute that thinks his woman is disgusting just because she has a sign of being in perfect health?
When I was younger, I used hormonal contraceptive for a couple of months. I stopped it because I didn't like what it did to my body. I would never go back to them. Thank goodness for the SPONGE, which has turned to be perfect for me.
Since I turned 40, it seems my hormones have gotten wackier, including the fun of migraines. I currently have an IUD, which means my cycle is not only heavier, but shorter, and also means sometimes I get to deal with the fun twice a month. Even with a menstrual cup, it's not a joy I look forward to.
My IUD expires sometime next year. I pray that Anya [a hormone pill designed to indefinitely stop menstruation - more here] has been approved and is for sale at that point. I made the conscious choice decades ago to remain child free, so I don't see the lack of a period as "14 missed opportunities each year." Furthermore, I don't tie my identity as a woman to my period.
It's messy, inconvenient, and stains my clothes and bed (no matter how careful I am). I'm already tired of the migraines and mood swings, even though it's been less than a year. Good riddance to it. I don't like taking pills, but I'd gladly start taking Anya if it meant I could do without my period.
Naw. It makes me feel earthy & cleansed when it's over.
I've got mixed feelings about the topic. For one, I wouldn't stop menstruating if it meant I had to take drugs to do it. It just seems so unnatural. I'm only 16 (born '89) and had my first period later then the other girls in my class (13 and 11 months), so I haven't had much experience with menstruation. But I still have had experience!
There was one girl who answered your question who said she thought she may never get her period. I was the same until I did get it. I've never been really irregular, but I have had the odd occasion and embarrassing moment. Sometimes I feel restricted to do things, mainly water-involving activities, because I don't want to use tampons (health risks) and I don't think anyone would appreciate me "polluting" the water they are swimming in. The cramps and other bodily annoyances also make me feel restricted, but not as much as the way society looks at menstruation. I think the feeling of restriction is the main reason why I like not having my period more than when I do. My bodily effects of menstruation are not too bad, and I believe that is because of my health and the way I look after myself (which I'm going to try to improve to see if there is a change).
Getting back to the main answer. Would I? It depends (my favourite answer to all questions, he he). Using drugs? Somehow deforming the female reproductive organs? Or maybe if I rubbed a magical lamp and a genie popped out and said, "You have three wishes"? Which used to be a dream/hope/fantasy of mine. If that did happen a year or two ago, I would have said straight out, "I wish you would stop me having my monthly periods, but still allow to give birth to my own child." But now it's a little different. I've been researching different/natural/environmentally friendly/easy alternatives to collecting menstrual blood, and also reading comments on menstruation, and now I think differently about it. I still feel restricted in some way, but I don't have such a negative thought towards menstruation. It would be interesting to meet some women who have had real problems with PMS and all the other things that occur at that time of the month, just to see what there lifestyle is like, because (after very little research I must admit) I think it has a lot to do with lifestyle/health.
Now, if that genie came to me, I may ask shim (she-him) if they could let the whole world understand the importance of the menstrual cycle in women. And then I'd ask shim to cut every women's cycle down to how it used to be (about 50 a lifetime??). We'd still have the cycle, just not as often, and start when we are 16/17 as opposed to as early 9, so we can have a few more years of being a child.
From ****, Sydney, Australia.
PS. Thanks so much, Harry, for your site. It really opened up my eyes to information that I just wasn't given, due to lack of sex-ed, which I think that should improve. And also due to embarrassment with talking about it, which I thankfully don't have now!
I probably wanted to say a lot more, but I go off in tangents and forget to go back. But I just wanted to mention that I think it should be called womenstruating. I've seen it said on your site before, but I thought of it before I saw it.
I am 38 years old and have been married for 15 years to a perfectly wonderful man. We planned on having four children and wanted to be young parents. After a few years of no success we started seeing the first of what would turn out to be half dozen specialists in the field of obstetrics-gynecology. I have endometriosis. I have gone through several surgeries, treatments, tests, and every conceivable conventional and non-conventional "cure" know to man. I have even conceived several times, only to lose the pregnancy very early.
