Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Useful Gifts to Buy this Holiday Season

December 6th, 2012 by Heather Dillaway

The other day a Huffington Post article crossed my desk, titled, “Gift Guide 2012: What To Get The Menopausal Women In Your Life.” According to this article, here are some of the things menopausal women (read: perimenopausal women) might want this December:

  1. Coldfront cooling palm packs (to relieve sweaty palms)
  2. A personal desk fan (for those hot flashes at work)
  3. A “menopause gift basket” filled with healthy treats and goodies, maybe also including vitamins, and alternative remedies for relief, “to stabilize mood and help the body adjust to hormonal changes.”
  4. A Feel Cooler Cooling Mattress Pad or Cooling Pillow that interacts with your nightly body temperatures to cool you down (for night sweats)
  5. Cool Sensations Moisture Wicking Bed Sheets (reportedly for those floods of night sweats you might get)
  6. Hot Girls Pearls – cooling beads to wear around your neck (for hot flashes) – apparently these have even made it onto Oprah’s Show
  7. Tickets to Menopause the Musical
  8. Sweat-wicking pajamas (there are lots of different brands, again to deal with night sweats)

Clearly the theme here is that menopausal women get hot and need relief. Fair enough, for many menopausal women this would be true. But this list got me thinking: what might I add to this list? Here are some I thought of:

  1. Humorous gifts, such as books of jokes about menopause and aging?
  2. Books about menopause
  3. Cookbooks that specialize in natural eating?
  4. A yoga gift certificate? Or other exercise certificate?

I’d love to hear from readers about other ideas for menopause-related holiday gifts.
Then I got to thinking again: If my daughter had reached menarche already, what kinds of holiday gifts could I get her that relate to her life stage? Here are some of the ideas I thought of, and I definitely need help from readers to expand this list:

  1. Pretty reusable (washable) maxi pads (e.g., Lunapads)
  2. A cool bag to carry maxi-pads around in
  3. A cool tampon case (like the ones that Uncommon Goods sells)
  4. Cool new (extra) underwear
  5. A special calendar for her to use to track her periods
  6. New Moon Girls’ magazine (or just an online membership to New Moon Girls)
  7. The book, Our Bodies Ourselves, or other books on puberty and menstruation

So, readers, what else belongs on this list? Those of you already buying for Hannukah and Christmas might have some great ideas…..please chime in!

Strawberries and Spinach: Menstrual Monday 2010

May 3rd, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling

Guest Post by Geneva Kachman, MOLT: The Museum of the Menovulatory Lifetime

Back in 2000, when my Menstrual Monday journey began, an ever-reasonable friend had pointed out it took 13 years for Julia Ward Howe to establish Mother’s Day. Being a holidaymaker, and more on the creative side than reasonable, I poo-poo’d my friend’s caution. Seriously – Julia Ward Howe didn’t have the Internet! Thirteen years is two centuries in Internet time!

Eleven Menstrual Mondays later, I humbly look forward to the year 2012, and raising a glass (of tomato juice) to Julia Ward Howe, unmoved by any doomsday scenarios erroneously attributed to the Mayan calendar. Holidaymaking is just not as easy as it looks!

Display of Uterine Flying Objects (UFOs)

Display of Uterine Flying Objects (UFOs)

On the other hand, Menstrual Monday parties are rather easy to throw. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Check out the official mission statement for Menstrual Monday – of note, the first goal is to create “a sense of fun around menstruation.” One benefit of “silly” party favors and decorations, such as the U.F.O. (Uterine Flying Object), PMS Blowt-Out, and Tampose (tampon + rose = tampose), is that women from all walks of life are put at ease, wondering “what is that?” rather than being focused on menstrual negativity (taboo and shame are such heavy words, aren’t they?).
  2. Ask everyone to bring something from the Five Menstrual Monday Food Groups: Green stuff, red stuff, chocolate, poppy seed, egg. Or serve a spinach salad with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and poppy seed dressing, with chocolate for dessert. Before sitting down to eat, why not chant “green stuff, red stuff, chocolate, poppy seed, egg” a few times, just for fun?
  3. To get the discussion going, you can download A Cuppa Questions from MOLT – the questions are printed on drawings of human ova. Cut the ova out, drop them into a cup, and let each guest select a question. Make sure to download the answer sheet as well. You can also cut out extra circles, for guests to write their own questions on.
  4. If you haven’t tried reusable menstrual pads or menstrual cups before, a Menstrual Monday party is a good time to learn about them. Two such companies are LunaPads and Glad Rags. You and your friends can decide to try these products yourselves – as well as donate pads to young women, who would otherwise be kept out of school.
  5. Display of MOLTwheels and red packaging.

