How to better understand your menstruation

By: Victoria Nicholson, Art Director

Did you just ovary-act? It’s that time of the month again. You’re either dreading your upcoming Shark Week or excited that Aunt Flo is coming to visit. Either way, welcome to the complicated period (literally) of time that is navigating your menstruation (or the lack thereof).

At a young age, children learn about their bodies in a divided health class. In the fifth grade you get handed a singular pad and a cliche handbook and then are sent off on your own path of self-discovery. However, the problem with these courses is that they are largely not inclusive of non-female identifying menstruators, and females who do not menstruate.

Luckily for me, I grew up in a household where you were celebrated when you first got your period. I got promised a trip to Panera to start off my womanhood. However, not a lot of people are that lucky. Some don’t have fundamental menstrual health access for themselves.

Having access to menstrual health and hygiene products is a right. I didn’t ask to bleed every month. So why am I stuck with buying an overpriced and over-taxed box of tampons over twelve times a year? Overall, I am blessed I have access to even buy these expensive products because most people don’t. In the country of Uganda, and many others, young girls are missing school simply because they can’t get products. Having this happen affects a whole society, with consequences of a poor physical, emotional and social well-being. 

Last week, the Office of Inclusion Equity, and the Center for Student Diversity (CSD) hosted an event called “It’s That Time of the Month: Menstrual Health Day.” Seeing these bright pink flyers around campus got me excited, and eager to be apart of the 40 people to win a free menstrual cup. This menstrual-power intensive event included DIY heating pads, period care packages, and access to health questions you may not normally ask. 

“I think it definitely promotes an inclusive environment, especially for those part of the LGBTQ community or those that don’t always have a support system to go to for things,” said TU student Nina Scheiderer. 

After discussing topics like the stages of your period, resources on campus, transgender inclusion and special hygiene products, and a demonstration of inserting a disk frame, attendees of the event were offered a free menstrual cup or a decorative pin of a uturus at the end. 

Offering these events on campus allows students to participate in an educational yet fun setting that allows a group of people to bond over something that is inevitable for most. Being able to distribute multiple forms of hygiene products for free is beyond helpful to students who just don’t know what’s best for their bodies. 

If you missed the event, here’s a recap of some period hacks and facts to get you through the week:

  1. DIY heating pad: Do you have terrible cramps and don’t own a heating pad? Build your own! Three simple ingredients: a sock, one cup of rice, and an essential oil, preferably lavender. After you gather everything up, throw everything into your sock and pop that life saver in the microwave for a minute to a minute and a half.
  2. Menstrual cups: Tampons and pads are the most common form of period hygiene products — but did you know that tampons carry harmful chemicals? Not only are you damaging your body by inserting them, but you’re leaving a serious footprint on our friend called Earth. Menstrual cups reduce risks of harm to your body, are easy on your wallet, and reusable! 
  3. Diet tips: I know your body is telling you to eat that bag of salt & vinegar chips, but you would probably be better off without it. What you put into your body is going to affect how the rest of your cycle goes, so drink lots of water or tea and avoid high saturated fats and caffeine. 
  4. Facts about your cycle: One task at the event was to arrange the stages of your cycle in order, simple, right? Most people are familiar with the terms menstruation and ovulation, but there are two stages involved as well called the follicular and luteal phase. Just to keep it simplifie: the follicular phase starts with growth for a mature egg and and the luteal phase thickens the lining of your uterus, which is essentially the end of the cycle. Your body is basically a clock ticking down each minute until the next phase of your menstrual cycle! 
  5. Period care package: I can’t be the only one that has gotten their period in the worst moment possible, and then didn’t even have a product to use. During the event we got to build our own period care package, which included items like chocolate, pads, tampons, and ibuprofen. I immediately threw it in my bookbag knowing that it will come in handy one day. Thank you past Tori! 

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