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bklynhermit
no, i mean i'm really never on the same cycle as other women. i've spent a lot of time living in dorms and collective living arrangements with other women who i was very close with. they'd all synch up, and then i'd get mine 2 weeks later regular like clockwork.

i know that periods are not inherently 'mystical', it's really more my feelings about them. and the fact that they are based in physics makes it even moreso!

also, ven, i'm now having this amazing mental picture of you running around the house putting that sense of smell to the test. unfortunately my bionic smell usually results in a greater ability to inadvertantly smell gross stuff (though i do smell good stuff, too, i just rarely think to go around smelling flowers on purpose!). it's a good indicator of 'time to clean the bathroom', but definitely a bad time to clean the fridge.

i don't think i'm more sensitive to hot and cold, but i am more sensitive to sound, especially those little droning white-noise noises given off by appliances around the house.
pepper
how do you 'know' that periods are not inherently mystical? maybe they aren't but maybe they are and some people just miss it. can't 'know' that kind of thing for sure. i'm keeping an open mind.
venetia
Yes, I like to switch everything off at the wall (I'm a bit like that anyway though). And definately if something in the fridge is a teensy bit "iffy" that's when I find it and throw it out.

This got me wondering what does "mystical" actually mean? I'm thinking, you can only 'know' whether you yourself experience something as mystical.

According to dictionary .com (my SOED isn't working)

1. Of or having a spiritual reality or import not apparent to the intelligence or senses.
2. Of, relating to, or stemming from direct communion with ultimate reality or God: a mystical religion.
3. Enigmatic; obscure: mystical theories about the securities market.
4. Of or relating to mystic rites or practices.
5. Unintelligible; cryptic.

bklynhermit
i'm guessing that in this here conversation, we're mostly using meaning #3, with certain combinations of 1 and 2. #2 almost exactly reflects my "mystical" feelings about my period. i do feel like it's a very deep and direct connection to 'god', or ultimate reality, or the heart of the earth or however one conceptualizes that part of existence that we can't ever quantify or fully comprehend.

though my feelings there have more to do with what my period means to me rather than what i believe to be the actual inner workings of the menstrual cycle as a physiological event. i'm pretty sure that if we devoted enough research funding to studying menses in the right ways, we'd have it pretty well figured out in no time.

it's really appalling the lack of research that's been done on women's health outside of the most rudimentary, obvious, and male-centric stuff. the amount of things we don't know about HPV and cervical cancer is unreal. not to mention vulvodynia and the rest of the 'psychosomatic' pain-centered female illnesses, fertility, menopause, the ENTIRE menstrual cycle, the clitoris, etc. etc. etc. anything that doesn't easily fall in with current approaches in western medicine or directly impact men. nobody has scratched the surface on any of that.

and then we wonder why simply pumping women full of more hormones doesn't solve all our problems.
pepper
oh, hello, don't forget the g spot sister.
remember that conversation a while ago about someone who's doctor said it didn't even exist?
still, to this day, actual doctors are throwing that nonsense out there.

doesn't exist *snort*! give me a break.
bklynhermit
yes! exactly! my favorite g-spotism is the fact that it's named after the male researcher who discovered it. priceless.

also let us not forget that in 25 years of HIV/AIDS nobody has bothered to do any real conclusive research about whether or not lesbians are in any way likely to spead it to each other.
jasmith
Interesting point about lesbians and AIDS. Perhaps it's because gay men are more likely to spread it, given the nature of their sexual activities (the parts involved, and all)? That's not intended to knock gay men in any way, btw.
bklynhermit
but we don't know that. and the question of lesbian sex and STD transmission has gone unanswered for a long time. now i agree that if suddenly there were huge epidemics of STDs coursing through lesbian channels, begging the question so to speak, the research would come pouring in.

but this is what i mean about rudimentary, obvious, and male-centric research. if dykes are passing STIs amongst themselves, what does that have to do with dudes? and we're not dying off by the zillions forcing somebody to do some research already. and there's no money to be made from it.

it's really sad (and scary) when you open up Our Bodies, Ourselves, and every other paragraph is "we don't know", "research is not conclusive", etc. about EVERYTHING. and it's not because OBOS isn't trying, either.
jasmith
I see what you mean..
tatina
check this
http://www.avert.org/lesbiansafesex.htm
amazing_bass
It's "Our Bodies, Our Hells", not "Our Bodies, Ourselves", unless these are actually two separate entities.

