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Menstruation

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PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is a severe form of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) that affects between 2-5% of women. This disorder is commonly misdiagnosed as depression or bipolar disorder by OB/GYN’s, primary care doctors, and even psychologists and psychiatrists. Many of the symptoms are similar, but if your period brings about a serious depression each month, you might consider seeing a doctor for PMDD. While medication can be used to treat PMDD, many women are able to naturally treat symptoms by getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy and keeping close family or friends around for support during those difficult weeks.

Do you or anyone you know have PMDD? How do you treat it? Medicine, aromatherapy, or diet? We would love to know.

This post courtesy of The Period Store, where you can receive a monthly package full of art, goodies to help you feel happy during your period, and menstrual supplies including GladRags cloth pads and The Moon Cup.

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I looked into the Moon Cup as a solution for my monthly needs because I started having problems using pads and tampons. They were causing irritation and some really nasty itching. So I got the Moon Cup after a bit of research and some debating on if I should spend the money.

It has been 2 months since I purchased the product, and I can’t believe the difference. I love it! And honestly, the cost is worth not having to pay for products that leave you feeling nasty in the first place.

I actually tried the cup a few days before my first cycle in order to get used to how to remove and insert it. I’d recommend doing that for anyone who is new to the product. There is a slight learning curve on how is going to be best for you to work with it.

I’ve had no leakage at all, so no extra laundry, no stained underwear or outer clothes… I think I saved money just off laundry soap and bleach!

If you’re sitting the fence on this one, just take the jump. You won’t regret it.

- A Moon Cup fan in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Falan has a new 28-day e-course to help women everywhere have healthier, happy periods. We’ve tried it and think it’s an amazing source of wisdom and support. She’s generously offered access for one lucky GladRags fan — enter to win (an $84 value) at the bottom of the post!

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1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Hi, I’m Falan. I’m mostly a Mama to my three kiddos and a wife to my love. Family comes first over here; however, in the quiet moments of the night and spare moments, you’ll find me caretaking my online world over at falanstorm.com. This is where I write for women, in hopes of inspiring more freedom in their bodies and lives, encouraging enoughness, giving up perfection, and helping women understand the wise part of themselves and menstruation.

2. How did you begin doing what you do?

I suppose it’s always been a part of me. A particular lineage story of my childhood was likely the spark, and then the pre-teen years found me quite fascinated with menarche. My husband and I met and married very quickly and within 6 months decided to start a family. Giving birth and becoming a Mom was absolutely a pivotal moment that would later inspire this work too. I suppose it’s a culmination of my life and my life’s experiences, as well as my admiration for being a woman, combined with the pain of seeing so many women not living their full potential.

3. What is your goal in your work / what do you hope to accomplish with the women you work with?

My greatest hope is that they will feel enough, and feel a bit more free, as they learn to embrace all the stages and stories of their lives, live fully without perfection, and use their cyclical nature to govern their lives.

4. If you could tell our readers just one thing that would improve their menstrual cycles, what would it be?

One thing when so many come to my mind… The number one thing would be rest. Make time to rest. Far too many women exhaust themselves giving, giving, giving to everyone else, and then wonder why they explode into resentful and teary breakdowns. It doesn’t take much beyond a little effort to give back to yourself and slow down every so often.

But I would love to suggest a second thing, and not just because I’m on the GladRags site, but because I sincerely believe it. Switch to reusable menstrual products! Disposables are the culprit of vaginal infections, yeast infections, and a whole host of other concerns. They inhibit proper vaginal circulation, take over our landfills, and are a tremendous impact on waste. They are also costly, increase menstrual cramps, and expose our vulvas, vaginas, cervixes, and other reproductive organs to bleach and chemicals.

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Falan Storm is a devoted Mama to three, a loving wife to one, and a writer for women who want to feel free in their bodies. She lives in the beautiful Appalachian mountains, homeschooling, living life simply, and sharing ways to live a meaningful, feminine life at falanstorm.com 

We’re back with Jessica Kolahi, LAc, of Vitalize Acupuncture! In this video, Jessica explains estrogen dominance, a condition that many Western women suffer from without even knowing it. She’ll also tell you how to naturally balance your hormones for optimal health.

Questions for Jessica? Comment on this post for answers!

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.

Jessica Kolahi, LAc, of Vitalize Acupuncture explains pre-menstrual syndrome through the lens of Chinese Medicine. In this video, you’ll learn how to prevent PMS through self abdominal massage, diet, and herbs as well as how to alleviate cramps with acupressure. You’ll also find the answers to these common questions:

  • why do we get menstrual cramps?
  • how can you prevent cramps?
  • how can I alleviate cramps while they’re happening?
  • why do my breasts feel sore before my period?
  • are there herbal remedies to help with PMS?
  • does my diet affect my menstrual cycle?
  • are there foods I should avoid to prevent PMS?

