“How come we even have a Society for Menstrual Cycle Research?
Don’t we already know how it all works?”
That’s what my friend said to me when I was telling him something about something that came up related to the Society.
Well, do we?
—Already know how it all works.
I’ll go first.
I totally don’t.
For example, I didn’t grasp that taking birth control pills meant not having a period—even though I had been taking them for over 20 years.
And, when I mentioned that to someone recently, she said, “What do you mean? I thought the pill regulated your period…” The woman who overheard us, leaned in, “What? I don’t understand. I thought it controlled when…”
This isn’t the only time I’ve been in a conversation, where most of us didn’t know much about how our bodies work when it comes to the menstrual cycle. We just hadn’t given much consideration to the internal processes, nor to the effects of the things we do to manage our cycle experiences (personal and social) as they relate to our day-to-day well-being, sexuality, fertility, relationship with the environment…
It’s not unusual to be involved in things we don’t fully understand. What all the parts do, and how they interact, and why the whole thing is organized the way it is—none of that is self-evident. So if nothing prompted you to ask, or to go deeper, wider than the first level of understanding (I took birth control pills to avoid getting pregnant, didn’t think it any further), then you stopped where you stopped.
In addition to what we individual women don’t know we don’t know, collectively, we do not know all about how the menstrual cycle works.
New discoveries are being made all the time, and not everyone agrees about what they mean, and sometimes they undo what we thought we understood.
I don’t see how we could ever be done understanding how our bodies work in general. Our bodies are continually evolving, as are our lifestyles and our environment. And, specifically, when it comes to the menstrual cycle, I think my friend’s point of view is a typical one, maybe informed by the femcare aisle in the drug store, the condom rack nearby, and that the pill is (probably) available behind the pharmacist’s counter. That about covers it, right?
Must admit: I used to think so.
The mission of the Society is here: http://menstruationresearch.org/about-the-society/. Read it.
What do you think?
Do you feel sufficiently informed, equipped, able and healthy when it comes to every aspect of your life impacted by the workings of your menstrual cycle?
Are new research developments clear to you?
Do you know what to expect throughout your menstrual life stages? What’s deemed typical, within a range of normal, and what’s a sign of a health issue?
How much variation is there among us?
What tells you when to look further, and when to accept the current perspective—and where do you go to get that information and guidance?
Do you feel supported by what is available to you?