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A blog from the women of GladRags and our customers too.

Discussions on menstruation, environmental living, women's health, relevant politics, and other interesting matters - we like to go with the flow around here.

cherries print

Love our latest print? Help us name it and you could win a GladRags Day Pad in this color! To enter, comment on this blog post with your suggestions (as many as you’d like!) by Friday, July 25th.

We’ll pick our favorite name on Friday AND add the print to the site–so even if you don’t win, you can still nab a cherry-print PantylinerDay Pad, or Night Pad on GladRags.com!

Please note: when commenting, you must log in or enter your email address when prompted — if you leave a comment as a ‘guest’ we won’t be able to contact you if you’ve won!

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

This week’s Period Piece was inspired by this reddit thread, titled “What’s something you didn’t realize for years members of the opposite sex do?” (link is NSFW, unless you work at GladRags), which was chock-full of confusion about the menstrual cycle. It brought back my own memories of middle school, and the rampant misconceptions boys had about how periods worked.

middle-school-myths

For example, I distinctly remember sitting in gym glass and talking about periods with a few friends. One boy said something about tampons that didn’t make sense, so we asked him to explain. “You know, ” he said. “When you pull the string, the tampon just shoots up in there, right?” He was beet red by the time we finished explaining that the string is not a trigger that propels the tampon forward.

Here’s a few of our favorite menstruation-related comments from reddit–sadly, some of these seem to have persisted LONG past middle school! We’d comment, but we can’t stop laughing:

  • “In my freshman year of college, one of my guy friends was horrified to hear that girls’ periods last a week. He thought we have symptoms for a week and then let all the period blood out at once- like going to the bathroom. He thought that pads and tampons were for if you knew you wouldn’t have enough time to go to the toilet to let it out.”
  • “Took me the longest time to figure out why laundry detergent ads bragged about getting out grass stains and blood. I’m like, you gotta hit the grass pretty hard to draw blood…”
  • “Until I was about a sophomore in HS, I didn’t know whether girls bled out of their vaginas or their nipples. Sex ed classes always said “privates” so I wasn’t sure which set. A reason that made me more confused was I saw my friend lean over and I saw some toilet paper/gauze looking stuff in her bra, so I thought she was on her period… guess she was just stuffing her bra.”
  • “I worked with a 25 year old gentleman, let’s call him Paul because that’s his real name, who believed every woman in the world had their period at the same time. When he told me this I burst out laughing because I imagined that he saw women’s period’s as a werewolf change brought on by a full moon or something.”
  • “My husband thought for years that cotton balls were a feminine hygiene product. I’m still vague on exactly how he thought we used them.”

What’s the silliest misconception you’ve heard or even believed about periods? Let us know in the comments!


About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.

Hi! I’m Iris, and I’m interning at GladRags this summer. I just finished my freshman year at Willamette University in Salem, OR. I love running and spend most of time eating, sleeping, and figuring out what to do with my life.

I love GladRags. I love my Moon Cup. My period has become a much more pleasant, carefree experience since switching to reusables.

Here are some highlights:

  • I don’t need to count disposables before packing for trips, fret about running out, run to the store at inconvenient hours, etc.
  • I can take far fewer trips to the bathroom to change a pad or tampon
  • There is less smell and itchiness
  • My recurrent yeasty beasties have gone the way of the dodo
  • I have (necessarily) come to have a better relationship with my body and menstrual fluid
  • Taking out the trash after my period has become a ritual of less guilt and more pride
  • I’m now part of the elite crew of forward-thinking, body-loving women who know what’s up and have chosen to reuse

BONUS: the Moon Cup stays in place better than tampons when I’m running (hooray for suction).

GladRags sells some great products, but it’s more than that — it’s a great company, too. GladRags is a certified Benefit Corporation, a new kind of business that is required to focus not only on profit, but on social and environmental impact, accountability, and transparency. We might know that things like excessive pollution, child labor, slave labor, theft, unsafe working conditions, and lying to and misleading consumers and employees are wrong, but that doesn’t stop companies all over the world from doing these things.

That’s the biggest reason that I wanted to come intern at GladRags this summer. Everyday, we read news about how corrupt corporations are basically ruining our lives and our planet; it can be depressing. But GladRags is part of a new crop of companies that are changing the way they do business, and thereby changing the world. Benefit Corporations are certified by a nonprofit called B Lab. There is a 50+ page assessment that all B Corps go through to be certified and re-certified as a Benefit Corporation, which gives them a score in the areas of Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment, and an overall score.

