Tuesday 25 April 2017

Fantastically short periods and how to get them

"It's a miracle!" Fanny proclaimed gleefully as she examined the contents of her pants.  "Praise be to my bloodless vagina and all who sail in her!"

It was day 6 of her cycle and, ordinarily, Fanny's period would still be pootling along.  Lightly - but definitely still there. Like Lord of the Rings - It. Just. Wouldn't. Bloody. End.

And this was the way of things in Fanny's pants for many years.

But then something happened.  Something strange and fantastical.  Having been a tampon girl all her menstruating life, within six months of switching to cloth pads, Fanny's period was suddenly a whole day shorter! Say what?!  Fanny had heard rumours about shorter or lighter periods upon switching to reusables before but, being a massive doom-sayer, Fanny was wholly sceptical and dismissed it as urban legend.  But it actually happened!  A whole day shorter.  "This has got to be a one-off" reasoned Fanny.  But it kept happening. Every month.  A whole day shorter.  "Curiouser and curiouser!" she cried. "How? And why?!"

Now, Fanny doesn't want to big herself up, but initially she thought her vagina might actually be blessed. Like by a fanny-god or something. Fanny always felt her vagina was pretty special. But, to be fair, Fanny can't be entirely sure that divine intervention explains it. And actually, when Fanny really thinks hard, it could be due to a number of reasons - like fluke - or science!

So Fanny decided to don her investigating hat to try and unravel the mystery of The Cloth Pad and the Period of Reduced Menstruation. Dun Dun Duhhhhhhn.

Like any great detective Fanny first set about identifying the key suspects, starting with a quick Google (Fanny isn't claiming to be Sherlock Holmes), before subjecting them to a gritty cross examination.  Along the way Fanny uncovered intrigue, enigma and even conspiracy.... Was it Mrs Scarlett in the bathroom with the sannie pad? Let's find out.

Curiouser and curiouser
Illusion and visual trickery. Now, Fanny could easily have watched a bit much David Blaine, but one explanation for the shift in pattern touted by lasses on forums is that cloth pads are more absorbent than disposables, creating the illusion of a lighter bleed. It does seems plausible that the period might appear lighter, but hmm.  Fanny isn't sure how that could explain the period being shorter.  OK David - you're free to go - but don't leave the country as you may still be required for further questioning.

Material magic - One of the top theories reusable lovers have put forward is that using nice, natural fabric rather than sucky plastic-y pads allows your fanny parts to 'breathe' and makes your vag healthier and happier.  It's a totes plausible theory.  But we need to some science to back it up - and that's where it gets hazy.  Fanny has used a range of pads from cottons to synthetics, and it's impossible to deduce which ones have contributed to the new pattern. And some synthetics have a pretty untraceable origin to boot. Take Zorb (a commonly used absorbent layer in reusables), for example, which contains unspecified fibers that are not disclosed by the manufacturer (despite Fanny's request).  Without concrete information about the origin of the fibers in reusables can we categorically say that it is better for your fanny than the plastics in disposables? Fanny wants to see a lorra more investment and research on this to demonstrate the health benefits of reusables.  But in the mean time, if the muff don't fit, you must acquit. As they say.

The All Seeing Fanny
Creepy conspiracy theory - So Fanny's chops hit the floor when she stumbled across a forum suggesting the fact that tampons contain nasty chemical poo is deliberate on the part of 'sposable manufacturers as it encourages our vaginas to bleed more.   This sounds far fetched and Fanny would seriously hope this not to be case.  However, since disposable makers have no legal obligation to disclose what's in 'em, and the industry is self regulating, we are, actually, pretty exposed. As a result, Fanny firmly believes we should keep our pretty eyes open, flex our lady purses and take our fanny custom only to brands and products that are openly committed to transparency and being super nice to our vaginas.

Clean fannying - You've all heard of Deliciously Ella, yah? Well Fanny wonders if the movement towards reusables and organic cotton disposables means that Clean Eating has basically extended to our vaginas. No - I don't mean our vaginas are eating steamed vegetables - you need to go to Goop for that kind of madness.  Fanny is just pondering whether reusable lovers are generally making other healthy choices - whether we are collectively a bunch of yoga loving, kale chugging wholesome hippies.  And if that's the case, then maybe we're creating the conditions for excellent menstrual health - and the reusables are just a coincidence.  Is this a case of mistaken identity? Serial will probably be doing a gripping podcast on this soon.

Terrifying period monster
Fanny loving (had me a blast) - Upon switching to reusables Fanny became a lot more accepting of her periods and even learnt to love them a teensy bit. Fanny's, hippy-happy-hypothesis is that, having grown up in a society swamped in period shame, the act of befriending your body could be enough to chill it right out.  And just maybe, happy body vibes make for happier wombs and nicer periods. Perhaps, Fanny wonders, it's just like looking in the mirror, turning around three times and whispering 'period' at your reflection, confident in the knowledge you won't be attacked by a giant zombie vagina monster.  Again not sure this will secure a conviction, but it sounds super nice.

So, in summary, what Fanny learned is that while she has a collection of very suspicious suspects, she has no freaking idea why her period got shorter when she switched to cloth pads.  She can't prove it is any one of the suspects beyond all reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, her periods are still shorter, and that's just totally dandy.  But wouldn't it be just brilliant to have some proper, bonafide scientific research in this area?! It's pretty shocking to Fanny that this is so lacking. Let's push for it! Fannies unite!

And if you're not already using reusable pads, why not give them a go and see if they make a difference to you?  You never know - your fanny might just get a lovely surprise.

Fanny, over and out.

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