I remember the period talk my mother gave me when I was a young girl. It lasted about 60 seconds and involved the basics of bleeding—why it happens, when it happens and how to deal with it. And that was the end of it.
My middle school health class teacher went into a smidgen more detail and threw in a few bigger words—such as “menstruation” and “uterine lining”—but it was basically the same story.
And, for the most part, that’s the period talk millions and millions of other young girls have been receiving for centuries.
But, it turns out the period talk is missing something. Something big.
That’s because a girl’s period doesn’t only signal the start of the menstrual cycle where the uterine lining is shed for about a week.
It also signals the start of a new hormone cycle where estrogen, testosterone and progesterone rise and fall in a specific pattern for the entire month—and continue to for about 40 or so years until menopause.
This is important information for every girl to know because as these hormones rise and fall, they affect virtually every aspect of her day—including her mood, energy, physical strength, memory, sleep quality, the desire to socialize, confidence, crushes, appetite and health.
For example, when estrogen rises, a girl tends to get happier and more outgoing, her mental and physical energy climb and some health issues improve.
When estrogen drops, she tends to get more cautious and self-conscious, her mental and physical energy wane and some health issues flare up.
When no one tells a girl how her new hormone cycle will be impacting her, it can cause worry and confusion when she experiences sudden and unexpected changes in mood, energy, health and other facets of her life.
But, give a girl a basic introduction to how hormones will be affecting her and she’ll know that these are normal, natural, sometimes frustrating and also sometimes beneficial effects of her new hormone cycle. This can go a long way toward eliminating fear and instilling greater understanding and self-acceptance.
Best of all, she’ll know when to expect these hormonal changes in her cycle. This way, she can make the most of hormonal benefits (for instance, planning big projects for high-energy days) and take steps to overcome hormonal challenges (for example, scheduling a rejuvenating nap on low-energy days), making her feel more in control and empowered.
All this is why I’m proposing that we make an important change to the period talk: Let’s include a basic introduction about hormones to give girls a much-needed heads-up about the psychological and physical effects they can expect all cycle long.
I’ve made it easy to do with my free eBook, The New Period Talk: Introducing Girls to their Hormone Cycle.
This short eBook shows parents, caretakers and teachers how to update their period talk by providing basic explanations about how hormones impact a girl during each week of her monthly cycle.
This eBook includes a separate guide for the girl receiving the period talk that fills in details with easy-to-grasp terms and ideas that can be printed out and shared with her.
I have two editions of The New Period Talk: one edition for parents and caregivers and another edition for teachers who deliver the period talk in their classrooms.
To get either one, simply visit MyHormonology.com/newperiodtalk.
It’s my mission to ensure that the current generation of girls have this vital hormone information starting with their very first cycle so they can then pass this important information on to the following generations. This way, all girls and women can have a clearer understanding of themselves, improve their health and make every day of their cycle better.
Gabrielle Lichterman, the founder of Hormonology® and a longtime women’s health journalist, is leading the growing movement among women to live in sync with their menstrual cycles and know more about all the ways their hormones impact their moods, health and behavior. This is a movement that was launched in 2005 with her groundbreaking book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential, and her creation of Hormonology®. She offers a variety of tools—including her popular Hormone Horoscope® Apps, free eBooks, infographic “cheat sheets”, videos and tips—to share vital information about hormones. You can learn more about Gabrielle and how to join her in her mission at MyHormonology.com.