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Female Friday

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August 17, 2018

Yes, I’m still coming at you with vacation photos, because I’ve been catching up with real life for the last few weeks. This particular photo is of the MAAT in Lisbon. It wasn’t my favourite museum, but I did love the structure! 

Be sure to check these articles out:

Women with PCOS are often unhappy with their doctors

“”Patients with PCOS felt that the PCP spent less effort and were less qualified to treat PCOS health concerns than general health,” write the study authors.”

Note: PCP refers to primary care providers. 

When you go to the doctor, it’s important that you feel heard, and your experience validated. It’s also one of the reasons why I’ve tailored my practice to mostly women’s health, specifically around transitions between the menstrual cycle and post-pregnancy. I have knowledge in areas like cancer and sports medicine, but don’t see clients with those concerns as most of my continuing education is in the realm of women’s health. All that preamble is to say, that if you feel that your doctor isn’t well-versed in the condition you may have – it’s okay to get a second opinion, and find someone who is comfortable treating the condition you have. 

Is your fertility data for sale?

“The risks of using these apps go far beyond their efficacy as contraceptives. In sharing data about their fertility and sexual histories, users are surrendering information about reproductive freedoms — having sex outside of marriage, choosing when to use contraceptives, having access to safe and legal abortions — that are denied to women in many countries, and under threat in others”

This is a pretty interesting read about your data and what it can potentially be used for. I’ve been tracking my period and some of my other data since 2014 because I find it easy to do so on an app. And like many others, I scroll through the TOS and always click ‘accept.’ It may be worthwhile to reconsider which apps you’re using and why, and return to doing most of your tracking on paper (which, personally, I find makes me slightly more accountable to myself anyway). 

What you need to know about the pill

One of my Naturopathic Heroes, Dr. Lara Briden ND, spills some truths about the pill and periods. 

An app gets FDA approval as a contraceptive device

(This app is one of the apps mentioned int the fertility data article above)

“FDA issued its first-ever approval to one of these apps for use as contraception, called Natural Cycles. Because a woman’s body temperature increases slightly during ovulation, the app works by asking women to use a basal thermometer (which is more sensitive than a regular thermometer) to keep a daily log of their temperature, and then uses that information to flag fertile days and days when users could have sex without worrying about getting pregnant” 

But…

“other research suggests that using it as a sole method of contraception may be a risky choice: A 2016 study in the journalObstetrics and Gynecology found that out of 53 common fertility-tracking apps and online tools, only four could actually predict a woman’s fertile period with a high degree of accuracy, and fertility experts have argued that relying on basal body temperature is too simple a measure to track ovulation. Real-life experience, meanwhile, suggests the same thing: Earlier this year, 37 women in Sweden who used Natural Cycles reported that they’d gotten pregnant while using the app to prevent exactly that.”

So what does this mean? I believe that it’s important for us to pay attention to all fertility signs – including basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and cervical position if we choose not to use a hormonal non-hormonal form of birth control (ie. copper IUD). Relying on an app, instead of cues from our body doesn’t provide us with enough information to make a choice if we want to have a pregnancy or not. 

Train in tune with your cycle

Since there’s a lot of news from the app world this week – what about an app that will help you choose which exercise you so do while you’re on your period? I just downloaded FITR and am going to give it a go for the next couple of weeks to determine how it works with my personal physiology.   

Female Friday

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August 10, 2018

How is the rest of your summer shaping up? Since returning from vacation, I *think* I’m ready for all things fall – knits, homemade PSLs, and changing leaves.

This photo is from an abandoned castle on the Tejo River in Portugal. In order to reach the castle, you need to take a boat (less than 5 minutes). It has a stunning view of the landscape and gave me some Game of Thrones vibes. 

Here’s what you should be reading today:

How your period changes your brain

Do you believe that your brain functioning changes around your period? For example, as estrogen and progesterone levels increase during the month, women typically use both sides of their brain (instead of just one), potentially allowing for more flexibility of thinking. 

What is pelvic organ prolapse?

Defined as: “one or more pelvic organs drops from their normal position in the body. These organs include the uterus, intestines, vagina, bladder, and rectum.” The Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support Organization estimates that up to 50 percent of all women may have some degree of POP…general symptoms include a feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area, a lower backache, painful intercourse, a feeling that something is falling out of the vagina, urinary problems such as leaking of urine or a chronic urge to urinate, constipation, and spotting or bleeding from the vagina.

If this is something that you feel you might be experiencing, be sure to book an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist for further assessment. 

Endometriosis Reads

For those of you who may be living with endometriosis, have you read any of these books? I’ve read a few, my favourite being ‘Doing Harm.’ Check out my Facebook and Instagram to watch my reviews!

A survey of 1000 vaginas in 2018

All vaginas are not created equal. Check out this survey that The Kit recently released. 

Beyonce shining a light on preeclampsia

Are you familiar with pre-eclampsia? Beyonce is sharing her experience with it.

Female Friday

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August 3, 2018
female friday

Please bear with me as I’ll be sharing the most gorgeous photos for the next little while. I just returned from holiday, where I was lucky enough to visit Portugal and visit a *slice* of what it had to offer. A few of my favourite things: floating in the Atlantic, biting into a fresh pasteis de belem and driving along the Douro Valley. 

Here’s what you should be reading:

Are you experiencing true intimacy?

An exploration of the four types of intimacy: physical, emotional, intellectual, and digital.

Do you know when fertility declines?

“Only 38 percent of men and 45 percent of women stated correctly that a woman’s fertility declines between 35 and 39 years of age, and only 18 percent of men and 17 percent of women knew that men’s fertility declines between 45 and 49, the authors said.”

I definitely did not learn about fertility in university, although I did learn about contraception, consent, and supportive resources on campus during Frosh Week (and as a student health educator). Fertility is a huge topic in naturopathic medicine, as women often turn to NDs to learn how they can support their fertility using natural means. With some of my friends, fertility is something we talk about a lot – especially as we’re female entrepreneurs. Having this conversation in university is important, especially with people who can help you navigate the complexities of the issue. 

Where to NOT store birth control

Do you take the birth control pill? You might want to reconsider where you store it. 

A new endometriosis drug

In a placebo-controlled clinical trial involving almost 900 women with moderate to severe endometriosis pain, elagolix reduced menstrual pain in over 40 per cent of patients and non-menstrual pelvic pain in over 50 per cent when taken as a once-daily pill. It also reduced average pain ratings during sex.

The drug works by reducing oestrogen – the hormone that drives endometriosis. Because it only lowers oestrogen slightly, it can be taken for up to two years. In contrast, injectable hormone treatments can only be taken for 6 months because they lower oestrogen more powerfully and cause bone loss”

Lifestyle tricks that may also lower estrogen? Avoiding plastic, choosing organic when possible, using non-toxic makeup. 

How to stay in the moment

Are you a clock-timer or event-timer?

“If you’re the type who struggles to stay present — if too many of your minutes are punctuated by a million other worries about what you still need to get done — it can be helpful to make a conscious effort, every so often, to shift yourself into more of an event-timer mindset. Try thinking of your day in terms of a to-do list, which keeps the timing of individual tasks open-ended, rather than a calendar, which designates a chunk of time for each one. Or take a break when you feel fatigued, rather than sticking it out to the time you’d designated in your mind as an appropriate stopping point.”

The pelvic floor and pain with sex

A good read on what pelvic floor physiotherapists do, and how they may help you with your ‘down there’ concerns.