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Lauren Streicher, MD, OB/GYN, Explains What Women Might Not Know About Their Period for Menstrual Hygiene Day

May 28, 2019

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 28, 2019--

With menstruation starting as early as age nine, women experience an average of 450-500 periods in a lifetime. From the first period through the reproductive years and perimenopause, confusion surrounds proper menstrual hygiene and good vaginal health.

“While periods are a natural aspect of a woman’s life, they can be met with feelings of embarrassment and misinformation,” says Lauren F. Streicher, MD, Clinical Professor of Ob/Gyn, Northwestern University and Medical Director- Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause. “So instead of speaking about the menstrual cycle with hushed voices, let’s get real about what women might not know.”

Here are some common questions and misconceptions about periods:

  1. What exactly is a period? Think of your period as a detox to get rid unneeded uterine lining and make way for the next cycle.
  2. Those crippling cramps you’re feeling? That’s the uterus contracting to gently push the lining out.
  3. Is it possible to mess with Aunt Flo’s mojo? While some women think that hormonal contraception such as birth control pills that put your period on hiatus are the greatest things since sliced bread, others worry about messing with Aunt Flo’s mojo. Relax, your uterus won’t explode if you don’t have a period. An extended-cycle protocol gives you daily hormones, rather than taking a break from hormones— eliminating your period altogether. And bonus, there are many benefits from hormonal contraception beyond preventing pregnancy such as a reduction in menstrual headaches, period cramps and even ovarian cancer.
  4. What’s the connection between menstruation and pH? Vaginal pH fluctuates during the 28-day cycle and is the least acidic on the days just prior to and during your period, which can alter the levels of healthy vaginal bacteria.
  5. Tampons can retain the fluids that cause pH to increase. Normal vaginal pH is 4.5 and the pH of blood is 7.4, so during your period, the high pH of menstrual blood can cause the pH to increase.
  6. What’s that post period odor? Since the pH level of blood is higher than the normal pH range of the vagina, your period can tip an overgrowth of bacteria that can cause an odor or itch. RepHresh Gel will help restore normal vaginal pH and often will eliminate that funky odor and irritation.
  7. How do I keep normal vaginal bacteria in balance? Look for a daily probiotic that contains vaginal lactobacillus called L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 to promote vaginal health by balancing bacteria. These probiotics are specifically for your vagina, not your digestive tract and allows healthy lactobacilli to restore its natural balance.
  8. What about douching to smell and feel fresh? Douching doesn’t eliminate vaginal odor; it can make it worse by altering pH balance and increase the risk of developing a serious condition like pelvic inflammatory disease that can lead to infertility.

“Menstruation is a normal and healthy indication that all is well. If there’s an odor, don’t cover it up with spray perfumes or try and douche it away. Simple mild soap and water is all that is needed to cleanse the outside of the vagina (vulva),” adds Streicher. “If your monthly dose of RepHresh doesn’t keep post period odor away, time to take a trip to the gyne to see if something else is going on.”

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SOURCE: DrStreicher.com

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 05/28/2019 09:03 AM/DISC: 05/28/2019 09:03 AM


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