    Display of MOLTwheels and FloFlags

    If you like working with fabric, check out Have a Hester at MOLT, and learn about scarlet letters and flow-dyeing. Right now I’m enamored of red shop rags – I add glitter glue, and use them to package MOLTwheels – the mini-frisbees in the photo. See what ideas you and your guests can come up with.

  6. Individuals can purchase a DVD copy of the documentary Period: The End of Menstruation? for $29.95. For more film suggestions for your party, see the FloFilm Index at MOLT.

I notice I’ve mentioned a couple of things that require spending money – the most intriguing question to me this Menstrual Monday is: Where is the intersection of feminism, menstruation, and entrepreneurship? I’m wondering: How can there be a transformation in attitudes toward the red stuff, without a corresponding transformation in where women’s green stuff (money) is being spent?

Strawberries and spinach: Food for thought, indeed.

Season’s Greetings

December 23rd, 2009 by Elizabeth Kissling

Three unidentified men wearing hideous Christmas sweaters.Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. To commemorate the holiday, here is an mp3 download of the only known Christmas song that mentions tampons: Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas from the Family”.

Flow (of new posts) will be light at re:Cycling over the next few days. Enjoy the season, and thanks for reading!

World Menopause Day

October 25th, 2009 by Elizabeth Kissling

We’re a week late in commemorating World Menopause Day here at re:Cycling. Sounds like a holiday right up there with Menstrual Monday, but it doesn’t sound very celebratory, from what I can discern.

I discovered World Menopause Day, observed annually on October 18, when a press release for GEM Keep it cool™, “the first ever, ready to drink wellness supplement for menopause relief made with natural and nature-identical ingredients free of the risks associated with hormones” showed up in my inbox yesterday. Cynic that I am, I wondered if this holiday was simply about selling products to middle-aged women, so I began poking around on the internetz.

I found that World Menopause Day has a venerable history: it was started in 1984 by the International Menopause Society (IMS) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Both are reputable, credible organizations with admirable goals, so I was easily persuaded that World Menopause Day isn’t all about marketing. IMS marks World Menopause Day by doing its best to spread the word about potential health consequences of menopause:

In observation of the day, the IMS, through its organ the Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies, distributes sample press materials to inform women about menopause, its management and the impact of estrogen loss. World Menopause Day can also be a call to implement policies that support research and treatment in the area of menopausal health.

As the world’s population ages, there will be increasing numbers of women entering menopause and living beyond postmenopause. The potential symptoms of menopause may have a negative impact on the quality of daily life. Moreover, the consequences of menopause can lead to a host of age-related diseases including heart disease and osteoporosis. Nations around the world should continue to educate women about menopause and the benefits of preventive health care.

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) offers similar party plans:

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), in conjunction with The International Menopause Society, recognizes October 18 as World Menopause Day. This important day is acknowledged by the organization as the day when all nations should take active steps to educate women about the health-related implications of menopause.

I grok that many women, probably even a statistical majority, experience some unpleasant symptoms during the menopausal transition. And I know that the Baby Boom generation thinks no one ever experienced menopause before (just like they were the first to experience adolescence, sex, parenthood, and other milestones), but why does all of the acknowledgment of menopause and education about it have to be so clinical? Not to mention so sad. Menopause is not a disease. It’s a natural phase of adult women’s lives, and I’m really hoping it comes with some benefits. (For instance, I’m looking forward to being a wise old crone, esteemed by my community. Being a smart-assed young woman and now, middle-aged woman, hasn’t won me as much esteem as you might think.)

7dwarves_menopI’m tired of seeing menopause represented as abject misery. I was especially distressed to see one blog marking World Menopause Day with this illustration of the Seven Dwarves of Menopause. It’s another pathetic example of propagating the idea that women are ruled by their hormones, which are always destructive. There’s clearly a lot of education to be done about menopause, hence the need for World Menopause Day, but also a need to find ways to celebrate aging.

To learn about official Society for Menstrual Cycle Research views of menopause, read our Testimony to Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH [2009] and our Position Statement on the Women’s Health Initiative & Estrogen Therapy [2007].

Readers should note that statements published in re: Cycling are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.