I started menstruating at 11 years old. My mother had started at the same age and had no problem getting pregnant (thank God she was always very open about sex and reproduction). I married my college sweetheart at age 21. He is number five of seven kids in a very conservative family which never talked about sex or reproduction (it just seemed to happen a lot). Everything we have gone through has been all new to him. At first he did not go to the doctor with me and did not want to believe what I would tell him. Now he is more informed than a lot of medical staff I know!
My periods have always been regular as clock work, but they have also always been very heavy, a full seven days long, and PAINFUL! As I have aged things have only gotten worse. I have terrible ups and downs that now have me on Zoloft. I have sharp back pain one full week before my period. I have a three-day migraine headache at the start of my period and I cramp like crazy before, during and after my period. It is smelly, sticky, messy and makes me ache all over.
Would I like to shut the whole thing off? YES! I love being a women, feeling sexy, and knowing that I am a part of the cycle of life, but I am sorry, girls, my system is a lemon it just doesn't work.
To answer your poll question: Yes, I would definitely stop my periods if I could - Oh wait, I already have!
I started my period when I was 12. I started birth control when I was 15. I started taking birth control pills continuously when I was 18. I am now 25 and I have only had about 10 periods in the last seven years, all voluntarily. No breakthrough bleeding, no spotting, no PMS, no cramps, no breast swelling, no feeling inhuman for seven days a month, no "sexless" days (my husband loves that!).
No more second-rate games because of period pains and bloating; no more walking around in a haze in some Third-World city because of PMS induced ADD. As an athlete and an avid traveler I have the only thing I ever wanted - 100 percent performance, seven days a week, 365 days of the year!
P.S. I am so glad that you feature menstrual cups on your site! [Click on a history of the cup.] More women need to be made aware of their existence. They are a godsend and the best alternative in the world to pads and tampons. Not only are they extremely cost effective, they work better than any tampon I've tried and they're really comfortable once you get used to them. If you must have a period you must throw out your pads and tampons and switch to a menstrual cup!
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
I am not going to say I enjoy the cramps or the uncontrollable outbursts of tears., much less the cravings for everything sweet and everything salty, all at the same time. But I do love that I get my period. I began getting my period in second grade or so (I was ~7). I got it normal every month until the summer before eighth grade, when I stopped getting it completely. Found out I had PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome] and had been on some form of low-dose birth control since the middle of ninth grade just so I could get a period. I am a sophomore in college now and I can get my period regularly, on my own now. I am back on birth control - for, well, only birth control reasons because I am now sexually active and practicing safely.
It's a good feeling knowing that I can get it regularly on my own now, though.
I love my period. I love the fact that I am healthy. I would give anything in the world to give other women the ability to feel how I do, mentally, when I have my period. I am on top of the world. I have debilitating cramps some months and nice easy flows other months, but always happy - no matter what. I embrace my body, my health and my cycles. I recently started making my own menstruating pads. I like washing them, even - it just feels so good to be a woman. I made these for me, for my own natural cycles, and I am not ashamed of it!!!
- Proud and Unashamed from Upstate New York
After reading an article in Maclean's Magazine [more here] in Canada, and visiting this Web site - what is happening with the world?!
I have to admit that since age 15, until now, age 51 and menopausal at last, I did not always enjoy having a "period." Although, since it started late, I was very anxious for it to begin, it very quickly lost stature as "special guest" and was downgraded to "nuisance feature." I have had the messy accidents some other readers write about, wearing white pants or shorts was always a risk for me because of heavy periods. The only times I was truly happy to have a period were when I knew I didn't want to be pregnant, especially if it was overdue, but then when it came along I jumped for joy. I did worry when I didn't have a period for two years from age 19-21 after being on The Pill from age 16. It also took me a long time to get pregnant, once I got married, after one earlier ectopic pregnancy (22) and two miscarriages (at age 32, and 34). A period was a useful marker or timekeeper, as the months went by between pregnancies. I did have two lovely children at age 36 and 38 and didn't miss having a period while I was nursing full time.
