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Women's Health Questions Answered

Did you know that women have around 480 periods in her lifetime (less if she has any pregnancies)? That's over 3,000 days, or many, many years' worth of periods! That's a whole lot of periods!
Throughout our lives, our periods will change along with our shifting hormones. It's safe to say that we're going to have questions along the way! 

Why do women get periods?

Women and girls have what is called a menstrual cycle which allows them to get pregnant. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, hormones signal to her body to shed the baby-ready uterine lining. When this happens, it is called having your period.

Is it normal to get period cramps?

Many women experience pain and tightness in their lower abdomen and/or their back around the beginning of their period. Your cramps should be mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relief however, if they feel severe, you should talk to your doctor. 

How much do you bleed on your period?

When on your period, it may feel like you are bleeding a lot however you only lose a few teaspoons of blood. If you find that you have to change your pad or tampon very frequently (every hour) because it is fully saturated, it is advised to speak to your doctor. 

How long does a period last?

Generally, periods last for around 5 days, but everyone is different. Some girls may have their period for 7 days and some may have their period for only 3 days. Once you have had your period a few times, you will learn what your typical period looks and feels like. 

Are Period Products FSA Eligible? 

Period products are typically eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Contact your employer or FSA/HSA/HRA provider with account or eligibility questions.

The CARES Act reclassified period products as “medical expenses,” making them eligible to be treated as any other spending on “medical care.” That means tampons, pads and liners purchased after December 31, 2019 eligible for purchase with FSA and HSA funds.


Are Incontinence Products FSA Eligible? 

Incontinence supplies are typically eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Contact your employer or FSA/HSA/HRA provider with account or eligibility questions.

Does Medicaid Cover Incontinence Products?

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides medically necessary products (including incontinence products), healthcare or long-term care services to those who qualify.

Visit Healthcare.gov and use its Medicaid calculator to determine if you qualify.

For an incontinence product to be covered by Medicaid, it must be considered “medically necessary”, and therefore essential to the treatment or management of a particular condition. This can be determined by visiting your doctor and getting a diagnosis.

Period Pain


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It’s that time of the month AGAIN!


Some of us experience severe or moderate pain and the luckier ones get away with little to no cramps at all. 


We thought we'd share some tips and tricks on how to help relieve period pain, including some natural menstrual cramp remedies!


What causes period pain?

Period pain occurs when muscles in the uterus contract or tighten causing throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen, the feeling of heaviness in the pelvic area or even lower back pain.


What is ‘normal’ period pain?

Your period cramps are generally normal if the pain doesn’t affect how you go about your day. Your typical period pain should wear off after the first few days of your period and shouldn’t stop you from completing daily tasks. Pain that stops you doing everyday tasks, working or going to school is NOT normal and its time to have a chat to your GP.


Tips & tricks to help ease menstrual cramps:


Place a heat back on your lower abdomen area or back - Applying heat to these areas helps to relax the muscles, improve blood flow and relieve tension.


Hot water - Hot water is one of easiest ways to relax your body and release stress in your muscles. While a shower will help, a bath will do significantly more for you during your cycle. If you don't have time or a bathtub, you can use a hot water bottle instead. Fill the bottle with hot water, and rest it on your lower stomach while laying down. The warmth will ease pain and cramping. You can also place it on your lower back for relief in that area.


Relax and rest - Stress can make your period cramps worse, so it is important to rest and relax to lower your stress levels. Maybe run a warm bath, mediate, sit down and read or watch a movie.


Sleep - Don't underestimate the importance of sleep during your period, and don't push yourself too hard! Your body is working diligently and using up a lot of energy, so just be kind to yourself and be sure to get at least 8 hours a night.


Avoid caffeine and salty foods - Maintaining a healthy diet is good for your body and its overall performance. Consuming foods that are high in sugar, fats and salts can cause bloating and inflammation which can worsen menstrual cramps. Consuming caffeine can cause your blood vessels to narrow, constricting your uterus which also worsens menstrual cramps. If you’re craving either coffee or ‘bad’ foods, try opting for a decaf option, some fruit or unsalted nuts to relieve that craving.


Stay hydrated - In most cases, bloating can worsen menstrual cramps so staying hydrated can help reduce bloating and avoid worsening cramping pain


Exercise - Practice yoga, aerobic exercise, go for a walk or do a form of exercise that you enjoy. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good which can reduce pain and relax your muscles. Some light yoga stretches can help to release tension in your back. Yoga poses are beneficial during your cycle. Feel free to also just get on the mat and do what feels good for you, but avoid inversions.


Massage therapy - Who doesn’t love a massage? Massage therapy can help reduce stress and relax your muscles to ease pain


Castor oil - Because it is anti-inflammatory and promotes circulation, using castor oil topically during your period can be very effective at relieving cramps. Place a 1-2 teaspoons of oil on your bare stomach, and use your fingers to gently massage for 5-10 minutes.


