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    The Weird Way Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Guy’s Hormones

    We all know how that moodiness around our periods can drive our partners just a bit insane. But your menstrual cycle actually has a biological effect on your partner, too. Yup, per a study, your cycle could boost his testosterone levels. Ah, hormones…

    The study

    Animal studies found that olfactory cues of ovulation (when a biological female releases an egg, awaiting fertilisation by sperm) affected male testosterone levels. Studies conducted by researchers from Florida State University found that the same thing happens to male humans.

    In the studies, women wore t-shirts during different phases of their menstrual cycles. The men in the studies smelled one of the t-shirts worn by a female or unworn t-shirts. Saliva samples were collected before and after smelling the t-shirts s and measured for testosterone levels.

    Men who smelled the t-shirts of ovulating women had higher levels of testosterone than men who smelled a t-shirt worn when the women were not ovulating or a control t-shirt. The scent of t-shirts worn when the women were ovulating was rated as the most pleasing. These olfactory findings brighten the signal that when you’re ovulating, it’s prime time for fun in the sheets.

    But the needle can swing both ways. In another study, researchers measured levels of hormones in heterosexual partners throughout the woman’s menstrual cycle. What they found was surprising: during ovulation, when levels of estradiol are elevated, both partners felt more negatively toward each other than at other times of the cycle. Clearly, your menstrual cycle plays a bigger part in the relationship than you’d think.

    To move closer together, try talking about your feelings to clear the air and make way for a deeper connection and yes, more sex.

    When his testosterone starts to wane…

    With age, men’s testosterone levels do naturally start to decrease. Instead of shoving your nightie under his nose once a month, you could also steer him in the direction of these healthy foods, proven to up his levels: eggs, peanuts, yoghurt, oysters, garlic, oats, avocado, salmon (or other oily fish), fresh fruit and veg, pine nuts, brown rice and liver.

    Add some spice with a sex toy

    We-Vibe Unite Couples Vibrator

    Get that extra deep clitoral stimulation during sex with this remote-controlled toy that you can both enjoy. More

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    7 Reasons Your Period Might Be Late — Other Than Pregnancy

    On the one hand, you have to deal with cramps, bloating and mood swings. On the other, yay, you’re not pregnant! Suddenly missing your period when babies aren’t on the agenda can be a real freak-out moment, but there are a few other factors that may be to blame. Here, gynae Alyssa Dweck, co-author of V is for Vagina, offers potential reasons you have a late period that have nothing to do with a bouncing bundle of joy.
    Major Weight Loss Or Excessive Exercise
    “This is a reason I see not that infrequently in my office,” says Dweck. “If your BMI rapidly dips below 18 or 19, you may start to miss periods.” This isn’t strictly based on BMI, though. Serious conditions like anorexia and bulimia can cause a missed cycle, but so can training for a marathon or some other major event that requires you to exercise more than usual. “Nature has a way of protecting you from getting pregnant if your body is under such extreme stress. Your body prevents ovulation so you don’t have a lot of oestrogen, don’t build a big uterine lining, and then don’t get a period,” says Dweck.
    READ MORE: “I Swapped My Regular Skincare Routine For A More Natural One — And The Results Were Surprising”
    A big scary event in your life can cause hypothalamic amenorrhea. “This particular area of the brain, the hypothalamus, is where a lot of the hormones for your cycle are regulated,” says Dweck. “The hypothalamus is very affected by stress.” So if you’re dealing with a big move, death in the family, huge breakup, or any other life event that’s shaking you up, it could be the cause of your late period or missed period.
    READ MORE: Are you experiencing a ‘friendship recession?’
    A Thyroid Irregularity
    The thyroid gland, located in your neck, regulates your metabolism. It also interacts with many other systems in your body to keep things running smoothly. “If you’re dealing with any type of thyroid imbalance, whether it’s hypo- or hyperthyroidism, that can have implications for your period,” says Dweck. If you notice other symptoms of a thyroid disorder, check in with your doctor for an official diagnosis.
    READ MORE: How To Tell The Difference Between Period Blood And Spotting
    Polycystic Ovary Symptom
    PCOS is a hormone imbalance that comes down to a lack of ovulation, so you have altered levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. “We’re seeing a lot more of this, although there are varying degrees. It can cause you to completely miss your period or just not menstruate regularly,” says Dweck. Other PCOS symptoms include hair growth in places like the face and chest, difficulty losing weight, and potential fertility issues. Your doctor can help you come up with a treatment plan to manage the condition.
    READ MORE: Exactly How To Train Like Kim Engelbrecht
    Chronic Diseases Like Coeliac
    “I know coeliac disease is on everyone’s mind right now,” says Dweck, referring to the disease that’s characterised by gluten intolerance. “Any chronic disease that’s left untreated or undiagnosed is a stressor to your general system and can result in missed periods.”
    READ MORE: Vaginal Infections 101 — What You Need To Know About That Itch
    Your Birth Control
    A missed period or late period can actually be a harmless byproduct of the measures you take to avoid pregnancy. “Some low-dose pills will cause a lack of menses that isn’t dangerous and is many times a welcome side effect,” says Dweck. The same goes for methods like hormonal IUDs, implants, or shots. It can also take some time for your period to come back if you’ve stopped birth control, but it will usually resume without issue in a few months.
    READ MORE: “I Tried Masturbating To Cure My Hangover — This Is What Happened”
    Premature Menopause
    When women under 40 have hormones misfiring in a significant way, they can go through premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure. Along with a missed period, signs of it include hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. “This isn’t very common, so you shouldn’t immediately worry about it,” says Dweck. If your gyno rules out the many other potential causes and thinks this may be the culprit, she’ll clue you in. More

