Conscious Period’s Dual Giving Program for Menstruation

conscious p2

The GirlU Blog has covered global menstruation issues and the team decided to do a little research to see what was happening in the United States to help women who are struggling economically or who are homeless.  What we learned was pretty shocking…not much is going on to help these women at all!

We also learned that menstrual supplies are not covered by food stamps and are taxed in 40 of 50 states.  Homeless shelters and “midnight run” charities don’t typically include menstrual supplies as part of their collection drives.   We’ve read about young girls and women using mud, grass and leaves to collect menstrual blood in countries like Africa and India, but right here in the US, homeless and economically fragile women are also in a real jam when dealing with menstruation.

Through our research we found two women who are attempting to do something about this. Annie Lasco and Margo Lang are the founders of Conscious Period, purveyors of organic tampons with a dual giving model.   They are so close to their Indiegogo goal, please check it out here.

conscious p

Conscious Period will sell organic tampons and with each box sold, they will donate a box of organic pads to women in need in Los Angeles, where they are based.  As we have written about here, there are some concerning chemicals and ingredients in tampons.  Scarily enough, there is no regulation requiring tampon manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in tampons.  And to quote from the Conscious Period Indiegogo campaign, “women spend over 100,000 hours of their lives with a tampon in contact with some of the most sensitive and absorbent skin in the body.”  Makes you think!

Part two of the Conscious Period giving model mirrors what is going on in India and Africa.  Part of the campaign will fund the set up of a cottage industry in Los Angeles to produce pads domestically for women in need.  This will provide jobs and hygienic supplies!  The model is working beautifully in India and with these two dynamic women leading the cause, chances for success close to their home seems pretty high!

Please check out the Conscious Period campaign today.

PMS #tbt

pms tbt_finalToday is a #tbt of some of our favorite PMS Relief blog posts!  There are many ways to naturally alleviate some of the worst symptoms of PMS, but it is really, really difficult to stay the course using healthy alternatives when your body is in revolt and your willpower is flagging.   Fatigue and pain sometimes get the better of us, so give yourself a break if you just need a nap or a candy bar.

PMS Bloating: One of the best things to do is disguise it with good wardrobe choices since this is temporary water weight gain.

Period Cramps: Bring on the external heat and double up with a cup of tea to warm up from the inside as well.

Food Cravings: The number one tip is to employ a distraction long enough so that the temptation passes.  But, there is nothing like a healthy diet and we offered up these smoothie recipes to help with PMS symptoms.

Sore Breasts: Breasts do get tender and swollen from hormonal changes, but check your bra size because squished boobs hurt even worse on PMS days.

Low Self Esteem:  Does it seem like everyone else is posting happy pics on social media? Take a screen break and take your workout outside.

PMS Acne: Don’t pick, just keep your hands off your face.  Have you seen those articles about all of the “yuck” on your smart phone? You do not want to transfer that to your pores.

PMS Nausea: Eat regular meals and good snacks so your blood sugar doesn’t plummet.

Mood Swings: To calm the drama, get a sweat going.

Period Headaches:  Good food choices and plenty of sleep can help keep these at bay.

Fight through the temptation and make smart food choices, get plenty of rest at night and get moving during the day!

Menstrual Hygiene around the World

girls in africa

Menstrual hygiene and ample choice of supplies are things we take for granted in the United States, like clean pads and tampons.  Another thing we don’t even think about is that if we get our period at school or at work, we have options for dealing with it.  We can discretely ask to borrow a tampon or find a bathroom with a machine to buy one.  The worst case scenario is that we make a homemade pad from rolled up toilet paper to get us through the next hour or so until we can find a real one.

All of these will work and even the worst case scenario is better than using mud, leaves, grasses or literal “rags.”  In some countries the worst case scenario is bleeding through clothes and embarrassment, followed by staying at home because of a lack of supplies.  NPR recently wrote about this topic and you can find their compelling article here.

Unless your symptoms are debilitating, you typically won’t miss school or work due to period bleeding.  That isn’t the case for women and girls in other parts of the world.  May 28th is menstrual hygiene day…yes, one day.  Many diseases get a month, but a normal bodily function that affects 50% of the global population on a monthly basis has one day.  There was a lot of information shared on social media on May 28th about these issues.

If you have a Twitter handle, do a little research using #menstrualhealth.  You will see some charts from many worthy NGO’s that are dealing with the lack menstruation supplies in unique ways.  The bottom line for most of these organizations is to empower women through jobs by manufacturing supplies in a local setting and keeping young girls in school by giving them sanitary pads.

Just something to think about next time you are bummed because you have to stash a tampon in a clutch for an evening out.  We are so lucky to have clean supplies!

12 Days of Period Health

Christmas fruit, nuts, and cookies covered in snow

In honor of the 12 days of Christmas: 12 tips for period health!
Image: Shutterstock

Did you know the 12 days of Christmas actually start on Christmas? That means after the usual festivities, you’ve got another set of days to celebrate! In the spirit of the traditional song, here are 12 tips for optimal period health as we see the year out.

