- The Sunday New York Times published interactive graphs showing the likelihood of failure of the most popular methods of birth control in the U.S., comparing typical use to perfect use.
- Sanitary panties: Not just for ladies anymore (via Chris Bobel).
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr. Penny Castellano, Chief Medical Officer at Emory Clinic, about menopause and the need to continue using birth control. The concern is sound, but the inconsistency of whether menopause describes a moment or transisional years is confusing. (Video plus transcript)
- Another ladymag publishes another story of pulmonary embolism from birth control pills. These just never get old, do they?
- The newest advocacy tool in HPV prevention and vaccine promotion: Grandmother power.
- Speaking of HPV, it may be possible to diagnose with a urine in the not-too-distant future.
- Does the G-spot exist? It’s complicated.
- The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has advocated since December 2012 that birth control pills be available without a prescription. The Republican Party has only recently jumped on the bandwagon, seemingly because unlike with prescription pills, most insurance companies would not cover over-the-counter birth control. OTC pills could cost women $600 a year, compared to $0 under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
- Period sex. Let’s talk about it. ‘Cause we’re doing it.
- This striking photo essay of the chaupadi tradition in Nepal was published last spring, but we missed it. Check it out now. Chaupadi is the practice of menstrual seclusion; women and girls sleep in sheds or outbuildings while menstruating, and have little contact with others. They are also exposed to the elements, and easily suffer exposure and illness.
In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we are republishing some of our favorite posts. This post by David Linton originally appeared October 8, 2009.
A lot of ideas get hatched in a bar over drinks with friends. Most don’t make it past the sober morning after. But a conversation in a Denver bistro in 2008 led to the creation of a new Internet service that aims to address Rodney King’s eternal question, “Can’t we all just get along?” In this case the “getting along” applies to men and women who feel afflicted by the scourge of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome – PMS – and its presumed negative impact on otherwise harmonious relationships.
Despite the sound research and persuasive arguments of writers such as Carol Tavris (The Mismeasure of Woman), Anne Fausto-Sterling (Myths of Gender), Joan C. Chrisler (Charting a New Course for Feminist Psychology) and Paula Caplan (Fighting the Pathologizing of PMS), to name just a few who have labored to dispel the pernicious misconceptions and stigma surrounding the menstrual cycle, stereotypes and myths have been tenacious. Thus, in the digital age it was probably inevitable that PMS Lore would find new outlets for dissemination. Which brings us back to Denver.
One of the participants in the fateful exchange over Coors and coolers in the Mile High City was Jordan Eisenberg, a self-described entrepreneur. He and a group of friends had somehow gotten into a spirited conversation about PMS. The women expressed annoyance that men sometimes asked, “Are you getting your period?” as a way to discredit feelings women had about real concerns. It was so bad, they said, that even if they actually were menstruating, they could never acknowledge it because they’d be dismissed out of hand.
Opinions bounced around until one of the men mentioned that he put the date of his girl friend’s expected period in his Palm Pilot so he could anticipate her mood swings and avoid topics that might provoke conflict on “those days.” The men thought that this was a sensible idea, and the women were outraged that anyone would track their biology so mechanically.
For all but one of the participants the evening’s outing yielded no more than another story to share with friends at some future bar gathering. But for Jordan Eisenberg it was an inspiration. And so was born the Web site PMSBuddy.com.
In no time at all, the site has become an Internet hit. It can be found as an iPhone application and comes up under a number of Google search terms. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed to have 150,000 registered users and that it was currently tracking (as of 10/5/09) 33,192 menstrual cycles. According to the daily tally 1,366 women whose cycles were being tracked began to have PMS that day. Another 6,437 would begin within five days and the “Overall Threat Index” was “1-4:1,” whatever that means.
One might view the site as just a “guy joke,” another way for men to make light of something they don’t understand and to cope with their menstrual fears. The PMSBuddy web site uses fairly benign language and claims to have good intentions. It even has what it calls an “altruistic” aim with a slogan that boasts, “Saving relationships, one month at a time!” yet it reflects an underlying anxiety. It addresses male subscribers in a chummy voice: “PMSBuddy.com is a free service . . .to keep you aware of when . . . things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all. . . .there is no reason to ever be blindsided by PMS again.”
In addition to tracking the cycles of women in the lives of its subscribers and sending warning announcements about the impending periods of one’s wife, girlfriend, daughters, etc., it has a section called “PMS Stories,” submissions from subscribers about their PMS encounters and opinions. On the first day I first looked at the site there were nearly 150 stories posted from both men and women, but by the time these pages are being read there are surely many more.
My first reaction on discovering PMSbuddy.com was a combination of wonder and amusement.
- You’ve already done the ALS ice bucket challenge, now take the lemon challenge and help end endometriosis.
- There’s also the taco and/or beer challenge for reproductive rights: You just eat a taco, and/or drink a beer, and donate to an abortion fund.
- According to a study reported in The Independent, half of young British women are unable to properly label a vagina on a medical diagram, while 65 per cent have admitted they have a problem simply using the words vagina or vulva.
- Some Republican politicians have announced support of birth control pills over-the-counter. Advocates are skeptical.
- Menopause may lead to depression, says Margery Gass in the North American Menopause Society Blog.
- GoodWorksWellness offers natural solutions for treating PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
- Five things about tampons learned in 20 years of menstruating.
- 1970s advertising flashback: Watch these ladies share a shameful secret, and pity them.
- Rebecca, regular contributor at xoJane, says she’s terrible at menstruating. She’s got a lot of company, as there are currently more than 400 comments.
- Here’s a detailed chart comparing birth control methods, rating effectiveness in typical use and perfect use and explaining how each works. It also separates hormonal methods from non-hormonal methods.
- New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito went public with her HPV+ diagnosis to encourage others to get tested.
- Holly Grigg-Spall penned a thoughtful piece about period acceptance for Lady Clever this week, featuring quotes from several members of SMCR.
- On the relationship between police brutality and reproductive justice.
- What happens when, for medical reasons, women elect to freeze their eggs for future use? Turns out there is very little follow-up research on this population. A study at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine in the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam found that none of the women in their small sample had used her cryopreserved oocytes, although 16 women had tried to conceive. Most considered the frozen eggs to be a last-resort option.
- Do you have a passion for both cycling and (bi)cycling? Join the Sustainable Cycles Spring 2015 tour! Want to know more about previous tours? Sarah Konner and Toni Craigie rode the west coast (U.S.) in 2011, and Rachel Horn and her friend Owen rode 4624 miles across the country in 2013, distributing menstrual cups and educating about menstruation all the way.