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    Here’s EXACTLY How To Skip Your Period Every Month

    By Laura Stampler
    It’s all about which type of birth control you choose. 
    Have you ever wished you could just skip your period? Whether you get cramps, mood swings, migraines, or just have a beach vacation on the horizon, there are many reasons why you might want to delay—if not completely eradicate—your monthly menstruation. So… why don’t you?
    “You absolutely don’t have to get a period every month,” says Dr Taraneh Shirazian, a gynae NYU Langone. “And if you’re on medication, it’s completely safe.” In fact, researchers from the University of Oregon found that 17 per cent of 1,324 surveyed women on hormonal contraceptives including the patch, pill, and vaginal ring use them to alter their bleeding patterns.
    READ MORE: 12 Contraceptives You Should Think Of Trying – Other Than The Pill
    And considering that the period you get when you’re on hormonal birth control is actually fake anyway—that’s right, Shirazian notes your so-called menstruation during your placebo week on the pill is “all manufactured,” meaning it’s facilitated by the hormones in the pills (not by ovulation)—you can actually feel free to skip it every month by changing how you take your birth control.
    Here’s how to skip your period using:
    Monthly Hormonal Birth Control Pills
    Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) typically come in four-week packs, meaning the first three weeks contain hormones and the last week is usually placebo (or sugar) pills. The body withdrawals from the hormones during that placebo week, and thus, you bleed. But if you want to skip your period, all you have to do is skip over that final row of sugar pills and go right into your next pack. But taking your OCP continuously isn’t always foolproof. “Some women will have spotting and others could notice other symptoms,” like breast tenderness, Shirazian says, depending on how sensitive a woman is to her birth control. Still, other women will feel absolutely no side effects—other than the missing period, that is.
    READ MORE: 7 Ways To Meditate For Anxiety Relief That Are *Actually* Easy To Do
    Although Shirazian says that many insurance companies will cover continuous and cyclic OCPs, it’s worth letting your doctor know that you are planning to take your birth control this way so that the prescription is written correctly—you’ll need more packs than normal in a year.
    Extended Cycle Contraceptives
    If switching to a new pack of pills every three weeks seems like too much, you can also talk to your doctor about switching to extended cycle contraceptives. Pills like Seasonale or Seasonique come in 90-day packs, and although they don’t completely get rid of your period, they do reduce your menstruation to four times a year. Lybrel is an extended cycle pill that gets rid of your period completely—although the FDA warns that women may experience unplanned breakthrough bleeding.
    The IUD
    If you want your flow to fade into a distant memory, consider a hormonal IUD like Mirena. Women with this type of IUD might get a lighter period or “may not bleed at all for five years, if you’re very lucky,” Shirazian says. That’s because the progesterone secreted by the IUD thins the lining of the uterine wall, making it shed significantly less than it would otherwise.
    READ MORE: Cycle Syncing Sex: 28 Days Of The Best Sex Of Your Life
    The Ring Or Patch
    Skipping your period on these methods of birth control is similar to the monthly pill. After three weeks of wearing the patch or the ring, you just need to swap it out for a new one instead of foregoing it for a week. Like with the pill, you might have some breakthrough bleeding, but it all just depends on your body. Just make sure you mention your plan to your doctor, so you have a new ring or patch ready to go.
    This article was originally featured on More