More questions? Let us know! We’ll make another video to answer your specific questions.

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.

On one of the first Fridays after starting my internship, I was working at the GladRags HQ when I started my period.

It came as a surprise because I hadn’t had a period in about six months because of the birth control I was using. The timing could not have been better because I was able to choose from all of the GladRags my perfect reusable product (perks of being an intern).

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My very first Moon Cup!

I decided on the Moon Cup. It took about twenty minutes of me in an awkward position on the toilet to get it right.  The hardest part was keeping the cup folded long enough to have it sit high enough in me. It was a little frustrating in the beginning, but I reminded myself to just take a few breaths and relax and the process got a lot easier.

I left the bathroom with a strange feeling, and that feeling was nothing. I couldn’t feel the cup in me in the slightest, which was new for me because I always had issues with tampons.

It was like my first period all over again! I was so excited about being able to use the product for the first time. I texted my friends and my mom probably with way too much information. But I was feeling good. I was saving the environment. I was experiencing period positivity.

And then about two hours into it, the cramps set in and I was not-so-gently reminded of what it felt like to have a period.

But with the cup, having my period again just wasn’t that bad.

First, I had no leaks. I wore a GladRags pantyliner just in case, but even when I went on a big hike out to the beach and couldn’t get to a bathroom for about six hours, nothing ever left the cup.

Second, the whole process felt a lot cleaner than it did with tampons. Now I’m a little disgusted by tampons, thinking about what they do to my body and where they end up when I’m done with them.

The Moon Cup and I have been through three cycles now, and there have been no problems. I had to trim the stem because the cup doesn’t tend to fit high in me. I’ve told all my friends about it, and they’re excited to try the cup too. I’m positive that I will never go back to disposable products again.

I had a pretty great first experience with GladRags and the Moon Cup, but what about you? What was your first experience with reusable menstrual products like?

bronteAbout the author of this post:
is the summer intern at GladRags and attends Willamette University, studying politics, history, and women’s and gender studies. She is passionate about education, dance, and hiking with her dog.

One of my favorite parts about my internship here has been talking to people about GladRags. Mostly because I loved watching people’s reactions when they hear what GladRags is. When my friends and family ask me what I’m doing this summer, I got a little too excited to say “eco-friendly menstrual products,” “cloth pads,” “reusable menstrual cups,” or “period.” Basically all of my conversations went like this:

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Me: Hello, so and so! It’s good to see you. How are you doing?

Person: I’m doing well, thanks. How’s your summer going?

Me: It’s going really well. I’m working at a small business in Portland.

Person: That’s great! Where is it?

Me: It’s called GladRags. They make and sell eco-friendly menstrual products. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the menstrual cup or reusable cloth pads?

Person: No I haven’t, but that’s…interesting…

From there some people were actually interested, others carried on polite and awkward conversations about it, but most made a disgusted face and changed the subject.

As awkward as those conversations were, they reminded me that these taboos still exist. Yes, periods can be gross. But when we don’t talk about these issues, we contribute to the problems surrounding conversations about women’s bodies.

This internship opened my eyes to a whole new world and community for women, their periods, and environmentally conscious living. Periods represent a lot more than just a function of our bodies. It’s important that we don’t get embarrassed by our menstrual cycles or feel like we can’t talk about it, which is something GladRags works to bring to women and the community.

No matter who I was talking to, I wasn’t afraid to bring up GladRags, menstrual cups, or reusable cloth pads. I’m okay with making some people uncomfortable for the sake of another woman having the opportunity to find an alternative product for her period or finding empowerment in some period positivity.

So how do you talk to other people about GladRags? How did you get past the awkward conversations? Do you think it’s important to talk about GladRags with other people? Let us know what you think! Like I said, we aren’t afraid to talk about it.

bronteAbout the author of this post:
is the summer intern at GladRags and attends Willamette University, studying politics, history, and women’s and gender studies. She is passionate about education, dance, and hiking with her dog.

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How Fitness Can Help With Your Period

Ladies (and gents who want to know how to help their special lady), it’s that special time of the month. Your period has come to visit and it is sending your body’s hormones into a tailspin! What can you do to alleviate symptoms associated with the days leading up to your period and during your period itself? Exercise!

Working out increases your blood flow throughout your body. Since the drop of hormone levels during your period can affect your mood, making you feel tired or cranky, the increased blood flow can get you to feel energized to take on your period head-on. Keeping yourself preoccupied in the gym too can keep you from overeating and binge eating, which can sometimes be a tendency for women around the time of their period.

During the days leading up to your period, when you may be experiencing PMS (premenstrual syndrome), you may feel bloated. This is because your hormones, including estrogen, are at their peak a few days before your period, which causes your kidneys to change the distribution of water in your body. Working out, on the other hand, increases blood circulation to your kidneys for increased water flow and thus, leads to less bloating.