On the first day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of movement. Sitting for long periods of time can be bad for your back, not to mention your overall health. And if you’re already feeling down that time of month, why make things harder on yourself? Take a break and move!

On the second day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of hydration. It’s no joke trying to get in the recommended 8 cups a day, but optimal water intake is essential for your health, not to mention curbing the worst PMS and period symptoms.

On the third day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of looking fabulous while exercising. You know exercise is important for alleviating cramps and other symptoms, but why not look fantastic while you’re at it?

On the fourth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of cutting back on caffeine and sweets. We’re not saying you have to give them up entirely—especially around the holidays!—but you’ll definitely have fewer PMS symptoms if you make a special effort to keep to the carrots rather than the cake during that time of the month.

On the fifth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of plenty of sleep. Being on your period can make you extra sleepy, so make sure you go to bed and get up at the same time every day to regulate your circadian rhythm.

On the sixth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of motivation. This one can be especially tough during winter, so make sure you reach out and get the support you need to keep up those healthy habits and keep away the PMS symptoms!

On the seventh day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of a healthy breakfast. Don’t skip it! Starting the day with a healthy meal will keep your metabolism in gear and give you energy for the rest of the day—especially important during that time of the month.

On the eighth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of Love Uninterrupted. Check in with yourself and your partner about expectations hopes for your relationship so you’re starting off the year in a great place to weather the inevitable ups and downs. Don’t have a partner? Make sure your friends, family, and other loved ones know how you feel!

On the ninth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of a walk outside. Get in a solid dose of daily sunlight and exercise, and watch your mood soar!

On the tenth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of a soothing yoga session. Relax and alleviate period cramps and other symptoms at the same time with a gentle yoga routine.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of a supportive bra. Nothing beats sore breasts like a bra that’s well-fitted and meant to last!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I gave myself…the gift of a month’s supply of GirlU! The compact is super chic, but the best part is beating the PMS symptoms…for good!

What to Do About Sore Breasts During Your Period

Woman with sore breast

Sore breasts can be...well...a pain. Here are some tips for dealing with them!
Image: Shutterstock

Breast pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced during the menstrual cycle—in fact, reports of sore breasts in the medical literature go back all the way to 1829! More recently, a study found that 69% of women attending an ob-gyn clinic had regular premenstrual breast pain. For some, the pain is so severe and lasts so long (at least seven days) that it’s referred to as cyclical mastalgia, which can interfere with sleep, work, school, social functioning, and sexual activity.

If you’re dealing with sore breasts every month, no matter what the severity, don’t worry! Though science isn’t entirely sure what causes it (most believe it’s related to the fluctuations of hormones), there are lots of things you can do to feel better right now.

  • Make sure you’ve got a really supportive bra. It’s estimated that 80% of women wear bras that don’t fit right, so make sure you’ve got the right size and style for your body! You might also try wearing it at night for extra support.
  • Take some time out. Relaxation techniques can do wonders to calm the nutty hormones behind sore breasts. Try soothing music or progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Go herbal. You’ll want to talk to your doctor to be sure you cover all the angles, but herbs with anti-inflammatory elements--including the herbs in GirlUninterrupted!—have been shown to reduce breast soreness.
  • Diet.  Keep an eye on your salt and caffeine intake. If you can manage to completely avoid salt for 1-2 weeks before your period—or at least cut way down—you’re less likely to encounter the more annoying PMS and period symptoms. You’ll want to cut down on high-fat foods, too.
  • Exercise.  You’ve probably heard this before, but exercise really can help relieve PMS symptoms, especially sore breasts. And, of course, it’s good for you! Even if you’re not up for your usual routine, try to do a little something every day.

Of course there are medications you can take as well, both over the counter and prescription. But the first line of defense should be taking a stab at these natural (and mostly free!) options. Just a few small changes to your daily routine can make a world of difference in dealing with sore breasts, not to mention other PMS and period symptoms.

Girl Uninterrupted Launches New Look

Girl Uninterrupted's new look

Girl Uninterrupted is now available from Amazon.

On September 17, Girl Uninterrupted officially debuted its new look, along with its Amazon.com page, where it’s available for purchase.

Produced by Magpie, LLC, a wellness company founded by women for women, Girl Uninterrupted is an all-natural supplement designed to work quickly to relieve symptoms associated with menstruation, like cramps, bloating, and irritability. It contains five herbal ingredients:

  • Griffonia seed extract, a natural source of 5-HTP, an amino acid that affects serotonin receptors in the brain and allows for a sense of relaxation without fatigue;
  • Green tea extract, which contains antioxidants and relieves bloating by working as a light diuretic;
  • A blend of red clover, chaste tree berry, and saw palmetto, each of which support estrogen in the body and help balance female hormones.