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    Finally, Contraception Delivery Services Are In South Africa

    We’ve come a long way. COVID – thankfully – forced pharmacies and businesses to jack up their service and offer delivery of much-needed medication. A relief, since most of us are so busy we can barely make time for the grocery store, let alone stand in a queue for what feels like a year. And then there’s all the questions that come with picking up a simple prescription.
    Now, contraception delivery services are in full swing and there are a few options to choose from. Medical aids can even cover the cost of the medication, and delivery is discreet and in some cases, comes with a few goodies. Here, the cool-as-hell services we’ve come across in sunny South Africa.

    Compatible with medical aid (or without) choose a subscription and every month, you’ll get your contraception delivered. Contro also offers treatment for erectile dysfunction, hair loss, STIs, thrush and UTIs.
    How it works
    First, sign up and fill in a health questionnaire, get a digital doctor’s consultation, then get free delivery. Contraception offered is over 30 kinds of the contraceptive pill.
    How much?
    Pay R150 per month with medical aid, or between R240-R400 per month without. Check them out here.
    READ MORE: This Explains The Reason Why You Feel Like You Can’t Pee After Sex

    MyContraceptive by Zoie Health
    Zoie Health is an all-inclusive digital healthcare app, with virtual doctor’s consultations for everything from endometriosis to lactation consults to psychologist sessions. Their contraception delivery service, MyContraceptive, offers monthly delivery for your chosen contraceptive.
    How it works
    Book a consultation from the app (or website) with a medical professional, who’ll help pick the right contraception for you. Then it’ll be delivered monthly – with a few other goodies. You’ll also get access to the Zoie Health online community of women and healthcare professionals who swap tips around birth control, periods and everything in between. MyContraceptive offers the contraceptive pill, The Patch, The Ring and emergency contraception.
    How much?
    Pick from a consultation only (from R250 or medical aids may cover), consultation and delivery (from R150) and delivery only (from R150). Find out more here.
    READ MORE: Struggling To Sleep During Your Period? This Might Be Why

    Pill Squad
    Simply get your existing prescription delivered to your door.
    How it works
    Send them your existing contraception prescription – emergency contraception not serviced, complete the payment (if medical aid covers, then you’ll need to submit those details) and await your delivery!
    How much?
    If you’re on medical aid, this service will be paid for. Otherwise, you’ll have a copayment or can pay using cash or card. Find out more here.
    READ MORE: Getting A Mammogram: What To Know, Even If You’re Young

    Get My Pill
    Get My Pill offers prescriptions for The Patch, The Injection and contraceptive pills. Delivery is free. For the injection, you’ll need to visit a clinic to have it administered – delivery not available.
    How it works
    Complete a medical survey and a script will be sent to you. Or, purchase the delivery option and your prescription will be sent to Get My Pill’s delivery partners, Clicks Direct Medicine.
    How much?
    Prescriptions cost R200 for 3 months ( More