Furthermore, the increased blood flow can go to the uterus to potentially relieve cramping.

Not only can exercise relieve your physical pains, but it can also relax you and help you sleep well, even in the midst of physical or mental manifestations of your period.

Reversely, your period can help your workout – those hormonal changes can be just the push needed to give your workout a boost. Take advantage of the fact that your female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are at their lowest during your period, meaning your body can take on a workout more strongly.

Imagine– your body, for a couple of days, has quit preparing your uterus for a fetus since you are not pregnant; that is want your period signifies. Since your body is now not preoccupied with a potential pregnancy, it can focus more on your workout.

Furthermore, according to Dr. Stacy Sims, women tend to have a higher pain tolerance when on their period, therefore, women can have a more effective workout. Couple this with the release of endorphins from a workout, and you have a recipe for a healthy way to handle the physical and mental symptoms of your period, such as painful cramps. It is a cheaper and more natural solution to taking medication for relieving those cramps.

One particular exercise that can reduce your symptoms of PMS and during your period is yoga. Yoga can stretch out tense muscles and send blood flow to your pelvic area to relieve cramping.

A restorative pose, where you lie on your back and bring your heels together on the floor and bring them as close as you can to your pelvis, helps to relieve cramps and any tension in your abdomen.

Another helpful yoga pose is the knee-to-chest pose, where you bring your entire lower body to a relaxed, flexed position by bringing your knees to your chest, with your feet relaxed and pointed, while taking deep breaths.

It is always important to recognize your strengths and listen to your body when it comes to exercising, but keep in mind that consistently exercising during your period may be the needed remedy to help with any menstrual blues.

 

 

 

Virginia Cunningham is a writer for Northwest and yoga enthusiast in Southern California. As a woman, she is all too familiar with the pains and aches that happen each month, so she practices yoga and meditation each morning to keep her stress levels down and her pain symptoms low.

Nicole has generously offered a discount on her Fix Your Period program for fans of GladRags. Just use coupon code GLADRAGS20 to save $20!

Do you know what day of the month it is? More importantly, do you know what day of your menstrual cycle you’re on? If you’re like many women, you are probably pretty mystified by your period and cycle in general, so you’re not alone if you don’t know.

I used to be that girl. At doctor’s appointments, when the inevitable question was asked “When was your last period Nicole?”, I’d look like I was thinking really hard and say “Oh, my period was March 9th” with so much confidence. Ha, of course I was lying through my teeth because I had absolutely no idea! Little did I know then that not knowing those simple facts would be rather detrimental to my health later on.

Some of you know my story and in fact many of you are probably living in one stage or another of my “period story.” It all began in my teens (doesn’t it always? *wink*), with really really ferocious periods. My mom said, “you think this is bad Nicole? I used to be in bed for days at a time.” Ugh. So I just accepted that this must be my lot in life. Then something strange happened. I stopped getting my period every month. Hmmm…that didn’t seem quite right but a huge part of me was relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the period drama every month. The problem is, when your period stops, it doesn’t usually start again unless you make some changes. And I was not making any changes. To be fair, I didn’t even know I needed to make changes!

So off I went to the gynecologist where I was prescribed the birth control pill and sent on my way. I took it for 5 years. I got my period every month, it lasted for maybe two days, had barely any cramps, no bloating, none of the she-monster mood swings….a girl’s dream come true right? At first I thought so but over time I noticed a whole lot of other issues cropping up. Dry skin, eyes, hair and nails, chronic yeast infections, chronic urinary tract infections, chronic colds, IBS-like stomach problems, even a low sex drive (in my early 20’s!). Oh and joint pain. Lots of joint pain. I was an old, sick lady in a 20 year old body. All of these symptoms were evidence that the pill was no longer working for me. However, it took me a little while to figure that out!

Instead I saw a lot of conventional doctors who did a lot of tests and I got nothing. One thought I had crohn’s disease, another thought it was rheumatoid arthritis (my mom has it so naturally I was a candidate). Yet another doctor diagnosed IBS. My gynecologist suggested I try a vaginal estrogen cream to get my sex drive back. Oy vey. Clearly this approach was not working. So I decided to take back the reins and steer my health in a different direction.

It led me to an acupuncturist, a little Chinese man named Dr. Kim who at 65 had more energy than my 23-year old self. In the first visit he diagnosed and explained all of my ailments. Miraculous. I’d been trying to get a straight answer for years and this dude gave me what I needed in 30 minutes. I saw him for years and he blew the door off on my conventional-medicine ways of thinking. I was introduced to herbs, better ways of eating, bio-feedback, qi-gong…you name it. I also finally ditched my pill and started getting my period normally for the first time in my life.

