A while ago I bought a book publicised by the Victoria Women’s Trust – ‘About Bloody Time’ by Karen Pickering and Jane Bennett.
I hadn’t read it until this week.
But a couple of things prompted me.
Firstly, I want to be off the pill. I’ve been on it solidly for twenty years, without any breaks. This has been a safe solution for me for contraception. But I know that it increases the risk of breast cancer, and I have known that taking hormones can’t be great for the body long term.
Secondly, I went to my doctor recently and talked about my mood swings and a couple of other changes I’ve noticed recently. My doctor asked about the pill, and suggested the the changes particularly in my mood could be due to the pill. He was pleased that I was starting the process of coming off the pill.
Thirdly, I just listened to Lacy Phillips’ Expanded podcast with guest Alisa Vitti. It confirmed all my fears, and also thought me a lot about the female body that I’d never previously heard. I’m going to buy her book In The Flo and live by it as I coming off the pill.
I’m a very intelligent woman, and yet I don’t know why I have never heard this information before – except that it’s almost a taboo subject.
I didn’t know I was in peri-menopause as a 36-year-old, and that peri-menopause lasts for usually 20 years, and on average a woman’s last menstrual cycle is at 52 years of age. I have just been oblivious.
I’m determined that will change.
Hence, reading About Bloody Time.
Here’s a couple of other things I’ve learnt:
- while society seems to be concerned that girls are getting their periods younger, in fact we’re returning to what is historically more true. Girls in the Stone Age reached puberty between 7 and 13 years. When humans settled, and went through the Dark Ages, they were generally less healthy and had the poorest nutrition. Modern hygiene and nutrition is returning us to biological reality and the current age age for girls to get their period is 12 years old;
- the average cycle is 29 to 30 days, although 26 to 32 days is normal. The ‘typical’ 28-day cycle was actually introduced by the pill manufacturing companies who wanted a neat 4-week cycle;
- the cycle ‘begins’ on Day 1: the first day of bleeding (not the last day of bleeding, like I always thought …
- there are roughly 4 stages to each month cycle, with different hormones, different metabolic rates, and up to 25% difference in brain chemistry!
Hence, despite most of us being raised it feel ashamed and disgusted by our menstrual cycle, there seems to finally be more research happening and more information openly available for women to learn about their bodies. There must be better ways to live, based on our monthly cycle, rather than the daily hormonal cycle that suits male and post-menopausal women.