Get Your Glow Back – Episode 30 – With Brooke Vandermolen
Plastic Free Periods
How many periods does each woman have in a lifetime and how much plastic will she consume through sanitary products if we don’t move away from these traditional options.
Reusable products could be used by women in developing countries to have freedom to leave the house during their period
A research paper published in the lancet found menstrual cups are safe and effective
Can be used by most women, even if you’ve not had a baby or if you have a coil.
There are lots of different brands out there, to find the cup which will work best for you here is a quiz here.
Thinx – period pants for protected free bleeding
Reusable pads – similar to typical sanitary towels
What is considered a regular cycle?
every 28 days from the first day to the first day
The normal range varies between 21 – 35 days
You don’t need to have periods every month, the pill can be taken back to back if it’s the combined pill.
4 periods a year minimum is considered ‘healthy’ without hormonal contraception
With hormonal contraception its okay to have less
If you are trying to get pregnant you probably need to be having more regular periods, if you try naturally for 6 months and aren’t successful and aren’t having regular periods, doctors can help make periods more regular and increase the chance of conception
Amenorrhea or loss of period
very common post baby especially when breastfeeding due to hormones inhibiting ovulation
if you are regular and then stop and you aren’t pregnant seek medical advice
weight loss/gain can contribute.
What is it: a condition when there is a growth of the lining of the womb where it shouldn’t be, can cause scar tissue to form causing pain.
Symptoms: very irregular periods, severe period pain, pain on one side.
if your periods are unmanageably painful see your GP
Treatment: hormonal contraception may help – mirena coil or pill
Diagnosis: On average takes 7 years to diagnose
Diagnosed with an operation – camera inside body to see the endometriosis – quite invasive
Can cause infertility – due to scar tissue affecting, lining, ovaries, fallopian tubes can sometimes be helped with operations a lot of women first find out about their endometriosis when trying for a baby
having polycystic ovaries and having PCOS is different
lots of people have polycystic ovaries but not the full syndrome which is usually indicated by excessive hair, skin problems and difficulty losing weight and controlling blood sugars
Polycystic ovaries are the most common reason for irregular periods.
PCOS is managed through lifestyle and diet it isn’t curable but there are specific treatments for it’s symptoms e.g. acne or hairgrowth and to regulate periods with medication and help with ovulation when you want to conceive.
condoms are the only ones that protect again STIs
Non hormonal contraception:
copper coil – you can have it implanted at most gp practices or sexual health clinics.
The procedure is like a smear test
The copper coil can stay in for up to ten years, no real effects on your body other than preventing pregnancy. Post partum it can be put in more comfortably in hospital in the 48 hours after birth
Can get pregnant on the same day it is taken out.
If your periods are manageable it’s a great option but it can make your periods heavier so not advised for people with heavy periods
Apps: being cycle aware, works by using a thermometer to establish where you are in your cycle and advising whether or not to have sex that day.
Not recommended, its great to be aware of your body and your cycle especially for getting pregnant but for avoiding pregnancy it requires a lot of specific intake from user like taking temperature at the same time a lot of space for user error which could lead to an unwanted pregnancy
maybe good for someone who doesn’t mind getting pregnant
The pill: there are two types: combined or progesterone only
the difference is whether they contain estrogen,
Doctor chooses which based on patient history
Not ideal as there is space for user error.
No long term effects on fertility but it can take a while to get periods back
Mirena coil: hormonal coil
can stay in for 3 – 5 years
Releases progesterone which thins lining of womb, helps for heavy or painful periods
BMI is important for fertility
learning about the patterns of your discharge to find out more about your cycle,
Secondary infertility: breastfeeding may reduce fertility, it’s important to regularly check sperm, not smoking
Increasing fertility: smoking, alcohol, also stops you getting fertility treatment on nhs if either smoke,
Pelvic pain in pregnancy
Symptoms: Pain in the back, thighs, front of the pelvis
When to seek: if you are struggling to get out and about seek help
the earlier you seek help the easier it is for doctors to help you
get referral to physiotherapist on the NHS to get exercises that help tailored to the individual that you can do at home and really help.
Brooke’s blog for pelvic pain tips
Age has the biggest effect on fertility
high miscarriage rate because quality of eggs decreases with age
the earlier the better for freezing your eggs, quite invasive and costly
you are unlikely to regret freezing them but more likely to regret not
Preparing for birth
knowledge is empowering, you can understand why doctors are making the decisions they are making and can make things less scary and more positive
antenatal education -classes on NHS, private courses, online education
perineal massage to help to stretch perineum and reduce risk of tearing
prolapse, speaking to your friends about things makes it more normal and much easier to deal with
if you are leaking urine you don’t have to accept it there is a lot you can do
when you see your GP or physiotherapist they can do an internal examination and if you have a prolapse (weakening of your vagina/bladder pushing into vagina) there is a lot you can do to strengthen it,
a women’s health physiotherapist can provide exercise
there are tools that can help to do pelvic floor exercises
Elvie pelvic floor trainer which can be prescribed on the nhs.
Pelvic floor exercises have to be done effectively and there is only so much they can do if you already have a problem.
Where to find Brooke: