The PMS Lack of Research Rant

rantAfter years of reading articles about premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, there is one sentence about the lack of research that appears in almost all of these articles.  Even though half of the population is female and even though there are millions of women who are menstruating monthly, the one line in these articles says something like, “there is very little research around premenstrual syndrome” or “there is very little research about the woman’s cycle” or “there is some general consensus that serotonin levels drop during the luteal phase but very little research,”  do you get the picture?

It is galling, really and truly galling that there is very little research on the effect of surging and dipping hormones.  PMS isn’t a disease to be cured, but why isn’t study and research warranted on the topic if women suffer from PMS?  There isn’t even consensus around how many women PMS effects.  Some articles say 60-70% of menstruating women, while other articles say 85% of menstruating women have at least one symptom of PMS.

Would there be ample research around PMS if it happened to men?  Take male pattern baldness which seems to be more of a genetic condition than a disease, so again a condition to be eased or reversed but not cured.  Look at the pipeline of products from topical foams, to pills, to hair plugs, lots of people have worked to ease this condition which is vanity based and not pain based.  It is just an interesting comparison.   Erectile dysfunction is another example of a male health issue. Plenty of research on that topic, lots of medicines to help there and yet there are probably fewer men experiencing ED on any given day than the number of women suffering from PMS symptoms on any given day.

Right now there is a wave of innovation by women who are tackling period products and premenstrual discomfort because we know it’s an issue and we know there are better ways to handle it.

Stay tuned to GirlU for more information on our upcoming products for PMS relief…we are focusing on one issue and that is living each day uninterrupted.  We want to give you the products you need to ameliorate the many symptoms of PMS so you can live those days without interruption.

Does PMS Affect You at Work?

workReading about the #EqualPayDay campaign got us thinking about the $.78 women earn for every $1.00 a man earns.  Men don’t get a period.  As women, do our cycles affect our productivity?  For those of us who deal with PMS, the 3-5 days when you are in the midst of surging and crashing hormones don’t automatically fall on weekends and holidays!

We want to hear from you before we make any decisions on this idea and so we have designed an anonymous, 6 question survey centered around this topic.  Completing the survey takes under 1 minute and we will report back right here when we have compiled enough data to formulate a thoughtful response.

Please share this link with your friends and family and ask them to take the survey too!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KQRCQJD

Your Workout and Your Period

Young woman running in forest

Working with your period, rather than against it, can help you plan a great period workout.
Image: Shutterstock

While it’s true that exercise is a great way to deal with period and PMS symptoms like bloating, it’s also true that sometimes you just don’t feel up to it. Have you ever noticed that your energy levels and exercise abilities change depending on where you are in your cycle? Working with your flow rather than against it when planning a period workout can make exercise a whole lot easier.

Rob Kominiarek, an Ohio physician who specializes in fitness and hormones, says that hormonal shifts during your period can affect your ability to exercise at optimal levels. For example, during the first week of your cycle, when you’re actually menstruating, your estrogen levels are lowest, which encourages your body to burn carbohydrates instead of fat. The takeaway? “Despite fatigue and muscle soreness, fast workouts are ideal and may feel easier on these days,” Kominiarek says. “This is the time to train and make gains in your fitness regimen.” Of course you should pay attention to your body and not push too hard! But the first week of your period workout is a great time to test your limits.

The next (roughly) 14 days of your cycle involve ovulation, which is a good time to slow things down a bit for your workout. Be sure to do plenty of warm-ups to loosen muscles and joints.

The luteal phase of your cycle, weeks three and four, involves a hormonal shift: your progesterone levels rise as your estrogen levels fall, which could lead to feeling more sluggish. In fact, according to Stacy Sims, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at Stanford University, you’re actually less tolerant of heat because progesterone levels delay your sweat response, so it takes longer to cool off. The trick here, according to Sims, is to take it a bit easier with lower intensity exercises—an easy run instead of interval training, for example, or simpler yoga poses. Or, if you’re really feeling lousy, take the day off! Just make sure to get back on track as soon as you’re feeling better.

Being mindful of where you are in your cycle can make for a much more effective period workout. With a bit of planning, you can get the most out of your workouts—and still give yourself time to take it easy when you need to!

(Looking for specific workouts for the different phases of your cycle?  Stay tuned....)

 

Period Mythbusters

Pads and tampon with red calendar background

Here's a look at some of the period myths you no longer have to live by!
Image: Shutterstock

You’ve probably heard a lot of things about having a period that just aren’t true. Because many folks have a hard time talking openly about menstruation, it’s easy for period myths to build up, especially amongst younger women who may not feel they have a good place to get solid answers to their questions.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Let’s get out there with some period mythbusting action! Have you ever fallen for any of the period myths below?

 

MYTH: You can’t go swimming when you have your period.

TRUTH: You absolutely CAN go swimming! Just make sure you’re using the right protection for the task at hand—probably a tampon or menstrual cup. Pads aren’t going to do you much good in the pool!

 

MYTH: Exercising during your period is bad for you.

TRUTH: Exercise is generally always good for you, especially if you suffer from cramps. If you have severe cramping (dysmenorrhea) or excessive blood flow (menorrhagia), you may want to check with your doctor first, though.

 

MYTH: You shouldn’t have sex when you have your period.

TRUTH: There’s no medical reason not to have sex even if you’re having your period. It might be a bit messy, but that’s between you and your partner.

 

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant on your period.

TRUTH: Since it’s possible for ovulation to occur during your period, it’s possible for you to get pregnant. It’s extremely unlikely, but if you have a particularly short menstrual cycle that puts your ovulation and menstruation very close, it could happen. The only way to definitely NOT get pregnant is to either not have sex or always use birth control/condoms when you do.

 

MYTH: A menstrual cycle always lasts 28 days.

TRUTH: Cycles are as varied as the people who have them. Twenty-eight days is only an average; some cycles are as short as 21 days, while others can last up to 35 days. Different kinds of birth control can also affect the length and heaviness of a period.

 

There are plenty of period myths out there, so be sure to check with your doctor and other reputable sources to make sure you’re getting the most accurate information. Your health and peace of mind are worth it!

Your Period and Kissing

Silhouette of a couple kissing

Recent studies say there's a relationship between your period and kissing.
Image: Shutterstock

I recently read an article that talks about the relationship between your period and kissing:  how we feel about it as women and how it all coincides with our menstrual cycle.

Rafael Wlodarski, a student at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, and Professor Robin Dunbar looked into the evolutionary reasons behind kissing. Using an international survey of over 900 adults, they figured out a few interesting things:

  • Women generally rate kissing as more important than men do.
  • Kissing frequently is related to relationship satisfaction.
  • Kissing helps us assess mates and determine who’s in it for the long haul.

In addition, women enjoy kissing more during the follicular phase, or while they're ovulating—and rate it less important during their luteal phase, or the few days before they get their period.

So it looks like kissing may be more than just a prelude to something else; it’s actually a way of maintaining happiness in a relationship, as well as choosing the right mate. And depending on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, she’ll be either more or less interested in using the kissing method on her partner.

If you’re looking for more info on the subject, check out "Menstrual Cycle Effects on Attitudes Toward Romantic Kissing,” a research paper that was published in both the Archives of Sexual Behavior and Human Nature.

Either way, it's interesting to think that smooching is just one more way of Mother Nature leading us to the right partner.