What every man should know about the menstrual cycle

First off, I am so sorry for the union tended hiatus. When I Sid that I may not blog everyday, I didn’t mean this. Ever since Hurricane Sandy my life has been on fast forward. While sitting in a business meeting yesterday my log came up and I realized that I hadn’t put fingers to keyboard in two months. Laying in my bed unable to fall ack asleep I figured I ought to remedy that. So here I stand and go figure on a day that I have yet to post a blog for.

When I started this blog, I coined Thursday as “Man-up Thursday”. Now the sensitive man or the liberal woman might think that I am trying to insult the male race and call into question their manhood. That is not the case at all. Honestly, it just sounded good. Today is the one day that I will talk about issues specific to men. So worry not men…man-up.

I am sure every woman will agree when I say that, men confuse me. I swear sometimes I think that they are eternally two years old. At 30+ years old I expect a man to know certain things. That includes the basic mechanics when it comes to a woman….the woman they are sleeping with regularly…menstrual cycle. It is appalling how many men don’t grasp it and have the balls, pun intended to rely on the woman to be diligent. What the hayle…I am tired and I am sure my fellow womenfolk are too.

Years ago, I told one of my brothers that they should know their partner’s cycle as well as their partner. It’s not rocket science and with today’s technology it’s easier than ever. But because y’all menfolk are special, I am going to give you the gift of free information. In a nutshell, I am taking away your cough EXCUSES.

First off, the proper word to describe that dreadful wrapped in joy monthly occurrence is menstruation. Yes, I know self included that we tend to se the word “period” to describe it but in truth a period is a form of punctuation. On average, a woman’s cycle is 28-days but it can range from 21-35 days in adults. Everyone is really different and even more every month can vary. The 1st day of the cycle begins the day her menstruation starts for any given month.

In the first half of the cycle, levels of estrogen (the “female hormone”) start to rise. Estrogen makes the lining of the uterus (womb) grow and thicken. Concurrently, an egg, or ovum, in one of the ovaries starts to mature. At about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle, the egg leaves the ovary. This is called ovulation. As the egg makes its way through the fallopian tube to the uterus hormone levels rise and help prepare the uterine lining for conception. Conception is more likely to occur during the 3 days before or on the day of ovulation. This is because sperm can live longer than an egg. So if you had intercourse 3 days ago, that sperm is chilling waiting to pounce. It can also happen 1 to 3 days after, based on the same concept. Keep in mind, women with cycles that are shorter or longer than average may ovulate before or after day 14.

A woman becomes pregnant if the egg is fertilized by sperm cell and attaches to the uterine wall. If the egg is not fertilized, it will break apart. Then, hormone levels drop, and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period. The day before the menstrual engines is the last day of her cycle.

In a 28-day cycle, a woman is typically infertile from day 21 to day 5 of the next cycle. Her fertile day typically starts on day 6 even if she is still menstruating. Please understand that a woman can conceive while she is menstruating.

So you see, it is really not rocket science. While you may not be the one going through the chula body changes you too can take an active role.

Since you menfolks are visual beings, I was able to find the most graphic picture so you could understand the mechanics. I suggest you memorize it. It may save your pickets cause babies are expensive.

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(Photo can be found here)
Well guys that’s all for now. I have 30 minutes before I need to officially get up. I am going to try and take a nap before then. I hope you learned something today. If conception occurred and you didn’t take an active role in preventing it, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you wanted conception to occur…congrats cause your a dad.

In health,
Maliyka is health

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Freezer burn: Egg freezing

Some time ago my mommy (she’s actually my cousin who is like a 2nd mother to me), asked me if I had ever thought about freezing my eggs. Before you start offering condolences, no I am not dying. Rather my eggs are dying. At the time, I had entered into my 30th year and had no still don’t really real prospect of a mate to help me in child making activities. Knowing how much I wanted a child eventually, she was concerned that when I got around to it I would not have any eggs left to fertilize. At the time, I was startled. I was not ready for a child. Children weren’t even on my radar yet here was someone wondering more about my eggs than I was. However, as I detailed in the blog post a few weeks ago I realized that my fertility had a ticking clock attached to it. Even still, I will not be freezing my eggs.

