To know your parts is to love them.
Alright fellas, we’re talking ladybits this time around. Although you may feel the urge to run, I hope you stay! After all you may not have a vagina but someone you love does! There. I said it. Vagina! Now that we got that out of the way…
I work with ladies every single day. Young, old, mothers, grandmothers, babies, sisters, wives, business owners, thinkers, friends, you name it. What really strikes a cord with me when I work with all of these lovely ladies is how disconnected we, as a gender, can be from our parts. How they work, how they look and feel, how they age, etc. Knowing our bodies, more intimately than we might be comfortable with, can not only alter our lives but also ultimately save our lives.
The female body works in wondrous ways and is in a constant state of change. Every day there is some sort of physiological action happening. Ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause all are scenes in a grand play complete with a ton of behind the scenes action. Everyday there is a chance to learn something new. With so much happening aren’t you at least curious? Knowing your body and how it works can open your eyes and mind to a whole new world.
Take the menstrual cycle for example. This typically 28-day cycle is jam packed with busy hormones and cells working in synchronicity. Knowing your menstrual cycle can not only act family planning but also can clue you in on some pathological events that can be occurring. Heavy menses, cramping, PMS, bloating, etc aren’t always just a token gift from our “Monthly Visitor”. In fact in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) these are considered abnormal events in a monthly cycle. In TCM we look at the health of the menses cycle as a direct reflection of health in general. The root of these disturbances may not be dangerous for our overall health or longevity but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore these signs or take a pill to forget about them. It’s entirely possible to have a less painful and cranky period!
More often than not when there is a gynecological issue that comes up the birth control pill is the first thing that is thrown at “the problem”. Sure that is one easy way to mask the issue, but what if we took the time each month to fully understand our cycle and how that relates to the rest of our lives? Yes, this takes a ton of patience and a lot of time. Just ask any woman with fertility problems – these ladies could practically become gynecologists. But why should it take something like infertility to get our attention?
Culturally we are conditioned to keep our downstairs business to ourselves and just take it as it comes. We have cute names for our periods, ridiculous commercials hawking overpriced and often dangerous feminine “hygiene” products, and ever changing guidelines when it comes to annual women’s health exams. And while I don’t think we need our Facebook statuses to reflect our menstrual cycle I do think an empowered and dare I say it, celebratory, attitude is vital to gynecological health and well-being.
Really understanding your body and approaching gynecological health with an open and curious mind can save your life. It certainly saved mine. Years of really getting to know my body came in handy when I realized something wasn’t right. Even when countless doctors and tests told me the opposite, I knew my body well enough to know I had to continue finding an answer. My persistence and listening to my body’s warning signs, and finally finding the right doctor gave me an early cancer diagnosis. And while I consider myself supremely lucky to have my cancer caught so early, I take credit for getting myself that diagnosis in a timely manner. It was me that booked countless appointments, raised my voice when nobody would listen and it was me that paid attention to this body of mine.
Getting to know your self isn’t all hard work. It can be fun too! I encourage all of you to love your ladyparts! Or your lady’s parts! What fella doesn’t want to help out with monthly breast exams? Getting to know yourself in a deeper way can enrich your sex life, help you reach fertility goals or help to understand and possibly change your menopause experience. Ultimately, and I think more importantly, knowing your body gives you the power to make more informed health decisions. Women’s health is important and it starts with each and every one of us.