I am currently working on a plan to make GladRags’ already great score a little greater. We are working on things like:

  • getting our new Advisory Board set up
  • making sure our suppliers follow our Code of Conduct to ensure safe, fair working conditions all the way down the supply chain
  • giving our employees the best possible feedback and guidance on their performance, career, and skills development
  • and finding better ways to get feedback from all of our stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, and our local community.

 

Iris DowdAbout the author of this post:
Iris Dowd runs Cross Country and Track and studies Politics and Economics at Willamette University in Salem, OR; she also loves playing with her dogs, cats, and chickens.

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

Recently we stumbled upon a folder chock full of old publicity photos for GladRags… and they are AMAZING. Remember the days when you actually got film developed instead of just uploading the picture to your laptop? These were those days:

gladrags 90s 3gladrags 90s 2

I don’t know why some of these are in black and white… they’re only from the 90s! But I love those bottom left inserts on the top image: they look like Pendleton blankets! But by far my very favorite photo is this one:

gladrags 90s

The flowers, the glowy purple background, the cotton… it’s one of the few times where I’ve actually said out loud “I just can’t even.” I love it that much.

Were you a GladRags fan in the 90s? Were you born in the 90s? Comment and let us know! Meanwhile, we’re off to rock some brown lipstick and listen to the Spice Girls.

About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.

a new cycle bookcoverIn celebration of the launch of A New Cycle, our period-positive guide to a healthier period, we’re introducing you to the contributors! We hand-picked our favorite women’s health experts to write chapters for A New Cycle on their area of specialty. Read on to get know this week’s featured contributor, or click here get a free preview of the book when you sign up for our newsletter!

 

 

 

Meet Gabriela Delano-Stephens and Dr. Emily Lipinski, c0-authors of Chapter 4: Hormonal Balance for Less PMS and Chapter 6: Detoxification for Less PMS.

Why is menstruation important?

It is the basis of female fertility. It is a measure of health and vitality and it connects us with the rhythms of the earth and moon.

Why do women need to know about hormonal balance and detoxification?

With such a huge amount of toxins in our environment these days, our bodies are going into overdrive to maintain optimal detoxification pathways. Excess hormones are detoxified through the liver and colon and if these pathways are not clear hormones, that are no longer needed, can be re absorbed into the system, throwing off the delicate hormonal balance. This is why frequent detoxification is so important!

We believe it is important for woman to look and feel their best.  Hormones are at the core of the menstrual cycle physiology. Once a woman gains more knowledge about the changes taking place in her body each month it can be both empowering and enlightening.  Working toward achieving hormonal balance is an integral part of a woman’s health and wellness.

Do you have a personal story about menstruation you’d like to share?

Emily still remembers the day she first discovered she was a woman, and she felt terrified! She thought that it had come too soon (she was in grade 5). It was painful and very uncomfortable. Additionally, she felt embarrassed talking about it and kept her feelings and questions about her period to herself.

Once in her 20s, her cramps and pre-menstrual acne worsened. The oral birth control pill helped, but came with numerous side effects that she just wasn’t comfortable with. Throughout her life experience and education, she now realizes that although menstruation can be uncomfortable it brings womanhood, fertility and a cycle to connect us with the rhythms of the earth. Additionally, there are foods, herbs and vitamins that can significantly help woman with their menstrual cycles and there are many effective alternatives other than the birth control pill!

Looking back, Emily wishes that there was a resource or open database where she could learn more about the changes that take place in the female body find helpful tips and tricks on how to have a healthier period and balanced hormones. Periodmakeover.com was born out of both Gabriela’s and Emily’s desire to help women everywhere gain better understanding of their cycles and provide useful information to achieve hormonal balance.

What kind of menstrual protection do you use?

Gabriela always uses a DivaCup and, on occasion, GladRags. Emily uses GladRags or LunaPads and in a pinch will opt for organic cotton disposable pads.

emilylipinskiDr. Emily Lipinski, ND, HBSc, and Gabriela Delano-Stephens, RHN, BSc, of periodmakeover.com, are both food lovers and passionate about bringing the body back to health through natural remedies wherever possible. They started their website to bring awareness to women about the importance of attaining health through natural methods to balance hormones and reduce premenstrual symptoms.

Dr. Lipinski graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario, and is a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors. She practices in the greater Toronto area. She strongly believes in addressing the root cause of a medical issue and using natural therapies either alone or in conjunction with conventional western medicine. She has a passion for women’s health, including premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and antiaging. She is committed to helping her patients feel great and look their best.

gabrieladelanostephensGabriela is a holistic nutritionist and loves many aspects of food, from growing food and preparing meals to knowing how it works in the body to create optimum health. She works with clients from around the world, helping them to achieve their health goals.