However, suppressing this completely natural, normal human function smacks of medieval superstitious fear of the female body! Something I am trying to overcome in myself.
Ladies, if your periods are that extremely uncomfortable, and make you ill, there must be a reason. Get therapy, get extra sunlight, get hormone treatments, get help! Thank goodness, for most of us it's just the mess and inconvenience we don't like, and perhaps there is a hidden desire to want to function like "men" all year round, with no days off. Actually, as mother of two teens and wife of a business man, I have to say that putting my feet up for three days a month would be a blessing, not an inconvenience (like in the book, The Red Tent). As for PMS - though I was never suicidal, it began to really bug me in my 40s when it lasted up to two weeks - I finally went to see a therapist for help with anger and depression, and as a side effect, my PMS started to wane.
Then I came across Dr. Christiane Northrup's "Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom," and began to understand menstruation and PMS in a new light. My emotional irritability and anger issues (and low times) were messages from my body's wisdom - I wasn't paying attention to important things like my own creativity, and needing time to be alone. I needed to listen to my own intuition, highly sensitive at that time of the month. It was time to slow down, and stop being the one who does everything for everybody. I now see my 40s as a time of awakening - along with the increasingly acute pre-menopausal symptoms, increased bleeding, PMS, insomnia, etc. - it was time to start taking care of myself, no longer able to carry on as superwoman.
In this world of male corporate culture, where most women work outside the home, it is difficult to take time for oneself as a woman without feeling like a "whiner" and complainer. But I thank the universe for books like Northrup's, as well as The Red Tent and Da Vinci Code for waking me up to the power of the female body and the feminine side of the creative power. And for awakening an awareness that the "curse" can be nursed back to health.
We need to look within, women, get in tune with ourselves, with our bodies, and harmonize with our cycle, not fight it. Start trusting your inner messenger system.
- A menopausal mom in Montreal, Canada
(PS: My 13-year-old daughter hasn't started hers yet, but I intend to celebrate it, and give her a menstrual basket of goodies, as well as tell her my menstrual story)
If I were reasonably certain that the side effects would be minimal, yes, I would.
I don't say this because I'm ashamed of being female. To say that menstruating makes me female is like saying that being kicked in the balls makes someone male. Women who've hit menopause or gotten hysterectomies are still female, men who are lucky enough to go through their whole lives unkicked are still men.
I'm not saying this because society has told me that menstruation makes me weak. Society hasn't told me that. Okay, so society is filled with "time of the month" jokes. It's also filled with blonde jokes, gay jokes, Democrat jokes, etc. They all exist for the sake of humor, not for the sake of passing on deep, philosophical truths. Unless they're specifically said to be nasty and hurtful, then I see no point in taking them seriously. Outside of the jokes, society has told me how my body works, why it works that way, and that tampons can cause [toxic] shock. To this end, I use pads instead. Big whoop. (Actually, in a nice twist of irony, sex ed left most of the girls in my class longing for their period as a sign of womanhood and looking eagerly forward to it. I thought they were crazy. As soon as they actually HAD one, they all agreed with me.)
I don't say this because menstruating is annoying and messy. Cleaning toilets is annoying and messy, but I have no problems doing it.
I will even go so far as to admit that PMS has some benefits for me. I'm a writer and an artist and every month, shortly before I start menstruating, I get a kick of inspiration and either start a new story or three or start churning out line drawings. The problem with this is that I'm inevitably half way through writing something when the cramps kick in and that's that. The story can languish half finished on my hard drive for months before I finish it, if I ever do, and naturally enough PMS NEVER gives me the inspiration to pick up a pre-started story. It's actually rather irritating, now that I think about it.
My problem with menstruating is simple: it hurts. It hurts a lot. When I cramp, I do it from my stomach to the bottoms of my feet. I have no energy. On top of that it's not unusual for me to get a low-grade fever along with the pain. It's like going through a monthly bout of the flu. Perhaps if I could call in sick from work because of this it would be more tolerable, but menstruation ISN'T a disease and so it isn't treated like one despite the fact that for some women it's just as debilitating. My roommate used to have to take a day off from classes (which meant lying about chronic migraine issues) to be curled up in a little pained ball. My friend used to pass out in the shower on the first day of hers, before she was bleeding heavily enough to tell. I don't care who you are, but the possibility of cracking your head open on the faucet is a health hazard. Then there are women out there who barely cramp at all. People tend to look at them, or women with a high pain tolerance, and go "well they're doing it, why can't the rest of you?" Because we'd rather curl up in little balls on the nearest comfy surface and die. Thank you.
I'm not going to say that every woman out there should get rid of their menstrual cycle if possible. There are women out there who are damn proud of their ability to keep functioning when it feels like they're being gutted, and they can keep right on being proud. However, unless they're going to offer to work all of my shifts for me, take my pills, wash my undies, etc., I don't need them telling me what a gift my ovaries are. Menstruation is something I will survive, but I will never celebrate it. In fact, I will spend one week a month wishing for a sex change.
And I realize you probably didn't need an essay on the subject, but those are my general thoughts at the moment, followed swiftly by "damnit, time for another dose of ibuprofen."
Thank you for your time,
I would never ever opt to stop menstruating! The feeling of warmth that comes out of your own body, that in a different circumstance would cradle your baby. That feeling of power, that potential for life is coming from you. I love having a period. I cry at the pain, but after it's finished, I am proud for getting through it.
First off - great Web site! How cool that someone has thought to collect and archive so many artifacts relating to menstruation. And even cooler that a man has seen fit to do this, and do it with the utmost dignity - thanks for your hard work.
I notice you ask women if they'd stop having a monthly period, if given the choice. My answer would have to be a most definitive YES. I'm 38 years old and I have no children. I won't ever be having children of my own. For 25 years I've spent 3-7 days out of every month experiencing anything from a high level of discomfort to excruciating pain, almost always accompanied by excessive bleeding which, in recent years, this has meant having to resort to wearing adult diapers during my periods (traditional menstrual pads not doing the job.) Ever since I first started menstruating, I've been able to count on spending at least one day a month in bed with such severe cramps and headache that school, work - even a walk in the park - are impossible. I can't think of a good reason NOT to forego migraine headaches, debilitating cramps and muscle aches, the expense of buying pads and adult undergarments (they are VERY expensive), extreme mood swings, and the stress which comes with my period every month.
For the record, I'm 38 years old and American. I grew up in a family culture where menstruation was always discussed openly, without shame or embarrassment.
Thanks again for compiling and maintaining such a fascinating online exhibit.
I found your Web site by searching "Percocet Painful Menstruation." I have just gone through days of hell again this month. Felt suicidal, sleep preventing pain, heavy flow. I just dread this freaking monthly curse. I am taking evening primrose oil 3 x day, MacaSure, and Udo's Oil all in hope of keeping my hormones in check. I took three extra-strength Advil when I dragged my sorry butt out of bed this morning and finally turned to Percocet this afternoon. This must stop! I could handle a few times a year, but every 3 weeks? This is just cruel.
I am 40 years old and I smoke, so I understand that birth control pills are not an option for me.
There are so many theories regarding the cause and I am confused as hell.
**** in Canada
Just wanted to add my comment to your site.
First of all, it's great to come across a site like this, because I thought I was one of the few people in the world who has periods that last at least 7 days a month, and now I know I'm not alone!
Secondly, I came across this site while trying to find out why my female (desexed) cat almost has to be surgically removed from my lap when I have my periods - I still haven't found anything on this, though I know the rumour goes that animals are more attracted to you at this time of the month - any tips, anyone? (The male cat, also desexed, also likes to be closer to me than he usually is at this time of the month.)
In answer to your question, No, I wouldn't stop menstruating.
Like a lot of people, I started my periods when I was 11. Unfortunately, I was in boarding school, in a 60-bed dorm, when I woke up and my sheets and my body from the waist down were soaked in red!
