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.

Period Poverty

Reusable products could be used by women in developing countries to have freedom to leave the house during their period

Menstrual Cups

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 

Plastic free tampons  

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

Hormonal Contraception:

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

regular exercise

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  

Egg freezing

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

staying active


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:




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