Gabriela is also passionate about yoga and is a certified yoga teacher. Yoga caught her attention with its power to calm the mind, heal the body, and release emotional tension as it taps into creative energy and allows us to transcend self-doubt.

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

 

There is so much fascinating stuff going on in this ad, I barely know where to start. This is one of the first ads for a disposable pad, so there’s lots of references about how much easier this disposable product is than its reusable counterparts. Granted, in those days no one had a washing machine or cute cloth pads with wings that snapped around their undergarments — when you were on the rag, you were literally on the rag.

I’m also loving their insistence on how scientific this new invention is, and how easy it is to buy: ready-wrapped! just ask the clerk! How different things must have been back then (see also: “women of the better classes have adopted it).

It’s really interesting too how they never say what the product is, but we all totally know. So tell us: do you fear losing your daintiness? at times?

About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.

a new cycle bookcoverIn celebration of the launch of A New Cycle, our period-positive guide to a healthier period, we’re introducing you to the contributors! We hand-picked our favorite women’s health experts to write chapters for A New Cycle on their area of specialty. Read on to get know this week’s featured contributor, or click here get a free preview of the book when you sign up for our newsletter!

 

 

 

Meet Nicole Jardim, hormonal health expert and recipe contributor for A New Cycle!

Why is menstruation important?

Menstruation is our femininity, our identity and the definition of what it means to be a woman. Without it we would cease to exist as a civilization. I’d say that pretty much sums it up!

Why do women need to know about hormonal health?

Hormones are powerful chemical messengers that control virtually everything we feel and do, yet most of us have very little understanding of them. Here’s an analogy for ya: Many of us take our cars to the mechanic when there is a problem but we also take our bodies to the doctor in much the same way – with the hope that the doctor will “fix” the issue and we can get back to driving already.

What I’m trying to say is that we have moved so far away from what it means to understand our bodies. In order to address our current healthcare crisis, the first thing we need to do is get back in touch with the messages our bodies are sending us. About 90% of the women who come to me have no idea if or when they are ovulating, if their periods are regular, why they have cramps and other menstrual irregularities, what the birth control pill is actually doing to their bodies or how to prevent or achieve pregnancy naturally.

This is Hormonal Health 101 but no one is teaching it! However, in my experience, once women discover this information they are immediately hooked and want to learn more. The best part about this? They are empowered for life! They can recognize symptoms when they appear, have informed conversations with their doctors and make confident decisions about their bodies and their health forever.

Do you have a personal story about menstruation you’d like to share?

I’ll never forget going to the gynecologist at 17 because my period hadn’t come for three months. FYI: I was definitely not pregnant, in case you’re wondering ;-) I sat there explaining my symptoms and within 15 minutes she was writing a prescription for the birth control pill. Ah, if I’d known then what I know now…sigh.

On looking back, what most stands out to me is the fact that I had absolutely no idea how my body functioned or what I could possibly be doing to cause such problems. They say ignorance is bliss but I don’t buy it. Not having a basic understanding of how diet and lifestyle affected my hormonal health cost me years of expensive doctor and ER visits (I was once allergic to the UTI antibiotics a doctor had prescribed for me) along with a lot of agonizing about what was wrong with me.

While my experience is now part of my story and led me down the path of helping others, I do wish I’d had even a little knowledge about my hormones and my cycle back then. While I feel beyond blessed to be on this journey, I would have happily avoided a few of the bumps along the way.

What kind of menstrual protection do you use?

I sure have tried many menstrual protection products over the years! They’ve ranged from synthetic plastic products to the DivaCup and the soft cup. Now I use a combination of GladRags Day and Night cloth pads and when I’m traveling I use Maxim Hygiene 100% organic cotton pads, tampons and panty liners.

nicolejardimNicole is a women’s health coach and chief professional period fixer-upper at The Healthy Elements, the business she founded in 2010 to help women reclaim their hormonal health and feminine vitality naturally.

She is the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to heal their menstrual conditions in a fun and sassy way. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and continued her training with Dr. Sara Gottfried and Jessica Drummond, two renowned hormonal health experts.

Nicole passionately believes that all women should be active participants in their reproductive health, and she is dedicated to spreading this message. Nicole also co-hosts a radio show called The Period Party.

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

via Tressugar

via Tressugar

This 70s advertisement for New Freedom pads is truly the stuff of my nightmares.