The day only proceeded to get more embarrassing, but I don't think there's enough space on this site for me to go into details, so I won't! They were regular from the very first time, 10 days long - and HEAVY! Cramps like you would not believe. They didn't make pads thick enough, and super tampons had to be changed every hour - even then, I'd started bleeding into the pad I was wearing 'just in case.' I also remember the smell! I also think that's when I became anaemic.
My mother decided to try homeopathic remedies, but the one month I tried them, I had a second period start three days after the first one ended, so that was TWENTY days that month of bleeding!
The most blissful day of my life was the day I discovered The Pill, and I was on it for about 8 years. No side-effects, LOVED the convenience of having regular periods every 28 days, and a really light flow. (No anaemia either - I'm a blood donor, so I know.)
Then I started forgetting to take The Pill everyday, and I knew my body was telling me it was time to stop. Fought the decision for about a year, since I remembered what my periods had been like, but my body wouldn't give up, so I finally stopped, in January 2004.
I was dreading it, but, now that my body has gotten over it, I realize that The Pill helped me get more in tune with my monthly cycle. I KNOW when my period is going to start - at least partly because I keep an eye on a calendar! ;) - and because I am more aware of the changes within me at different times of the month.
I love having all that extra energy (and insomnia) just before my periods start - and that nesting urge, since it's the only time the house gets a really good clean. I feel more creative, more productive, and more focused just before and during my periods, more centred, more balanced, more in tune with the world, and less easily upset - perhaps to make up for being such a shit to people just before they start!
I'm 33, about to turn 34, and I have no desire to have children. I've known I didn't want children since my early twenties, and often thought of having a hysterectomy. But my mother had an early hysterectomy, and I saw the changes it wrought in her body and her personality, and I don't want that to happen to me.
I've also come full-circle now, from hating and fearing my periods to accepting them and being more aware of myself throughout my entire cycle.
Perhaps I'm fine with my periods now because they're nowhere near as bad as they used to be - or my attitude to having them has changed, which has made the difference. My periods are now 7, sometimes 8 days long, still heavy, but the bad cramps only strike every few months (and sex really helps to get rid of them, if you have a partner who isn't turned off by menstrual blood).
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your site. Feel free to cut out bits of this if you need to!
I'm almost 34, born in India, grew up in Australia, been working in non-English speaking countries for the past several years, in third-world to first-world contexts, and now know that Tampax binds the world together! [She contributed the story on the humor page about the tribulations of her gay friend buying her Tampax to bring to Mexico.]
Yes and No. I have tried The Pill and Depo-Provera for birth control purposes but liked Depo for the fact that I hardly had a period. Since I have been off it since 2003 I have not had a regular period every month. Most of the time I go longer than 35-40 days between periods, which some of you would think is great, only I don't because i am afraid of accidents and it's hard to plan vacations.
Also, I am very open with my two girls 6 and 8 when they have asked me why I am bleeding there. I have told them that is something that happens to all girls at a certain age and they become a woman and it helps them be ready to have babies, without going into too much detail that will only scare them or confuse them. I also tell it like it is to my husband who after 10 years still gets grossed out when I say "I started my period." But when he wants sex he isn't shy to say "Are you still on it?"
As to my answers, Yes, I would like to stop it for young girls. I have friends that have started at 8 years old and that is just too young. My 8-year-old is starting with mood swings and saying that her tummy feels funny at a certain time each month and all the Internet sites and books I have read said that she may start any time now. If there was a way girls wouldn't get it until 16-17 years old and a safe and effective way I would be all for it. I agree that periods are a pain and can be messy (I have had my share of embarrassing accidents and days I couldn't do gym or go swimming). I don't think i would give them up totally, just lessen them in some way. Also I just wish I could prevent having to put my girls or any girls on the birth control pill so as not to worry about having a 12/13-year-old or any age girl, not ready to have a baby, get pregnant.
Mother of two - dreading the day I hear "Mom, I started my period!"
