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The Myth Of Menstruation: Why We Should Stop Accepting Painful Periods

6min read
Health

Most women think that painful periods, PMS, excess weight and low energy are apart of the slew of hormonal issues that accompany our monthly experience. It's just the way it has to be, there is no solution. There are only pain pills, birth control and heating pads. Apparently 90 percent of people who have a period experience some type of pain, while only 15 percent seek any sort of professional help.


However, a woman's nutritionist says that this doesn't have to be the case. When I asked Alisa Vitti, holistic health counselor, nutritionist and founder of the FLO Living Hormone Center, if it's possible to have a pain free and easy period, she said that it's “absolutely possible" and that “problematic periods are the result of hormonal imbalances that can all be corrected with diet and supplements."

As we should all know, menstruation is important. Beyond being a part of our lives, it can also indicate what is going on in our bodies. Even the color of your period blood can let you in on some go-to key information about your body. Nutritional deficiencies, low estrogen levels, imbalances, STI's and infection are among the various ways your cycle can communicate information about your overarching health. Hormonal imbalance can be revealed in the duration and appearance of your period blood.

MyFLO is a phone application that tracks symptoms and learns the users body.

After Alisa's own negative experiences with hormones, where she weighed 200 pounds, was covered in painful cystic acne and only had her period once a year, she decided to dedicate her work to helping women with their hormonal imbalances without medication while simultaneously eradicating the myth of painful periods.

After her gynecologist diagnosed her with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and no real cure or alleviation, Alisa decided it was time to figure it out by herself. As a result, she founded the FLO Living Hormone Center, wrote a book called WomanCode and created the MyFLO Period application.

For Alisa, she says that "food is the best medicine" to overcome PMS symptoms like fatigue and moodiness.

FLO Living is the first of its kind. It's a virtual menstrual healthcare platform that works with thousands of women who suffer from PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and PMS on a path to natural recovery. FLO Living adjusts diet and supports thousands of women towards their interest in controlling their hormones and enhancing their feminine energy. In short, periods don't have to equate to pain. FLO Living is here to tell you all about it.

A change in diet should come as no surprise, especially with a new study thats findings concluded that drinking alcohol might make premenstrual syndrome symptoms worse. And what is the link between alcohol and PMS symptoms? Altering levels of hormones.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says that a woman's period is the fifth vital sign of health along with blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and respiration rate. In short, your period is important. Any debilitating pain or physical restrictions are not normal and should be accurately accessed.

Alisa explains that since hormonal imbalances can trigger acne, bloating, weight gain and severe PMS, her program can “help women make those strategic shifts with food and supplements" with the FLOLiving Protocol, MyFLO period app and the FLO Balance Period Supplements.

MyFLO is a phone application that tracks symptoms and learns the users body. Once the information is gathered, supplements and foods are the next area to tackle. “For example, you can use the app to help you decide whether to stay in or go out, do yoga or boot camp, eat raw foods or cooked, or give a presentation at work versus doing brainstorming and research."

For Alisa, she says that “food is the best medicine" to overcome PMS symptoms like fatigue and moodiness. She particularly advocates for avocados, as they boost magnesium and improve fertility. The main focus for diet when trying to improve hormones are “several key nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C and other liver supportive nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids." Think: dark leafy greens, lamb, organic chicken, sweet potato, oily fish, green beans, flaxseed, eggs and lentils.

Another component of FLO Living is the MonthlyFLO Balance Supplement Kit which offers nutritional support to put the worst of your symptoms into “remission." The supplements are offered in five groups: Replenish, Energize, Gutsy, Detox and Harmonize. All of the supplements are non GMO, gluten free and have no synthetics.

How are women dealing with their period pain? Alisa says that, “We just assume there's nothing we can do except take synthetic birth control. This makes things worse and doesn't fix what's really wrong with your hormones." For Alisa, and for all of us, change begins within your body and what you're putting inside of it. Responses such as acne, bloating and pain are physical responses and shouldn't be accepted as a part of our menstrual cycle fate.

Alisa's goal for FLO Living is to give women a space to turn to for information and products. Since much of the medical field ignores symptoms, or simply disregards any helpful type of prevention, women are choosing to live with this evidence of imbalance. “FLO Living is the only place where you can test, track, treat and talk through your period issues in an easily accessible and affordable way that actually works. We take care of tens of thousands of women worldwide and have been for the past 5 years," explains Alisa.

Being a woman doesn't have to mean living in pain. Being a woman means being in charge of your own body.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.