Archives for October 2019

Period Talk🔻Volume 01

A weekly roundup of science, activism, comic relief, art, podcasts, cute videos, and other stuff for people with periods.
Period Insights

Healthy Normal Periods: How can you tell if your symptoms are warning you that something's wrong or if they're just part of a normal cycle? This article breaks down what's healthy when it comes to cramps, clotting, bleeding, and PMS.

When birth control isn't for birth control: Millions of people take birth control to suppress their periods and control their symptoms. Here's why that's a bad idea.

Activism Inspo

National Period Day:Last Saturday was the first National Period Day. People rallied in 59 cities to advocate for widespread period product access, an end to the tampon tax, menstrual equity in detention centers, and more. Our team was repping in Austin and we're moved/fired-up/exploding-with-love as a result.

If faces were bleeding, someone would do something: PERIOD ( put out a brilliant campaign about period poverty. Watch it here.

A Gift for Your Ears

Guilty Feminist, Period Redux: Guilty Feminist is one of our team's favorite comedy podcasts but we didn't find out about it until 2018, which means we missed some good stuff early on. One of our teammates is making her way through the archives and found this period episode from 2016. You're welcome.

Science & Stats

Endometriosis Pain: A new (but not at all surprising) study found that "endometriosis pain leads to loss of productivity in the workplace, which is the greatest economic impact of the condition." More on that here.

A Gift for Your Eyes

The Red Revel: This beautiful photo series is paired with an open letter about menstruation and the progress we've made. (There's so much work to be done on the menstruation equity and break-the-stigma front that we sometimes forget to celebrate our advances.) Thank you and 😍 to The Nude Abstract.

Other Stuff

Seeing Red: Our founder wrote a book designed to shift the conversation about menstruation worldwide. Get a sneak peek, pre-order, and help her change what's possible for people with periods here.

How to Tell If You Have a Healthy Normal Period

What’s healthy when it comes to cramps, PMS, and bleeding?

At Brazen, we talk about periods pretty much all the time. One thing that strikes us is that no matter how different one person’s period is from the next, almost everyone has been told that their period and the symptoms that come with it are ‘normal’. So, how can we tell if what’s going on in our bodies is actually what’s supposed to be happening? How do we know if our symptoms are telling us that something’s wrong or if they’re just part of a ‘normal’ cycle?

Introducing the Healthy Normal – the standard for healthy cycles we all should have learned as pre-teens but didn’t.

Here’s what a Healthy Normal cycle looks like:

  • Cycle length: 28-30 days long
  • Period length: 4 days long
  • Period blood: bright red with no clots
  • Flow: steady bleeding throughout your period that fills a regular tampon or pad in about 4 hours (or half-fills a menstrual cup in that amount of time)
  • NO PMS  (That means no mood swings, no digestive issues, no bowel changes, no bloating,  no breast tenderness, no cycle-induced irritability, anxiety, stress or depression, etc.)

If that sounds like your cycle, congrats! It’s safe to assume that everything is working as it should and you’re healthy overall.

If your cycle doesn’t line up with that, don’t freak out. You’re not alone and you’re not doomed. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. This isn’t a “you’re stuck with the cards you were dealt” scenario – you can improve your cycle and overall health. You can make healthy your new normal. Our Healthy Period Handbook will teach you how to read your symptoms and decode what’s going on with your current cycle. It will also give you tailored tips to help you improve your cycle based on your symptoms and specific markers like the length of your period, the color of your blood, etc.
  2. As inconvenient as your period can be, it actually gives you a powerful advantage: monthly feedback about your health. If you start to pay attention to what your period looks and feels like, and you learn to read your period like a report card, you can figure out what’s going on in your body, beyond your cycle. Understanding the root issues behind your symptoms will enable you to improve not just your period but your overall health. This is especially important because some of the underlying conditions that cause cramps are highly predictive of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and estrogen-dependent tumors. Improving your cycle can help prevent serious diseases.
  3. You’re actually part of the majority. Most people experience cramps and PMS and have periods that don’t line up with the Healthy Normal. If you’ve been told your period problems are normal, this is probably why: unhealthy periods are overwhelmingly common.

Here’s the thing though – the fact that something is common doesn’t make it okay. When we call crampy, PMS-ridden cycles “normal” we diminish very real issues and lead people with periods to accept pain and suffering.

Our team is on a mission to make healthy periods the new normal – to make bright red the new normal, to make cramp-free the new normal, to make PMS-free the new normal. Will you join us?

Seeing Red – the One Book Everyone with a Period Needs to Read

We’re excited to announce that our founder, women's health expert Kirsten Karchmer, wrote a book! Here’s what she has to say about it – and how you can help her shift the menstruation conversation:

About a year ago, I was approached by Simon and Schuster to write a book on women’s health based on the work I had been doing in my clinics over the last two decades. I was delighted to have the opportunity to tell the world what I had been telling thousands of women in my clinic every day: Getting your period isn’t a curse; it’s the most valuable feedback mechanism we have to understand our overall health, and it is a tool we can use to create a roadmap away from suffering and towards amazing health.

As part of my clinical work, I helped my patients decode what their menstrual cycles were telling them about their overall health. Often, when I explained what their symptoms were signaling, they got mad and asked, “why don’t all women know this?”

Seeing Red seeks to fix that – to close the menstrual knowledge gap and make the insights I shared with my patients available to all people with periods.

It dispels myths, untangles the stigma that keeps so many of us silent about our suffering, and provides tools that give people with periods a newfound agency around their cycles and health.

Here’s a taste of what to expect from the book (pulled from the introduction):

  • Women are marching. They are rising and calling “Time’s Up.” They are harnessing their rage to demand change like never before. Yet, there is a critical missing piece that no one is talking about: how can women possibly take our place, defend our rights and earn equality when over 80% of us are sick from our periods every month?
  • More than 80% of all women of menstruating age in the United States experience significant, life-interrupting side effects from their periods every month. Beyond severe cramping, many have serious underlying conditions like PCOS, Endo, PMDD, and infertility. We act like this is normal. ​It is not​. These numbers represent epidemic conditions, and these conditions are HIGHLY predictive of the diseases that kill women (heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and estrogen-dependent tumors).
  • Still, we stay silent. We have been conditioned to hide and sanitize; to have shame for possibly the most important biological function that ensures the future of our species.
  • Times are changing. This book, Seeing Red explores how the history of the menstrual cycle got us here, the current state of women’s health, and how to change things. It’s an opportunity to re-educate women that their cycles are not a curse but possibly the most valuable, regularly occurring and free health feedback/diagnostic tool they have. A woman’s cycle is the only recurring feedback tool that a woman can use to measure her overall health. It can also provide a roadmap for fixing it and improve not only her current and future health and quality of life but also her access to power and freedom.
  • If our goal as a society is to REALLY empower women, we have to start with women’s health. It’s time we broke the silence surrounding the messy, uncomfortable matters related to the female body. It’s time we started SEEING RED.

I need your help. My goal is to shift the conversation about menstruation and get it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list – this will give us access to every media outlet, so we can reach all corners of the world and begin to change what is possible for people with periods everywhere.

If this conversation is important to you or someone you love, please help me by sharing this post on social media. You can also pre-order Seeing Red here. Better periods await.