Although, this is not Fertility awareness month over the past few days there have been many post related to freezing ones eggs. One op-ed piece that I read in  the NY Times , did bring home a valid point. That doctor that every woman loves to hate, the OB/GYN almost always talking about pap smears, cancer, and contraception but they never really discuss whether you plan to have a baby. On a personal note, I can attest to that. During my last visit, my doctor asked me what form of contraception I was using. Not once did she say, “Hey you are almost 32 years old, do you plan on having children anytime soon.” While I am not in a rush, it is a conversation that I believe my doctor should have discussed with me. Go figure, she is not even aware that both my maternal grandmother and mother were considered post menopausal way before they were 50. As a matter of fact, my grandmother started going through menopause right after she had my mother. She was 38.
There should be nothing to big or small that a doctor will not talk about with their patients. Even if that patients says, “you know what doc, I don’t plan on having children.” At least the doctor can notate that they had the discussion. Even if my doctor, had broached the topic with me i would not rush to have a child. I am sure that this is one of the reasons why doctors are cautious about broaching this topic. No doctor wants to be liable for any decision that a patient made which is not in their best interest. Here is the thing, as a doctor it is your duty to talk about the good, bad and the ugly. at some point personal responsibility must come into place and this is one of those situations. Some women, may bot even realize that their eggs have am expiration date and the longer they wait the harder it may be to conceive. It is all about education. While I am not promoting egg freezing it cost too much money there maybe someone who is interested. Who better to receive that information from than by your doctor.

As the oldest of 10 children, while I would like children freezing those little things that pop out of my ovaries and roll down my fallopian tube is not a reality for me. I am comfortable with never having any children. But to the woman who has $12,000+ to freeze their eggs good for you. For those women who have a medical condition that may destroy your chances at fertility, you are in luck. With all the health policy changes and us living in a society that values procreation insurance companies may actually pay that high price tag.

Today’s prescription: There is nothing wrong with planning but remember that your plan must be realistic. Tomorrow is never promised.

Tick Tock: There goes that biological clock

 

As the person in charge of my Sorority’s Stork’s Nest I am responsible for facilitating the 1st session. Being a trained community health educator it is a walk in the park for me. Having recently partnered up with Harlem Hospitallocated in none other than Harlem, NY (for those that don’t know that is an area in Manhattan) we recently started our 2nd cohort on September 11th (how ironic). Now every time, I have facilitated a session, an interesting discussion has ensued. This time was no different.

I can proudly say that I am 32 years old. Not trying to brag but I look good. Aside from the weight that I could stand to lose (I’m losing it). My baby face has folks thinking that I am under 30 (not to long ago a woman told me I couldn’t come to a performance at a club because I wasn’t 21) quite often. The thing is, I don’t have any children. In my opinion and that of my mother that is not a bad thing. Coming from *drumroll* a mother who birthed 10 children and me being the oldest I just don’t feel the rush.

As always, when I facilitate the Stork’s Nest session, we talk about the basic things that people need to do while they are pregnant. We also talk about things that they need to look out for as well as what happens at each stage of their pregnancy in terms of development, doctor’s appointments and testing. The 11th was no different in terms of topics covered but the conversation add was enough to add another tick tock to tat dreaded biological clock. During our discussion about test like the amniocentesis I mentioned that unless there was a reason to think that there was a genetic disorder it really isn’t offered to you until you hit 35 years old when you are considered high risk. While discussing this, it came out that I was childless, 32 years old and not planning to have a child for at least 3 years. Doing the math for you, I would be 35 and as one of the women pointed out high risk. She’s right, I would but I am in no rush to move up my schedule.

I am at the age where a lot of my friends have children. This year alone, I have gained so many nieces and nephews via my friends that it’s hilarious. I promise you that I won’t remember any of their birthdays. Without fail, someone always insist that I need to have a child. My response to them is that I am too young. Out of 10 children, my mother only as 2 grandchildren and thankfully, she isn’t pressed for more. There is no question that, one day I do want to have children. I also understand that at 32 years of age having already lost about 90% of my eggs (keep in mind that women are born with all of the eggs that they will ever have) I may have increased difficulty in getting pregnant the longer I wait (ABC News) Honestly though, I am okay with that. Aging a child is a huge step and I know that I am not ready for it. It pisses me off when I ear of mothers throwing their baby in the trash like garbage. Aside from not getting pregnant there are other options. I am not worried that I may have difficulty in getting pregnant. If it is meant to be, it will happen. If not I will adopt. Articles like the one the New York Times put out don’t scare me. My ovaries may look older than my real age but so what. There are already to many people in the world using up resources that are becoming scarce such as water that one less person populating really isn’t a bad thing.

So yeah, after that conversation happened, my clock did tick tock a little louder but I politely hit the snooze button. I refuse to be ruled by the proverbial biological clock. This body belongs to me (God really loaned it to me but you get my point). No one has the right to tell me when I should get pregnant and even when they do I smile and say I am too young to have a baby. After all, I really am.

Today’s Prescription: when it comes to life changing events don’t rush. Granted you are not promised forever but that is not an excuse do things haphazardly. This applies to having children. Family planning is a lost art.

In health,
Maliyka is health