Period Piggy Bank

22 November 2022

Period Piggy Bank

A woman’s period is a sign of health, a blessing - not a curse! And I am on a mission for this message to be delivered in schools and taught as such in all medical institutions.

Some of the most persistent misconceptions about periods are that irregularity is normal, heavy flooding and severe period pain is just something women with a period experience - NOT TRUE, not acceptable! 

I have had a flurry of younger women in my clinic over the summer, experiencing such pain every  period that they vomit! - one of whom was told by her endocrinologist “ well if I got kicked in the balls every month , I’d be in pain! - it’s normal, I recommend you take pain killers and  go on the pill “……SERIOUSLY - is this the best we can offer our young women??? 

For decades, the connection between menstruation and overall health was largely unrecognized, and that’s why a recently reaffirmed committee opinion by ACOG advises health practitioners to consider periods the “fifth vital sign” — meaning menstruation is as important a health indicator as changes in body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. High five to that ….. But it would seem many …. have missed the memo! 

From the first menstrual cycle a young woman has through to her last some 35 years later the monthly production of oestrogen and progesterone promotes muscle growth, insulin sensitivity, bone density and flexibity, brain health, cardiovascular health, optimal  immune function, thyroid regulation and overall making women stronger by building metabolic reserve. Put another way -  every menstrual cycle is depositing  money in the bank of a woman’s long term savings account for healthy and longevity. So, putting her on the pill -  robs her savings account of good health. 

Author, Gloria Steinem wrote in 1978 "If men could menstruate, they would, of course, show off about how long and how much” - and 30 years on, I sadly don’t think the medical institution has changed a great deal.

Menstrual cycle changes or abnormalities can be a clear first symptom of a number of underlying issues, include eating disorders; thyroid malfunction; other hormonal issues including those that cause Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome; endometriosis.

The idea that periods matter for health has the potential to not only help women identify health complications earlier, but also kick lazy antiquated thinking such as my client experienced …… in the balls!