A lifelong health enthusiast with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from Cornell, Magpie, LLC founder Mayling Kajiya wanted to create a supplement to deal with the symptoms of PMS without using acetaminophen and caffeine.

“For a syndrome that affects almost every woman at some point in her life, it’s about time for a product that doesn’t just numb the discomfort of PMS with the same medicine one would take to get rid of a headache or sore throat, but rather, one that provides relief in a safe, effective way by using all-natural ingredients,” said Kajiya.

Girl Uninterrupted is for women who can’t afford to have their lives interrupted by PMS symptoms every month.

Available on Amazon.com, Girl Uninterrupted is sold in a 1-month supply package of eight tablets for $14.99 and a 3-month supply of 24 tablets for $24.99.

What to Wear on Your Period

Clothing examples for what to wear on your period

Try these styles when you want to look office-ready but aren't feeling up to the usual wardrobe.
Image: Polyvore

When That Time of the Month hits, there are definitely mornings when you just want to stay in bed and not have to worry about what to wear. Unfortunately, you probably still have to go to work or school—even if you’re feeling bloated and cranky and nothing seems to fit right. Has all hope of decent office attire run screaming out the door?

No way! There are plenty of ways to be both comfortable and chic enough for the daily grind—even when you’re not feeling your best. Here are a few fashion ideas for days when you want to look good but also give yourself an extra bit of TLC:

  • Dressy shorts. If your workplace allows it, a nice pair of shorts made of comfortable material—and an elastic waistband!—can be just the ticket. Darker colors at about knee-length will make you feel both sleek and comfortable.
  • Cashmere sweaters. Any shirt made of soft, flowing material that’s still dressy enough for work or school will keep you soothed and also looking great. If you’re worried about bloating around your belly, try a top with drapes or ruffles.
  • Shift dress. The style is simple and clean, and the lack of waist means no definition, particularly where you least want it!
  • Maxi skirt. Flowy and loose, these skirts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all conveniently covering your legs while still allowing a full range of movement.
  • Oversized cardigan. If you can’t stay in bed, at least take your blanket with you! Larger cardigans feel comfy and bathrobe-like while still looking professional.
  • Jeggings. If you’re going for the clean-cut jeans look but your usual denim just isn’t happening, try jeggings—the classic look of jeans, but with the feel of stretch pants. Just make sure you don’t get them too tight!
  • Tunic top. From a t-shirt style to more of a sweater, a tunic top generally has a round, flattering neckline and little to no collar, making it a stylish and comfortable option.
  • Comfortable shoes. Leave the six-inch heels for another time! When you’re suffering from cramps and other period-related effects, you definitely don’t want aching, too! Instead of making your feet suffer, too, pamper them with flats or dressy clogs.

Just because you’re dealing with your period doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel great, even when you’re out in public! Aim for looser fits in comfortable styles to ensure your office attire won’t suffer—and you won’t, either.

Genetics Vs. Lifestyle – What is the Real Cause of PMS?

Genetics-LifeStyle-PMSMore than half of all women who menstruate have some form of cramping, and 15 percent of women have severe cramps. Menstrual cramps usually (but not always) improve, as a woman gets older, especially after giving birth. Of course, this doesn’t mean cramps go away as you age—they just often become a little more manageable.

Like many other things in life, genetics affect everything – even PMS! Unfortunately, if your mom and grandma had bad cramps, chances are you probably will too. Regardless of what runs in your family, don’t let nature rule your life!

Many women overlook the influence that their lifestyle and health has on the symptoms of their period. Being overweight and inactive can actually exacerbate symptoms of PMS. This is because high amounts of body fat indicate higher levels of estrogen, which can worsen your PMS. Being inactive also means that you aren’t letting your body help you out. Working out causes your body to produce nature’s painkillers, endorphins. Even though we don’t usually feel like it, it’s always a good idea to stay active during your period – and all other times of the month.

What you eat also has an effect on how good or bad you feel. Too much sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can worsen PMS. Too much dairy consumption can also worsen symptoms, due to hormonal imbalances. High stress levels can also worsen the symptoms of PMS.

The moral of the story: there’s a lot to thank our moms for – just maybe not the cramps! Luckily for us ladies, we have the personal power to stay healthy and active before, during, and after our periods. Not only will this help with PMS symptoms, but it will also produce a healthier you. What’s not to love?

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.

Have your chocolate and eat it, too

Chocolate cravings and PMS seem to go hand and hand much to the dismay of many women.  What’s to blame for this sneaky occurrence?  During PMS, your levels of estrogen fluctuate, which could decrease serotonin, the hormone responsible for feeling good and regulating your mood.  Decreases in this vital hormone tends to cause symptoms of  irritability, carbohydrate cravings, and depression.

chocolate cake for pms

Fortunately, there's no need to resist when there's a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Here's a vegetarian recipe for Devil's Chocolate Cake from P.S. It's Healthy that's also sugar- and butter-free.