Today we herald in Women's Health Week and this year the theme is "Grow your knowledge". As such we thought we would start the campaign sharing with you four lesser known facts about women's health. The facts I have chosen to share are all lessons I have been surprised to learn about myself. They feel like they should be common knowledge, but somehow they aren't. Let's change that.
Menopause is a single day!
You read that right, menopause is a single day.
I had no idea. I honestly thought menopause was the whole time period when your hormones change, as you move out of your reproductive years. That period of time is actually perimenopause.
Perimenopause is the time where you still have cycles, but they are changing, becoming shorter and eventually less frequent leading to menopause. Being the day that marks 12 months since your last menstruation. Everything after this is referred to as post menopause.
Heart attacks can feel different!
While chest pain is the most common symptom experienced by both women and men experiencing a heart attack the pain experienced by women can also be present in the upper back, arms, neck and jaw. Rather than the crushing pressure commonly associated with a heart attack, women may have other non painful symptoms such as:
1 in 9 women live with Endometriosis!
Growing up we are led to believe that periods are painful and that this experience is normal. I always thought of myself as one of the lucky ones with very little discomfort during menstruation.
Periods can have many symptoms associated with them but pain shouldn't be one of them. This normalisation of painful periods by society and the medical profession can make it hard for people experiencing painful periods to be heard and believed. Did you know the average time it takes to be diagnosed with endometriosis is 6.5 years! 11% of our population live with this disease, yet it takes on average 6.5 years.
Well I can certainly believe that. A few years ago I began to experience painful periods along with excessive bleeding even after my period had ended. While I din't have endometriosis I have managed to grow a uterine fibroid. The first two delightful internal ultrasounds both found the solo fibroid but each time I was told it couldn't possibly be responsible for the symptoms I was reporting. Spoilers, it was. Painful periods are not normal, spread the word.
Period poops are a thing!
Yep, period poop is a thing.
I had no idea, knowing this was something I experienced but not really discussing it with anyone until I read in Maisie Hill's book Period Power that it is so common. Now I talk about it often, removing the taboo of talking about periods.
In the lead up to menstruation, prostaglandins stimulate the smooth muscle of the uterus to contract, helping it to shed the lining. These little prostaglandins can also stimulate the bowel creating and increased need to poop in the lead up and during menstruation.
Simply Stronger - here to make exercise simple. Understanding why you should exercise is a giant step towards wanting to exercise.