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    Struggling To Sleep During Your Period? This Might Be Why

    For a number of women, no matter how early a night they get or how many alarms they set for the morning, during that time of the month waking can be an increasingly difficult affair. But while it’s easy to blame a perceived lack of energy or motivation to get up and attack the morning, it turns out there are a number of factors at play, showing just how complex the female body really is. According to Dr Kat Lederle, sleep scientist and author of Sleep Sense: Improve Your Sleep, Improve Your Health, periods can have a significant impact on our sleep-wake cycle, even causing disruption.
    The reason periods impact our sleep is largely due to ovarian hormones which have receptors in the brain that are also involved in sleep regulation. As these hormones fluctuate and change during the menstrual cycle, they can effect sleep changes and our circadian rhythm. When you think about it, the body is looking to create a stable environment for a fertilised egg to develop, so it makes sense that it will do all it can to ensure adequate rest in the form of sleep is achieved. PMS can also contribute to bad sleep, with many who experience low moods, cramps, sensitivity and anxiety experiencing poor sleep.

    READ MORE: Keep Getting Ingrown Hairs In Your Vagina Area? How To Fix The Prob, According To A Gyno

    Speaking to Glamour, Dr Lederle explained that the worst sleep quality can be expected a few days into menstruation. “Those who often notice poor sleep quality in the late luteal phase [right before you get your next period] and your first few days of menstruation,” she said. “When levels of hormones like progesterone and oestrogen decline towards the end of the luteal phase, some women start to experience sleep problems, including for the first few days of menstruation.”
    According to the Sleep Health Foundation, up to 7 in 10 women say their sleep changes before their period, with the most common time frame being 3 to 6 days before having the period. Those who suffer the most disrupted sleep tend to be PMS sufferers; some report feeling sleepier during the day, others are restless at night, and many struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep.

    So, what can you do to help get your sleep back on track? Keep a diary of your symptoms for three months and list your symptoms day by day, as well as when your period starts and stops. If it’s found that your sleep problems have a link to PMS, you have a better knowledge of when to expect the disruption the following month. In the days before this time, it’s recommended to get plenty of rest and sleep, stay active and maintain a good diet, and try to get lots of outdoor light before and during your PMS.

    This story was first published on

    READ MORE ON: Periods Sexual Health Sleep More

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    4 Ways to Support Healthy Ageing

    Want to support you body through its healthy ageing? Try these four simple steps and you’ll never look back (or if you do, at least your neck won’t hurt).
    1. Load it up
    To optimise your bone health through perimenopause and beyond, resistance train twice weekly. Studies show it helps kick bone-forming cells into action, while slowing down age-related bone mass decline.
    Any form is great, but compound lifts such as squats and deadlifts deliver the heaviest skeleton benefits*.
    READ MORE: Millennials Are Turning 40, But How Healthy are They, Really?
    2. Wear SPF, rain or shine
    You heard: even when the cloud cover is more dense than your grade 9 bully, it pays to slap it on.
    In a 2016 study, people who applied an SPF straight after washing their face each morning showed reduced symptoms of skin ageing – such as wrinkles and uneven skintone – after an 18-month period.
    READ MORE: 10 Mineral Sunscreens That Won’t Damage Your Skin Or The Environment
    3. Eat for your hormones
    With oestrogen stores declining as you head towards menopause, including phytoestrogens (naturally occurring plant substances that imitate the OG) in your diet can have a balancing effect.
    According to an Iranian study*, help reduce the frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women. Find them in soya beans, legumes and whole grains.
    4. Take it to paper
    If life right now feels like you’re juggling an impossible amount, whack out your journal.
    Journalling had been shown to boost cognitive function and memory, relieve stress, improve mindfulness and even help support your immune system, per a US study*. Research suggests 20 minutes, three or four days a week, is plenty.
    READ MORE: Struggle to Get to Sleep? Try These 5 Breathing Techniques
    This article was originally published in the September issue of Women’s Health UK.