I've heard or read on several occasions that when women live together, their cycles change so that the women end up on the same schedule. I suppose if you know a close friend or group of friends who are on the schedule that you want, you could use this to choose when you have your periods (unless this whole idea is a myth).

Can you believe a GUY added something constructive to a thread like this? What will they think of next!?
pepper
hmm. since lesbian sex isn't just about kissing and touching each other's boobehs, girls are certainly at risk from catching hiv and other std's from one another. i was under the impression (from the aids awareness network in my own small town no less) that there for sure IS research and information on lesbian safe sex practices.
now, not being a homo myself i have almost zero practical experience myself to report but my bi girlfriend sitting next to me right now is FULL of stories. she's telling me shit that scares ME and you all know just how kinky i get.
girls can be just as nasty, mean, dirty and careless as boys. (friend says "if you love your girlfriend, book the both of you for a MANICURE!!).
dude.

ourbodies ourselves. great book, even the version from way back in the 60's is rock on. they can't know everything but info (as inconclusive as it may be) is out there.
tatina
Yeah, lesbian sex gets dangerous as soon as very rough sex or S&M is practiced, vanilla lesbian practices are not considered harmless but low risk, as long as no menstrual blood or is involved. And then of course there remains the issue that lots of lesbians sleep with bisexual women and some sleep with men, and other share needles.
Amazing Bass, the synchronizing of periods is pretty well researched and seems to work on the base of pheromones which directly influence the hormonal systems of all women involved. A great source of research on this and other menstrual phenomenas is Natalie Angier's book "Woman".
maddy29
it's interesting bklynhermit, because I used to feel more connected to my period, and more interested in what it was all about. now i just feel like it's a pain, which i guess is kinda sad!

i don't get the smell thing, but i am more sensitive overall around that time-and not just the weepy kind, my skin feels different, etc. i feel a deep need to curl up in my bed and hibernate and just turn inward. it's a time when things that pass me by during the month kinda catch up with me.

ya know how a lot of women get irritable or whatever during their periods? and how people just say oh watch out, she's pms or on her rag... I think it's really that all those things you have to just let roll off during life, they come up during that time when we are closer to our bodies and feelings.
mornington
*delurks*
maddy, I know exactly what you mean about turning inward during my period. I'm on the pill, so it's not a real period, but I still have fluctuations in my moods, pmt or whatever you want to call it. I also become more sensitive to sounds and light - I've started to notice that during my cycle I go through a phase where my hearing becomes less specific - the only way I can describe it is if I'm in a room of people, all talking, I can't differentiate between someone talking to me, and someone on the next table over talking to thier friend. But at the same time I become more sensitive to silence - I usually have the radio on all the time.

My periods definintely sync up when I'm living with other women. I remember my housemistress passing some comment on the phenomena - sixty-five women and girls all having thier periods within a ten-day space. The air used to crackle.
bklynhermit
everything i've read about lesbian sex and STI transmission basically says, "booby touching seems to be ok. aside from that we don't know, so you might as well completely wrap yourself in latex until somebody gets around to doing a study." i think at this point they have actually just taken out the 'till somebody gets around to doing a study' because they're tired of waiting for conclusive research and figure absolute caution is the best way to deal.

this does NOT pass for an actual understanding of lesbian sex and STIs, in my book. neither does "bisexuals will totally give you diseases!", which is what that "lots lesbians sleep with bisexual women" sort of talk reeks of in my opinion.

and while OBOS can't know everything, just about everything i've needed to look up in there post-college, from HPV to herbal abortion to vulvodynia, has drawn a pretty big blank. i still love the book, think it's a great resource, and think it should be standard issue to pubsecent girls, but it does an unfortunately fantastic job of illustrating exactly how much we don't know about health problems specific to women. i don't fault the Boston Women's Health Book Collective for this -- i fault a lack of good research in the medical field. i sincerely believe that if there was good trustworthy definitive information out there, OBOS would be providing it. which is why i made the comment about how much "we just don't know" features into the book.

interesting note about OBOS and lesbian/sti issues: just flipped through my copy, and they've broken all sexual activity down by sex act, which i think it a great way to do it. performing cunnilingus is the same regardless of the presence of a Y chromosome, and it's easier for ALL WOMEN to get STIs regardless of whose fluids are penetrating us or what kind of appendage they are stuck to.
tatina
Well, if all of this was correct we would have the same AIDS rates in the lesbian community like in other circles - which is not the case. Those of us who remember the start of the epidemy will remember the amount of male gay friends we lost - while our lesbian girlfriends remained widely unaffected. Without being a sexist - or a lesbian: It is usually a man who gives a woman HIV and unprotected heterosexual penetration is the most common way of getting infected for a woman. Already end of the 80ties it was well established that a woman's risk to get HIV from intercourse is about 13 - 17x procent higher than a man's risk, depending on factor's like her general health and previous STDs. Vaginal tissue is fragile and sperm, which has a very high concentration of the virus, remains in there for a long time.
bklynhermit
i don't dispute that.

what i dispute is that any conclusive research has been done specifically on lesbians and STI transmission. yes, what experts are reccommending is working so far for the women who are following that advice. yes, we do know a few things about women in general and STIs, including that women tend to be slightly more suceptible to them for a variety of reasons.

but as of a few years ago most sources admitted that not a lot of research had been done specifically on lesbians and STIs. and none of that seems to have changed, or if it has it's the phrasing of the advice given, not the facts behind it.

and even if i'm wrong on that one particular issue (and i'd love to be -- please send me links to research on STIs and lesbians!), it's still glaringly obviously true that current western medicine knows practically nothing about the ways that women's bodies work, mostly because modern western medical facilities haven't gotten around to doing much research on women. this is fact. this is true. you can see it in every women's health book you study and every GYN you ask for advice. it's a chorus of "nobody knows". sad but true, and if you don't think it is or haven't experienced this, you must be either hard of hearing or living in a fantasy land.
chachaheels
And you can see it in every single anatomy and physiology/pathophysiology class taught in practically every medical school in existance, bklynhermit. There is still such ignorance about women's bodies, and such ignorance being taught about them. And yet, conventional medical science targets so much of their pharmaceuticals and "treatments" to the "pathologies" (many of these are, in fact, highly questionable illnesses) affecting women predominantly.

It's not accidental that so many unnecessary surgeries (such as the vast majority of hysterectomies and caesarian sections) are performed on women. So many healthy, vital female functions are pathologised (such as menopause, and now, menstruation). When they are seen as a market, women get all kinds of medical "attention". When real health concerns have to be addressed, the funding for the research is always impossible to find.

That being said, if you're narrowing your sights down to what conventional medicine knows, you will find limited information. There are, however, many other well established, long practiced forms of medical systems which have gathered and maintained and continue to catalogue and document the treatment of women's health issues in their respective modalities. You have to understand that a different medical paradigm may be at work, depending on which modality you wish to peek into--but the information is there.

Our Bodies Our Selves was groundbreaking because it actually presented some of that amassed knowledge to women for the first time, and also because it highlighted just how far women can come to understand their bodies if they work together supportively, and share their knowledge.
tatina
I understand your concerns, Bklynhermit, and I share many of them. I agree that independent research is not easy to find - nevertheless, you will find plenty of information about AIDS, STDs and lesbian sex on acitivist's websites, like the one I posted. I will limit myself here to AIDS. The credo in the Lesbian community - after watching the epidemic for 20 years - is still is that Lesbians who are not involved in violent sex or needle sharing and who live in a relatively monogamous relationship are low risk. I so far have not found a single article or website or medical practioner that tells me the opposite. And I doubt if the reason for limited research is entirely sexist. The pharmaindustry is not a humanitarian organization - it works on the base of profit and only profit. Research is dropped when there is no market. A relatively small and relatively healthy segment of the population (Lesbians) will simply not be subject of a major study which can cost millions. The male gay community once provided a big market for AIDS research. Huge summs of money went into studies. The press was homophobic - absolutely - but the researchers were not. The AIDS virus was discovered when AIDS was still a "gay" disease. I remember well how Hoffmann-La Roche dropped their entire, very promising AIDS programme once the AIDS rates in Europe and the US went down and the rates in Africa and Asia were shooting up. And that's the real issue for me. Millions die in the 3nd world of AIDS, while people in the West are given the very expensive AZT therapy and can live relatively normal for a long time. The stigma that 3nd world women with AIDS carry is behond belief. A few years ago there was a government initiative in Bombay to tatoo every AIDS positive prostitute on her inner thigh - not to target the guys, but to brand the woman. This is the real issue of AIDS in the 21st century - I have friends in the West who live for 18-20 years with AIDS, thanks to AZT, here in Asia people die on the streets. In my feeling the situation in the Third World and the crimes of the pharmacy industry there should be our main focus when it comes to AIDS.
pepper
uh, but couldn't you say that about all hetro and homo couples? that those who are not involved in violent sex or needle sharing and who live in a relatively monogamous relationship are low risk.