About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.

a new cycle bookcoverIn celebration of the launch of A New Cycle, our period-positive guide to a healthier period, we’re introducing you to the contributors! We hand-picked our favorite women’s health experts to write chapters for A New Cycle on their area of specialty. Read on to get know this week’s featured contributor, or click here get a free preview of the book when you sign up for our newsletter!

 

 

 

Meet Andrea Shuman, author of Chapter 7: Menstruation in Ayurveda!

Why is menstruation important?

Menstruation is important because it binds us, as women, to the cycles of the earth and moon. Our monthly cycle cleanses our womb, allows us to refresh, renew, go within and contemplate. Our blood is a gift, keeping us in touch with our fertility, our overall health and reminding us when we need to slow down or reevaluate. Every month, we are gifted with the opportunity to know ourselves deeper and, if we really listen to our bodies, take the time to turn our focus inward and replenish our souls for the coming cycle.

What inspired you to write your chapter?

I was inspired to write about menstruation in Ayurveda because this is the venue through which I made peace with my own cycle and finally made my body healthy! Ayurveda shows us the difference between what is common and what is actually healthy. Ayurveda takes into consideration the seasons, the moon, the earth, the time of life and constitution of the woman to create an individual path to healing. I believe that women would be well served to read this chapter and explore more about how Ayurveda can help her repair and renew her cycles.

Too many women suffer and get too little relief from a western medicine model that uses synthetic hormones to help her ignore her cycles rather than heal them. Fertility issues are on a sharp rise in this country, as evidenced by the growing “fertility industrial complex” of drugs and procedures. Our menstrual cycle is the best place to start in determining obstacles to fertility and to begin the healing. The more that women use their cycles to connect to their body to get real and effective messages, the better luck we will have in reversing this sad trend of diminishing fertility.

As a young woman, I did not learn that my cycles were something to celebrate, but rather, something to suffer through or push away. It is my mission to convey to the young women of today that their bodies are sacred, intelligent and worth listening to.

Do you have a personal story about menstruation you’d like to share?

As a young woman, I suffered with cramping so severe that walking was a challenge. I was on prescription painkillers by the time I was 14, and on birth control pills before I was even sexually active to help “control” my periods. The painkillers dulled my senses and made me feel detached, and the birth control pills caused severe weight gain and mood swings (just what every teenager wants). I grew to “hate” my periods and often wished I did not have them at all!

A nurse practitioner then suggested, when I was 17, that I take the Depo Provera shot, to stop them entirely. I took the shot for one year, lost my cycles, lost my libido, and became depressed: It took more than a year after stopping the shots for my cycles to return. All through out my 20s I then had not only severe cramping but, as a result of my 2 years of absent menses, completely irregular cycles skipping months at a time, feeling plugged up and lethargic.

At 22 years old, I found Eastern medicine in the form of Acupuncture. I started addressing my diet and using herbs to clear out the stagnation and regulate my cycles. This helped tremendously, and clinched my feeling that Eastern medicine, with its 5000 years of experience in dealing with menstrual difficulties, was a better road for me than the experimental, drug-driven methods of the conventional OB/GYN methods.

In my late 20s, I found Ayurveda and was able to fine-tune my body and prepare for the conception of my child, using the ancient methods of Pancha Karma cleansing and good diet. I am happy to say that, through all the years of struggles with my reproductive organs, I am healed, the mother of a perfectly healthy child, and the caretaker of a happy, well functioning body and a smooth cycle! I am a true believer in Ayurveda and Eastern medicine to bring about balance in women’s health, and I now specialize in helping other women heal themselves completely and holistically!

What kind of menstrual protection do you use?

I got my first set of GladRags in my early 20s. While I went back and forth from organic disposables to reusable menstrual products and the “Instead Cup”, I now have a mix of Moonpads and GladRags (both are amazing companies from the very town I live in!).

AndreaAndrea Shuman is co-founder and co-owner of The Ahara Rasa Ayurvedic Center and has been in private practice for 17 years as a bodyworker and alternative health professional. Through her own life experience, Andrea was called to specialize her studies in Ayurvedic Medicine, herbs and bodywork for Women’s health. Andrea attended the California college of Ayurveda in Nevada City, CA from 2007 to 2010. Many years have been spent in the quest for knowledge of the body-mind and spirit connection. This quest has led to travels and practice around the world, finally settling in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

Ever wonder what the first tampon brand was? While women have been stuffing absorbent materials (including wool, moss, and softened papyrus) into their vaginas since Ancient Egypt, the first commercial brand on record appears to be Fax, an “internal sanitary napkin.”

Even in the 1930s manufacturers were featuring white swimsuits to sell menstrual products, it seems!

About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.