    READ MORE ON: Health Advice Hormones Mental Wellness Periods More

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    Are You Ready to Make The Switch to a Menstrual Cup?

    In a world of fast fashion, palm oil and David Attenborough, I’m a typical millennial – swinging between being a vego-leaning reusable coffee cup owner and that drunk ordering chicken nuggets. But the news that the plastic in a packet of sanitary pads is equivalent to four single-use bags is sobering, even when it isn’t being delivered in Dave’s dulcet tones. Enter: the menstrual cup.
    You probably remember it as the menstruation solution that elicited the loudest chorus of ‘eww’ during sex ed. Popularised around 20 years ago, the silicone ‘cup’ is designed to sit in your vaginal canal and collect, rather than absorb, your period blood. Presented with a solution that swerves the huge environmental impact, I decide to give it a go and start with a menstrual cup.
    READ MORE: Is It Safe To Have Sex While Wearing A Menstrual Cup?
    Leaky Start
    My first impression is along the lines of ‘square peg; round hole’ – next to a tampon, it looks huge. I study diagrams before I feel confident enough to try it. The first time, I put it in too high. Since it works by forming a seal on your canal wall, this can lead to leaks. 
    I discover my error after a workout first thing and leaking all over my leggings (inserted correctly, a menstrual cup can be worn while you exercise). To be fair, the instructions specifically state not to put it in too high – it sits much lower than a tampon – and, with the help of an online tutorial, I get it right second time (I know because I can’t feel it at all). After a few bathroom checks, I feel pretty confident and leave it in all day at work, removing the need for a tampon-up-the-sleeve situation entirely. How often you empty it depends on your period – four hours for heavy, up to eight for light – and while I preferred to change it at home, it’s doable on the move – just empty it into the toilet and rinse before putting it back in. More

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    Your Postpartum Periods Might Be Heavier And More Irregular Than The Ones You Had Pre-Pregnancy