Would I stop my periods? In a heartbeat. I started late (around 16) and have never been particularly regular. I began taking the Pill at age 19 and took it to age 26. From age 26 to 31 tried to become pregnant, with no success - had been told by doctors that my fertility was "suspect." After resigning myself to childlessness, became pregnant at age 32. The pregnancy was uber-complicated, ending at 24 weeks. I developed severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome [a variety of preeclampsia] and nearly died. My son spent 4 months and 5 days in the hospital. I begged for a hysterectomy while undergoing the emergency c-section that saved both our lives but was refused (I don't understand the logic behind this refusal - I was DYING at the time and any subsequent pregnancy will likely have the SAME EFFECT!) It's now three years later; my son is healthy and wonderful but my periods are messy, painful, and debilitating. I have the same problem as many contributors to the "stop my period?" page - extreme flow soaking through super-sized tampons and pads; messy leakage to clothing; and even overflowing the cup (and yes, I empty it frequently). The worse part for me, though, is the fear that despite hubby's vasectomy I may become pregnant again. This "reproductive ability" is not a joyous thing for me - it is a life-threatening fear. If I could remove that fear from my life, I would jump at the chance.
****, age 34, from suburban Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A.); married, one child
Ten years ago I would have said yes.
And I took Depo-Provera and didn't menstruate and I was happier in my little co-dependent workaholic world.
Then I got therapy and I decided I had to join the real world again and that meant dealing with my body honestly. If I knew it would take me eight years of unfolding knowledge and understanding I don't know if I would have gone there. Now I realise it's going take the rest of my life -'cause that's my job!
I love having a menstrual cycle now - I have a crazy high libido for 10 days (gimme gimme gimme) and two days of (git git git) and my partner cycles with me - he knows where he's at because of where I'm at. Good to lead, good to bleed.
Yeah, it's heavy. Yeah, I get migraines but I'm learning.
(This site gave me the Keeper - yahoo!)
**** - Perth, Australia, 40, no kids, one cat, good man, heavy flow, 23-day cycle
I was saddened to read the very negative comments regarding menstruation and women's willingness to stop it at any cost including major surgery and artificial hormones.
I have also suffered from horrible periods accompanied by PMS so bad I would entertain suicidal thoughts. I knew these thoughts were hormonally induced so I was able to keep them in check.
The only true relief I got and that allowed me to be a normal human being throughout the month was reflexology treatments. I, myself, am now a reflexologist and can attest to its incredible healing abilities. I strongly recommend to any woman suffering because of her period to seek NATURAL treatment, be it reflexology, acupuncture, herbs or a combination thereof. You don't have to suffer. There is help. (Proper diet and exercise help, too.)
I am 41, the mother of four young boys (3 1/2 - 11 1/2) and do not want any more children and look forward to menopause. I have used natural homeopathic progesterone cream for some of the symptoms I've experienced, and after being diagnosed as progesterone deficient in relation to the estrogen. For more information regarding your hormones I suggest looking at Dr. Lee's work at www.johnleemd.com
I am really quite saddened by reading this page, and coming to the realisation that so many women fight with their bodies every month. (Of course there are extreme cases for any situation, and I don't begrudge any woman her choice for her own body.)
I'm not particularly excited by the idea of having my period, and if I could somehow rewrite the existence of humanity to include a lack of menstruation, then I would be happy to work it that way. But as probably best expressed by the poster with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome [scroll way down], having a period *is* something which helps a woman to identify herself as being female and fertile, and I was saddened and moved to read that this woman's lack of menstruation left her with a feeling of being somewhat less of a woman.
Unfortunately the process of menstruation has also historically represented "original sin", and further resulted in the labeling of women as unclean and degenerate; this is something which seems to have permeated the female psyche, making the process into something dirty and shameful, which needs to be hidden, "dealt with", and minimised as much as possible. This is why, as a feminist, I feel it's important for me to say that with humans existing as they are, and menstruation being part of my natural being, that I would definitely not choose to stop menstruating. As others have said, it is a natural barometer of how I am treating my body, but for me it is also of psychological importance to accept all that I am, and not to alter this in order to conform to our societies' now *very unnatural* ideas about what is "natural".