Consider an off the shelf pain relief - When you begin to feel cramps that are uncomfortable or painful, taking pain relief such as ibuprofen can help soothe the pain. It is important to see your doctor if minor cramps worsen.


Consider taking additional supplements - Talk to your doctor about taking additional supplements such as: Fish Oil, magnesium, zinc, calcium, Vitamins B, E and D that may help reduce period pain.


Magnesium - Many of us are magnesium deficient because we don't get enough from the food in our diets. Even if you are not, magnesium can assist your body to relax deeply and release tension.


Ginger/ Turmeric  - If you get nauseas during your period, make a cup of hot ginger tea. Simply grate a nub of fresh ginger into hot water and let it steep for 3-4 minutes. Then strain, and drink the warm water to ease your stomach. If you have access to fresh turmeric root, this can be incorporated too as it helps with inflammation.


Red Raspberry Leaf - This plant is derived from the leaves of a raspberry plant and usually consumed as a tea. It has a strong flavor, similar to black tea, but is naturally caffeine free. It also helps ease cramps.  


Consider these tips a starting point or guide to taking control of your period pain and treating your body with kindness. If your period cramps seem severe or you don't get relief despite trying some of these options, check with your doctor to rule out more serious health issues. 

Can a UTI affect your period? 

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Having your period and a UTI at the same time is like a test of endurance but it is actually proven that UTIs most commonly happen around your period. The reason for this is that during your period, your oestrogen levels (which act as an anti-inflammatory) are at its lowest. 

Why do my breasts hurt?

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For some women, sore, sometimes painful breasts are a good tip-off that your period is about to make a visit. While the heads-up is nice, sore breasts can be incredibly uncomfortable.


Yeast Infections

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The dreaded yeast infection can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing topic, but it is a much more common condition than you might think. In fact, an estimated 75% of women at some point in their lifetime will have at least one yeast infection, while 40% to 45% of women will have multiple recurring episodes.

Vaginal discharge

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Normal vaginal discharge has several purposes: cleaning and moistening the vagina, and helping to prevent and fight infections. It's normal for the color, texture, and amount of vaginal discharge to change at different times of the month during a girl's menstrual cycle. But some changes in discharge may mean there is a problem.

Black or dark brown period

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It is common to have darker blood appear in your panties however if you experience something out of the ordinary, you should always consult with your doctor. Majority of dark period blood is a result of your uterus passing through old blood which has oxidized. However, there are many reasons as to why or how you could be passing through old blood.

Vaginal Odor

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Your vagina is meant to have a smell just like any other part of your body!

Its scent varies based on factors such as your hydration level, food intake, medication, overall health status and timing of your menstrual cycle.


Cervical Cancer

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Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is the fourth most common cancer which affects women all over the world. Although in 2018, an estimated 570,000 woman were diagnosed with cervical cancer, it is almost 100% preventable. Here’s how…

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

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Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare and life-threatening infection which toxins are released as a result of one of two types of overgrowing bacteria: Staphylococcus bacteria (staph) and Streptococcus bacteria (strep).

Endometriosis

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Let’s get a bit educated… Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus (called Endometrial Tissue) makes its way outside the uterus and adheres to the bladder, fallopian tubes or bowels.(Sounds painful, right? Well it is!) At certain times during the menstrual cycle this tissue swells and can cause pain and other effects. 


Vaginismus

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Vaginismus might be a tongue-twister of a word and a bit hard to pronounce but when it comes to your vaginal health, it’s worth understanding what it is. The first thing that probably comes to mind when thinking of icky conditions “down there” is yeast infections. But vaginismus proves to be a more serious and painful condition for women diagnosed with it.

Menstrual Headaches

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If your head starts to hurt around the first day of your period, it’s probably more than just a headache: It’s a menstrual migraine. And the short answer to this question is hormones. As estrogen drops in the days leading up to a menstrual period, a woman’s risk for migraine rises.

PMS & PMDD

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It’s difficult enough understanding our menstrual cycle, let alone the difference between PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). 



Why does my skin break out during my period?

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When your period comes to visit, it brings gifts: bloating, fatigue, and even the dreaded skin break-out. The cause of the oily complexion and magnified pores that suddenly surface? It's actually our hormones.

How your period affects your bowel movements

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Bloating and cramping during periods? Yes, but how about the your popping habits, how are they affected by your period? 


Period Insomnia

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Studies have found that due to hormonal changes in the body, women are more likely to experience poor sleep than men. These hormonal changes are related to a woman’s menstrual cycle particularly when experiencing signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Phases of your Menstrual Cycle

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PMS doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if you work with your period rather than against it. Yes, cramps still suck, and it can be difficult controlling your up and down emotions, but once you are able to distinctly recognise your personal menstrual cycle, you can use it to your advantage!

Support for all of life's stages

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