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Fearless, Period.

Why Are Girls Reaching Puberty Earlier And Earlier?

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By: Saumya Bajaj

In 2010, a study was published that found that more and more girls are reaching puberty earlier and earlier, sometimes by the age of 6 or 7. This is also known as precocious puberty. This can cause bones to fuse early and cause them to  be shorter than their genetics originally indicated. In, face, people who go through this are more likely to a have a myriad of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, eating disorders, and depression, along with being more likely to abuse substances.

https://www.menstrupedia.com/articles/puberty/physical-changes-girls

https://www.menstrupedia.com/articles/puberty/physical-changes-girls

So, why is this happening more and more? First of all, it’s important to note that it might just be genetics, so knowing when your mom hit puberty is helpful in know whether or not it actually happened to you. One reason might be the obesity epidemic in America. Body fat encourages the release of estrogen, so it makes sense that girls with higher BMIs tend to hit puberty earlier than normal. Diet is also a big part of this as well.

Emotional stress can also be a stressor. (I’m not sorry for my puns.) Girls with parents who have a bad marriage or have an untreated mental illness also tend to reach puberty earlier than other girls.

These reasons have led researchers to conclude that reaching puberty early is a result of evolution, an effect of their surrounding environment. This has many physical and psychological damages on a girl, though, so it is imperative for scientists to find a concrete reason for this.

The Evolution of Period Products

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By: Saumya Bajaj

It's hard to imagine life without pads or tampons(or your tracking app), but that is how women have had to live for the majority of human history, and sometimes still do. With or without these, women still have periods. So, let's take a look at the evolution of period products.

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❖   Ancient History: Most women either used cloth, animal skin, or plants like papyrus or grass; however, most women were on their own to find ways to stop from leaking on everything. In fact, in Ancient Greece, it is well recorded that a woman threw a used sanitary cloth to get rid of a stalker.

❖   1888: Nurses in France realized that the bandages they used to patch up people were a lot better at absorbing blood than the cotton cloth generally used at that time to stop period blood from leaking onto women’s clothes, so they started using the wood pulp bandages. Soon after, commercial companies starting using that idea and some of the first commercial pads-known as Southhall pads-were available for sale in France. In the US, Lister’s Towels: Sanitary Towels for Ladies from Johnson & Johnson were released.

❖   1920s: By this time, many different sanitary pads were for sale, but women still felt uncomfortable buying them, so Johnson & Johnson changed the name of the Lister’s Towels to Nupak. Even then, they were still much too expensive for most women, but when women could buy them, they would place money in a box so they wouldn’t have to speak to a clerk who was almost certainly male. They would also have to use a sanitary belt, which you would use by tying your pad to the ends of the belt.

❖   1931: Dr. Earl-Haas invented and patented the first modern tampon, Tampax, later selling it to Gertrude Schulte Tenderich.

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❖   1936: Judith Essar-Mittag created the o.b. tampon. It was a tampon without an applicator, making it more environmentally-friendly than a regular tampon. It was marketed as much more effective at guarding against leaks. She later sold her patent to Johnson & Johnson.

❖   1937: Leona Chalmers patented the first usable menstrual cup, though it was not very successful.

❖   1980s: This was around the time when the adhesive strip came to be in use for period “technology.” This quickly became women’s preferred menstrual product. Throughout the years, pads became thinner and more discreet.

❖   2002: The first reusable silicone menstrual cup was created and sold in the UK through Mooncup, eventually spreading to Europe, and then the United States.

Menstrual hygiene has come leaps and bounds since the 20th century,  but the reality is that many women still don’t have access to these products. Because of this, many girls and women can never finish school, making it virtually impossible for them to ever get out of poverty. We still have leaps and bounds to go, so let’s not celebrate just yet.

Nepali Menstruation Hut Crisis

Taboo on Menstruation, Current EventsCode RedComment

By: Colleen Claire

Menstrual taboo is becoming increasingly popular not just in the United States, but around the world. In the last few months, there have been numerous reports on the ‘menstrual huts” in Nepal.  When menstruating, women are banished to small, confined huts throughout their cycle by their family.   

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http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/10/asia/nepal-menstruation-hut-deaths-outrage/index.html

This practice is called Chaupadi, a tradition that views women menstruating as “impure”. Women are not involved in household activities, nor can they have any contact with men. In some parts of Nepal women are not allowed to touch books or learn in fear they will anger Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge. Women who do not follow these rules are blamed for unanticipated circumstances, such as poor cultivation, illness, or the death of an animal. While this practice is banned, some parts for Nepal still follow the tradition.

Early this summer, a girl was sent to a shed during her period. During her exile, the young woman was bitten by a snake twice. She later died due to delayed medical attention as her family took her to a shaman instead of a doctor. Another case of this arose in late 2016 when a woman was sent to a hut. She died trying to light a fire for warmth.

The idea of women being expelled into a confined space because they are bleeding from their uterus in immoral and continues to grow the stigma behind periods. Nepali girls are being taught that periods are shameful, almost as if it is a sin. They are not able to celebrate becoming a woman when the time comes. They will grow up in a society where they feel belittled because of their anatomy and continue to give their future daughters this way of thinking.

Ironically, Nepal has female leaders running it’s government, yet there has been no mention of this issue anywhere. Whether you are male or female, someone needs to speak up. I am saying this with a human rights approach, not a feminist perspective. Young women are dying, feeling disgraced, and even raped because of these huts. Women need to be educated on menstrual health not, humiliated.

 

How to Deal With the Worst Part of Each Month: Period Pain

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By: Saumya Bajaj

This is literally my body: “You. You have yet again not passed on your genes this month. You must now be punished with week-long bleeding, cramps, and soreness.” Now, there has to be some kind of loophole here, some kind of solution to the pain. And, guess what, there are multiple solutions; however, it is important to note that if your cramps are so unbearable that it hurts to move every time you get your period, you should see a doctor. You might just need to get prescription-strength painkillers, or it might be a serious condition such as endometriosis.

    Now, here are some effective ways to lessen cramps, headaches, soreness, and just general pain:

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  • Painkillers.Whether it be ibuprofen or aspirin, the most obvious solution is a painkiller. They’re quick, effective, and most people’s go-to.

  • Hot Water Bottle. This one is my go-to. It really helps, especially with cramps, the only downside being you have to be stationary while using it.

  • Heating Strips. These are essentially the solution to the stationary problem with a hot water bottle. You can use them while at school, work, the gym, or anywhere else you desire. They are inconspicuous and a great pain reliever.

  • Exercise. Multiple studies have shown that exercise is super helpful to relieve cramps and soreness. I know it’s the last thing you want to do, but it does help.

  • Give Up Caffeine. You probably want to kill me, but, I mean, technically it is a drug, and you can be addicted to it. Maybe some herbal tea? Even citrus fruits help.

  • A nice relaxing massage. Do I need to say anything else?

  • Happiness. The release of endorphins have been shown to help relieve pain. Find a way to make yourself happy. “Treat yo self.”