Thank you for your very interesting site,
Please do not print my name with this letter!
I got my first period when I was 11, and I was so ashamed I lied to my mom and my grandmom about it. I stuffed my underwear with wads of toilet paper rather than ask my mom to buy me pads. I don't know why I was so ashamed. Maybe I didn't want to grow up. I fought my mom over wearing bras, too.
I became less ashamed of my period but always hated it, and as soon as I went away to college I got on The Pill to get rid of the cramps, breakouts, etc. This was before they had Seasonale but my gynecologist told me just to skip the placebos. That never worked for me, though. I would get breakthrough bleeding. The Pill gave me migraines too, and I felt a little bad being on it because I'm Catholic. So I don't take it anymore.
I never really paid any attention to the changes I go through during my cycle, until I got off The Pill and bought the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler. Then I realized where those monthly bursts of creative (and romantic!) energy are coming from! I stopped worrying about infections every month when my fluid changed. Learning about natural family planning really helped me understand my body.
I don't like the cramps or the insomnia or the diarrhea or the pimples on my chin or the headaches that come with having a period, but I can live with them. I like having "mini-seasons" every month. My body has its own way of measuring time. I don't want children right now, but I like being fertile. It's my own secret and kind of a turn on to know that my body could have a baby if I wanted to. And I like having a reason to lie in bed with a cup of tea, a hot water bottle, a good book and a chocolate bar every now and then.
I am 25 and married to a man who is not at all disgusted or afraid of any aspect of my womanliness, and I love that about him.
P.S. Although I am a Catholic and I don't use it myself, I believe that every woman should be able to have safe, convenient, low-cost birth control if she wants it.
Well, I already have stopped! I did it using Depo-Provera, and it has saved me hundreds of dollars and peace of mind. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Not only would I, but I have! I have not had a period (or more significant in my case, have not had an episode of PMS) for four months, ever since I started taking Alesse continuously. I don't intend to have another period.
Too bad it took this long for me to find this solution - I'm 49 - because severe PMS has disrupted my entire life. Prior to starting the Alesse I was taking an anti-depressant for six years. I suppose it saved my life because it prevented me from actually becoming suicidal once a month. However, it did nothing for the extraordinary breast pain, depression, tearfulness, bone-crushing fatigue, feelings of unreality, confusion and emotional withdrawal that I underwent every month for up to ten days before my period.
My period itself was nothing. I'm free and I'm not going back!
In a New York minute I would. I'm done having kids, I'm not even 40 and I have how many years of this disgusting mess to deal with? Why? It's nothing but a nasty pain in the rear end.
Charlotte, North Carolina (U.S.A.)
Hi, I am 43 years old. I don't want to have more children, three are enough. Most of the time when I have my period, pain and coagules are part of these days. I am wondering if some pill can stop it? I will appreciate, all kind of information you can give me. My doctor prescribed me Cerazete. I started few days ago, let's see if it works or not, as I know the chance to get rid of it is about 20 percent. Reading your Web site, I realized that many women have the same problem. When will you know about the new pill?????
I am 28, married with two kids. I took BC [birth control] pills throughout my teen years to avoid getting pregnant, which failed once, but that's another issue. I started my first period at the age of 12. I remember being so excited, but couldn't figure out how to use those damn tampons! After that first, great experience, I suffered horribly every month with cramping, although, I must say, I never really experienced PMS. (I consider myself lucky for that.) I even remember going to the office at school every month, literally thinking I was dying, to lay on the couch in the vice principal's office doubled up.
Most embarrassing was the surprise period I got during class once at 13. No one told me, and by the time I got to the bathroom and pulled down my pants, just to pee, I was horrified to discover blood down to my knees, had soaked through my acid wash jeans. Ugh!
When I met hubby, I was on Pills, and we decided to have baby number one. You know how they tell you it may take months, sometimes even years to get pregnant? Well, not me. I quit taking the Pill, had a period and didn't have another for nine months! Then, when I was postpartum, (sorry *graphic*) I passed a clot the size of a grapefruit and haemorrhaged.
