Saying Yes to Periods

Experts explain why women should not avoid their natural cycles

Why women should not avoid their natural cycles

Eliminating periods out of one’s life has become a new reality for some women for the past several years. Since some medical professionals expressed the idea that periods can be optional, many people have started taking contraceptive pills to alter their periods and have more freedom to plan daily activities.

However, menstruation is an important part of the natural cycle and gynecological health. Sexually active women usually refer to it as a positive or negative indication of pregnancy. For many women, it is also a part of their feminine identity, according to Vilmante Markeviciene, the founder of Genial Day, a woman-owned company focused on intimate health and conscious period products, and Dr. Svitrigaile Grinceviciene, an OB/GYN and specialist in vulvovaginal disorders. 

Why do some women refuse to bleed?

The decision to get on with one’s period-free life might be motivated by several factors, Ms. Markeviciene pointed out. “Periods are messy and at times inconvenient. Add occasional leaks, cramps, bloating, nausea, fatigue, and people might start thinking they are actually better without them.”

Those in favor of menstrual elimination contribute to the dilemma with arguments that periods are not medically justifiable if a woman is not trying to get pregnant because they cause unnecessary stress for the body. Also, the contraceptive pill is said to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 27% and endometrial cancer by 50%. Therefore, the control of one’s fertility, easier management of period symptoms, and reduced anxiety to participate in social, professional activities tempt many women to join the “no period” trend. 

Even though periods are uncomfortable, hormonal contraception has its own negative effects on a person’s body—many people suffer from hormonal contraceptive-induced mood changes, weight gain, or irregular bleeding. It has been also associated with severe mental conditions like depression, and can even be linked to a general decrease in people’s well-being.

How to determine if menstruation should be repressed or embraced?

Dr. Grinceviciene argued that the only time the menstrual cycle should be suppressed is when it is a pathological one, meaning, it can lead to certain illnesses: endometriosis, risk of fatal hemorrhaging, severe premenstrual depression or migraine, some allergies to a person’s own hormones such as progesterone.

“In cases of pathologies, physicians recommend to suspend the menstrual cycle and treat the illness with medication,” the OB/GYN added. 

However, if there are no underlying medical issues that would indicate the need to repress periods, menstruation can help women to become more attuned with their bodies. The menstrual cycle has three stages—during each one, the levels of different hormones (follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) either rise or fall, and this shift affects productivity levels, sexual arousal and emotional state.

“No drugs could ever imitate the feelings a woman has during that time between the period and ovulation—high libido, energy, productivity, and efficiency,” Dr. Grinceviciene said.

By tracking and identifying their body’s state during different days of ovulation, women can learn to use these hormonal shifts to their advantage—discover the best time to rest, work on new projects or pursue sexual ventures when their libido is at its highest. 

Embracing periods to reduce period stigma 

“The discomfort during periods might have been true once but now we have many options which would bring the most sense of security and help to fall in love with menstruation,” Ms. Markeviciene said. “Breathable, non-allergenic, highly absorbent pads, menstrual cups, and period panties are designed to ensure maximum comfort and protection, and let women feel confident and capable in every situation, be it work, school, hobbies, or sports, even during the heaviest days of period.”

Both experts agreed that celebrating one’s menstrual cycle might be also beneficial to combating period stigma and negative associations related to menstruation. “Rather than suppressing periods, we should have open conversations about them, especially with the younger generation which is still learning to navigate their menstrual cycles,” Ms. Markeviciene added.

Genial Day is a woman-owned brand, which focuses on organic, hypoallergenic feminine hygiene products, using FAR-IR anion strip technology in the sanitary pads. The company was first introduced in Lithuania in 2009, where it became a top organic sanitary napkin brand in just four years, and later expanded to Europe, reaching the U.S. market in 2016. Currently, Genial Day is available in 15 countries worldwide. The product range includes sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, and period panties.

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