the rest of your post, ugh. disgustingly true.
can we tattoo people who are idiots right in the center of their foreheads? it would save so many people so much grief.
tatina
Yeah, very true - in the end it's about practices that are high risk, not about sexual orientation.
glassk
i got my last period 16 days ago. got it again today. I'm not sexually active lately, not on birth control fairly regular, (have been for a couple years) and I"m kindof annoyed. I appreciate the length of time in between! So... why? if it's just a one-time fluke, would it be worth going on birth control to regulate it more?
bklynhermit
probably a one-time thing. if you spend the next 2-3 months never knowing when you're just going to randomly bleed, then yeah, talk to your doctor. and be sure to bring this one up if you're due for an appointment soon.

but one early period isn't cause for concern. there could be all sorts of benign reasons for it. are you under more stress than usual, or has your routine changed a lot recently?
tatina
Glassk, it also depends on your age. If you're older than 35 peri-menopause could be a possibility, a time where many women experience shorter intervalls between periods.
glassk
well, i guess i'll have to see. an dyeah i've been under stress, so I hope things all level out. i'll keep tabs on it though.
hopey
first of all... looooove the new digs. whoo hoo. sexy sexy.

now back to topic. I have an IUD and my period is usually a 3-4 day light spotting. but this month, because you know, I have plans and all, my period decided to last for 8 days. And I still have it. It's really really light but it's here nonetheless. I called up my chickdoctor and she said it was nothing to worry about (good) and if I really wanted to stop it, I could take 4 Ibuprofin pills every four hours until it stopped.

Has anyone ever heard of this, and does anyone know of a holistic alternative?
maddy29
never heard of this-how would taking pain killers stop the bleeding? doesn't make sense to me......
pepper
am i the only one who's disturbed by this kind of a suggestion from a doctor? holy mack, nice advice. just drug yourself up honey, don't worry about Why it's happening or anything. dang. i'd call another doctor, one who'd actually take some time to see me, and get a second opinion.
there are some herbs for lessening mentrual flow but if it's coming out of you it's because it has to so... inconvenient as it is, i'd just let it go.
maddy29
i'm disturbed too. also, isn't that a lot more ibuprofen than you're supposed to take in a 24 hour timeframe?
chachaheels
It might be a way of prescribing placebo without actually prescribing a real placebo; that is to say, it gives you something to do so you feel like you're "handling" it--and then, once you feel like you've done something about it, it should go away...and perhaps your doctor felt you were complaining not just of bleeding but also about cramping.

I don't know. Bleeding when an IUD is in place is not to be taken lightly. I think I'd want to know why the bleeding was taking place before prescribing anything at all. It could be a reaction to the hormones that are given with many IUDs or it might be out of place and causing physical damage...or it could be nothing. But it's not really something that could go away with ibuprofen.

Nothing holistic will work to just "fix a problem with a faulty IUD"...because that's not what holistic medicine does.
angie_21
I'm resurrecting this old thread to ask a question that seems to fit best here. I've been off the pill for about 8 months, and my cycles have started to go back to their old ways.. lasting anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks. Until now my cycles have been about 30 days on average, which makes me 3 days "late" today. I was tracking my cycles when I first got off the pill, and I was ovulating fine then, but I stopped after a while. I'm going to start again for the next cycle to see what's going on... assuming there is a next cycle. It looks like I'm goign back to the old routine of using up pregnancy tests every month, too. I've just been diagnosed with PCOS which would explain the problem, but the thing is, in the past I would go through half a year of regular cycles, then a few irregular ones, then back to normal again.

So my questions are... does anyone know what this is? Just stress causing delayed ovulation? I was sick this month. And secondly, I've heard there are herbal rememdies to keep your cycle regular, where can I find out more?
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