    So you just had a baby, and life is pretty different and all about feeding schedules and new sleeping habits. Through all that new mama craziness (and joy!), you prooobably have a ton of questions about the weird body stuff happening to *you* in those first months, too. Example: WTF is going on with your postpartum periods?
    Your body will be adjusting back to not being pregnant for the first month or two after giving birth, and you’ll experience pretty consistent bleeding. But that’s not actually your period returning to its pre-baby schedule. The first period after pregnancy will likely take a couple of months to get back on track, though it varies from person to person, and on whether or not you’re breastfeeding. And in some cases it may be different than your periods were before pregnancy.
    Ahead, an ob-gyn explains everything you should know about postpartum bleeding, and what to expect from that first real period after pregnancy.
    The immediate bleeding after you have a baby isn’t actually your period, FYI.
    While it might feel like you’re having one long period (and using a *ton* of pads) after giving birth, the bleeding you experience is not actually your period. This post-birth bleeding, called lochia, is your uterus shedding all of the lining that was built up during pregnancy. “The blood, mucus, and discharge that makeup lochia can last up to six to eight weeks after birth,” explains Dr. Kameelah Phillips, an ob-gyn and founder of Calla Women’s Health.
    Lochia can ebb and flow (pun intended) during this postpartum period, Dr. Phillips says. It tends to start out red in colour, and then progress to pink, and then turns to a yellowish-white colour. After that progression, which typically takes a month and a half or two, you may notice your period returning, which will generally be back to bright red or the colour you’re used to seeing. Or, in other cases, it’ll take longer before you menstruate again.
    When your actual period returns may depend on breastfeeding.
    “The return of your menstrual period depends on the individual, and regularity of breastfeeding,” Dr. Phillips says. Sometimes, the longer you breastfeed, the longer it takes for your period to return to schedule. That’s because breastfeeding releases a hormone called prolactin, which can send a message to the brain to delay the hormonal process of ovulation (because you’re literally feeding a baby at the moment).
    “Lactational amenorrhea, which is the absence of the period due to breastfeeding, can last up to a year or longer, depending on the individual,” adds Dr. Phillips. Some people consider lactational amenorrhea a form of birth control (that is if your baby is under six months, doesn’t eat solid foods or formula at all, and you don’t start getting your period), but it’s *not* considered a secure method of preventing pregnancy.
    Other people will get their period back quicker, even if they do breastfeed. Your period doesn’t typically affect your milk supply, Dr. Phillips says (but, if you’re struggling with milk production or with feeding, it’s best to contact your ob-gyn, who can refer you to a lactation consultant). It does mean that as soon as your period returns, you can get pregnant; you’ll likely start ovulating regularly as soon as your period is back on schedule.
    When your first postpartum period does arrive, you can expect it to return to what it was like before you had your baby, though potentially a little heavier.
    Initially, your first postpartum period might be heavier, especially if you had a C-section, Dr. Phillips says. The uterus may still be shedding its lining from pregnancy, so there might be additional blood.
    There is not usually an increase in pain with your postpartum periods, though, Dr. Phillips says. The period of lochia discharge usually involves cramping, as your uterus is contracting and returning to its regular size. But often, your actual period, once it arrives, will be about the same in terms of pain, cramps, and PMS symptoms as it was before you gave birth (unfortunately for some people).
    In terms of regularity, you’ll most likely experience regular periods after birth, Dr. Phillips says, with a cycle of about 21 to 35 days in length (or whatever “regular” means for you). But this, too, can fluctuate based on breastfeeding; sometimes your period will stop and start a few times before getting back to normal. Your second period after birth will tend to be more like your pre-pregnancy periods in terms of flow and length, however.
    You can typically get back on birth control six to eight weeks post-delivery if you want to.
    Getting back to birth control really depends on you and what birth control you were on (or weren’t on) before getting pregnant. But it’s entirely possible that after lochia ends, you could bounce right back and get pregnant again within the first couple of months of giving birth — whether you plan to or not.
    If that’s not something you’re trying to do, talk with your ob-gyn about birth control options. “We typically start birth control six to eight weeks after delivery,” says Dr. Phillips, “but depending on the patient, we may initiate birth control immediately postpartum.” It’s entirely individualized to the patient — you have to decide what works for you, whether or not you want to use hormonal birth control, and how you’d like to space out births if you want more children.
    It’s important to have a thorough conversation with your health care provider about postpartum birth control, because it will affect your menstrual cycle and may change your bleeding patterns, too, Dr. Phillips adds.
    Ultimately, there’s a wide range of what’s considered “normal” for both postpartum bleeding and your first real periods after pregnancy.
    There’s usually no reason to worry if your periods don’t look or feel totally like what you were used to pre-baby. But if you experience any of the below symptoms, it’s a good idea to check in with your doc.
    Heavy bleeding. It’s common to experience heavier bleeding within the first couple of weeks after birth. However, if the heaviness continues beyond that six-to-eight week period, give your health care provider a call.
    Large clots. Passing clots is also normal, but if clots are accompanied by abnormally heavy bleeding and are larger than a walnut, it could be cause for concern, Dr. Phillips says. Pay attention to the heaviness of the blood as well as the size of the clots.
    Bleeding through multiple pads. You’re going to be using quite a few pads, both during the lochia period and once you start your period. But if you need two pads at a time post-birth (during lochia or once your period starts back up) and are still bleeding through them, talk to your doctor.
    Lightheadedness or fainting. If you’re feeling particularly weak, lightheaded, or experiencing fainting during the postpartum period, it might be due to the heavy bleeding. This could be a sign of anaemia, so check in with your ob-gyn to have a blood test.
    The bottom line: Most women start to menstruate again about a month and a half to two months postpartum, though it can vary and depend on breastfeeding. Your periods may initially be heavier and more irregular, too, but will likely return to what you experienced pre-pregnancy.
    This is article was originally published on 

    READ MORE ON: Health Health Advice Menstruation Periods More