Today we are going to talk about douching. The word "douche" is the French verb for "to clean". In the United States and many other parts of the world, douching is the act of flushing out the vagina with water, vinegar, "feminine washes", or other liquids. Douching is still relatively common with 1 in 4 women between the ages of 15 and 44 regularly practicing it in the US. Women of color are more likely to douche than their Caucasian counterparts, and teenagers of all races commonly do it1. With so many people engaging in the practice of douching, it is important to take a look at the impact that douching can have on your health and wellness, and the reasons why people started doing it in the first place.
There are a lot of names out there that people use to describe their reproductive organs. I have heard women talk about their "lady bits", "hooha", "cookie", "vajayjay", "vajean", "bajingo", "beaver", "fanny", "bathing suit area", "private parts", "box", "snatch", "junk" and more. The closest we usually come to hearing correct terminology is the use of the word "vagina", but interestingly enough, it is most commonly misused. I have posted a few blogs about menstruation that explain a little bit about the our reproductive organs, but as I was working on another post today, I realized that with so much uncertainty about what is going on in our reproductive systems, some terms may be a bit confusing. So today, we are going to look at the female reproductive system, learn the names for each organ and structure, and what they do. We will start from the outside and work our way in.
If you are a woman young or old who has been of the age of menstruation, you have undoubtedly heard the term PMS. It is a term that gets thrown around a lot, often in ways which show little understanding of what it is. Many of us have been accused of having PMS if we are irritable, if we feel and speak passionately about something, cry for any reason, or sometimes even if we merely disagree with someone. Some women have even been told that PMS isn't really a thing, it is just a figment of their imaginations. This is very untrue. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is an actual phenomenon linked to our menstrual cycles. A term that is not thrown around a lot is Dysmenorrhea. It is so uncommon to hear about, that both the term and abbreviation for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are easily accepted by auto correct, but I am told that Dysmenorrhea is not even a word. Like Premenstrual Syndrome, Dysmenorrhea is a collection of symptoms linked to our menstrual cycles. So today in our quest for more knowledge about the menstrual cycle, we are going to talk about those two terms, what they mean, and how to treat them.
Having a period is a very normal, natural thing for women to experience. It is shocking to me that so many people are still afraid to talk about it, and that so few people even know what a period is. In my last post, I gave an introduction to menstruation that went over all of the phases of your menstrual cycle, and what is happening during each one. In this installment, we will talk about your options when it comes to feminine hygiene products. Most of us are aware of our disposable options (pads and tampons), and we will go over those very briefly, but for many the world of reusable feminine hygiene products is still a bit of a mystery. For those of you who are looking for safer options to replace the disposables, looking for something greener, or looking to save some money in the long run, read on to learn about some of your options.
Ah, the period. We have been taught that it is something to be ashamed of, to hide away, perhaps even to fear. For many young women, the time leading up to her first period is full of excitement and anticipation as she awaits the arrival of "womanhood". After that (perhaps not so) glorious event, she is very quickly taught that you don't talk about your period and it is best to try and avoid anyone finding out you have it. Today, we are going to break the taboo surrounding periods. (Did you know that the word taboo is actually derived from the word tapua which literally means menstruation?) Today we are going to talk about it.
I have found that far too many women do not know anything about their periods or their menstrual cycles. Even the words seem to be a jumble as many are not sure which terms mean which things. (Is the egg what comes out when we have a period? Is ovulation the same as menstruation? What are all of those anatomy terms?) Instead we cover it up with innuendo and (not so) cute nicknames like Aunt Flow, the curse, or "that time of the month". So, instead of perpetuating the mystery of menstruation, lets talk about the basics. What is your period?
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to furthering women's health through bodywork and education, and helping women to have healthier lives and positive birth experiences.