Lovely. After those wonderful six weeks, I went on Depo-Provera. Loved it! I had one period that lasted four weeks, not so pleasant. They gave me a dose of estrogen, and that was it! Magically, my "friend" disappeared!
Great! I loved it, I could have sex whenever I wanted, no more cramps, no more messy monthlies, just enjoyed the next 12 months. Then we decided to have another baby. So in February I went off the shot. Expecting months to get pregnant, I never even had a period. Just didn't ever get one. My son was born in December. Whoa! So, after he was born, I went right back on the shot. That was almost five years ago today.
I came off the Depo October 5th of this year and went straight onto the patch. In the five years since I've had my son, I had about 3-4 mini periods. That's it. Why, you ask, would I choose to get my period back?
Well, ladies (and men too, I suppose) I am sick of pumping my body full of chemicals and drugs. I want my body to be more natural. However, having said that, I am currently experiencing my second period since stopping the shot, and am wondering myself if it was such a great idea to come off of it. We (hubby and I) made the decision to get me off of the shot, together, after discussing the things that the Depo might be doing to my body (bone loss, glucose intolerance) and that he would get his snip snip done. NOT ME! So, the Evra is a temporary thing until his test comes back with no swimmers.
I must say, during my menses-free years, I felt quite free. I never had to worry like my friends, mother, mother-in-law, etc. about swimming, vacations, inconvenient surprises, messes or any of the like. Even though now, I never really had any problems with the shot, just the potential for long term problems. Now, the two periods I have had, have been painful, messy and I just feel like crap. I did notice thought, that now that I have estrogen coursing through my body again, I have an extremely high sex drive, compared to when I was on the shot, and I feel much more feminine.
Even though I look forward to my body being natural again, I really miss my care-free days. We have Christmas parties coming up, and I already counted my weeks on the patch, and barely sneak by without my period in those days. I find myself worrying about accidents and leaks, and wonder if the rest of my week will be like this too!
So, would I stop menstruating if I could? Well, I've been there and done that, liked it but at the same time, didn't. Perhaps when Seasonale comes available to Canada, I will be the first person on my doctor's step requesting it! I hate my period. I always have. It's gross and it hurts. I may just decide that I would rather take the Pills and that I can sacrifice the "au naturel" thing to eliminate some or all of my pain.
Yes, I would definitely stop my period if I had the choice.
I actually have not had a period for a couple of years because I was on the Depo-Provera shot, until I found out a few months ago that it is not recommended to be used for longer than 2 years. I was on it for at least 4 years. I had a bone density test done and my doctor informed me that my bones looked like those of a 50-year-old so I had to stop taking it. I have to take The Pill now and will probably have to have my periods at least four times a year.
I hated having my period. I never knew when it was going to come. The pain and cramps were horrible, I tried everything from heating pads to Pamprin, nothing seemed to do much. I hated not being able to do the activities I normally enjoyed. I relate to all the stories of pain and misery.
To those women who would rather have their period: go ahead and enjoy it.
For those of us who would not to have it: I hope they do enough research to find out the possible side effects of not menstruating.
Not having a period is wonderful!
I'm an 18-year-old college student. Female. From the Midwestern U.S. of A. (Yeehaw. Corn belt living anyone?) I've been on and off of birth control for several years, but last year I starting using the Depo-Provera shot. I used to get absolutely awful raging periods. I haven't had to deal with the Mt. Vesuvius routine in almost year. Lately, though, I've been thinking about how much less feminine I feel without it. I may rage about it when it's here, but it's kind of cleansing. I am coming to realize that it's one of those special, wonderful and uniquely female things. It also seems to help me deal with emotional build-up. I used to be able to at least get my feelings out once a month, but now it just seems like I hold it all back. So in answer to your question, no, I wouldn't. And after this shot has run its course, I may never go back on Depo again.
NEXT earlier group of your comments