For years I tried every alternative medical treatment out there – network spinal analysis, colonics, infra-red saunas, laser hair removal – oh does that not count? Haha! This led me to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York where I got certified to be a holistic health coach. I knew I had to help as many women as I could get my hands on so I apprenticed at Flo Living in New York, where I learned a ton about women’s hormonal health and how one could balance their hormones and heal themselves with food. I then went on to train with Dr. Sara Gottfried, the queen of hormonal health.

It’s been 12 years since I first saw Dr. Kim and changed the trajectory of my life. Back then if you had told me I’d be doing what I do now I’d have said, “Girl, puleese!” Yet here I am. Your personal period fixer-upper!

Almost two years ago, I created Fix Your Period, a series of private and group programs to help women heal their menstrual conditions in a sassy and fun way. I designed my programs on the belief that fixing your period doesn’t have to be painful or difficult, but rather fun. It takes effort, but doesn’t have to be hard; I’m not trying to restrict anybody – I literally want flow; once your body is flowing, your period will follow. I also don’t want it to be overwhelming – because menstrual problems are overwhelming enough!

On Wednesday I am launching my first ever Fix Your Period 4-Week Home Study Program. This has been a number of years in the making and I’m beyond thrilled to share it with women all over the world who might not otherwise have access to this kind of information.

The program will be hosted on Ruzuku.com, an incredible platform for online courses. Each week you will receive a new webinar, in which I will introduce practical concepts and steps that you can take to finally start addressing your underlying hormonal imbalance. This will be accompanied by informative and thought-provoking handouts, my Fix Your Period Recipe E-book and Shopping List. You’ll also have access to my private online Fix Your Period Facebook support group.

Here’s to Happy Hormones for you!

 

 

 

 

“I admit to debating whether I wanted to spend the money on the course in the first place, even with the discount, just because I wasn’t quite sure what I would get out of it. Now, my head’s spinning with so much information! Worth every penny (and more)! I love the FB group and that I can really get my personalized questions answered.” - Dori W., Online Educator, Baltimore, MD

“Nicole, this has been such a wonderful program and I can’t thank you enough! I’m sad that it will be coming to a close soon, but so happy for all I have learned and for connecting with this amazing group of women. One thing I really take seriously now is the impact that sugar has on my body. And after learning about how our hormones are constantly engaging in a delicate dance throughout our cycles, I see how the choices we make truly matter. And I love how you always emphasize the importance of this knowledge, but also the importance of self-kindness and care along the way. Such an awesome balance you bring to this!” - Kate M., St. Louis MO

 

*Full disclosure: the links to the Fix Your Period program in this blog post are affiliate links, which means that GladRags may receive a commission if you decide to sign up for Nicole’s course through these links. We only advocate products that we personally love and would wholeheartedly recommend to our own best friends and families. By using our affiliate links you’ll be helping to support women-owned small businesses, so thanks for your support! <3


Let’s be honest, vaginas can get expensive. From periods to contraceptives to special doctors, being a woman will inevitably cost a lot of money. One way to cut down those expenses? Switch to GladRags reusable menstrual products.

The average price of the best-selling brand of pads is $5.79. Multiply that by 12 months and your period will cost a woman $70 a year. That’s doesn’t seem so bad, right? But what about over her whole life? The average woman can expect to menstruate for 40 years. $70 a year multiplied by 40 years? That’s $2,800.

And tampons are even more expensive. The average price of the best-selling brand of tampons is $8.79. Multiplied by 12 months and then by 40 years? The average woman can expect to spend $4,220.

Our cloth pad laundry kit is about $120. That means you save over $2,500 over your lifetime.

One menstrual cup is about $40. That means you save over $4,000 over your lifetime.

A woman who has to use both tampons and pads during her period can expect to save over $6,500 just by switching to GladRags. If that number doesn’t convince, there are plenty of other reasons to switch to reusable menstrual products. From helping the environment to keeping your body safe from toxic chemicals, switching to GladRags is well worth the money.

So what will you do with the $6,500 you save over your lifetime?

Take a trip?

tropical resort

All it needs is a good book and a cold drink.

Redo your bathroom?

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There’s nothing like a good soak in a hot bath to relieve bad cramps.

Go back to school?

go back to school

Take that class in Ancient Greek Women’s Studies, just because it seems interesting.

You’re doing a lot for you, your body, and your environment by using GladRags reusable menstrual products. You deserve to treat yourself.

And don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about GladRags. The more women who switch to reusable menstrual products, the bigger the impact on the environment. Plus, it’ll be nice to have a friend on that vacation with you.

bronteAbout the author of this post:
is the summer intern at GladRags and attends Willamette University, studying politics, history, and women’s and gender studies. She is passionate about education, dance, and hiking with her dog.