It's Time for Us to Get Real About Our Awful Periods

lena dunham on set of girlsLove Lena Dunham or not, you gotta give the girl credit: She is not afraid to go there. This month, in the eighth installment of her Lenny Letter, she talks all things endometriosis and periods, and while you might feel like it's all a bit much, it's actually super-duper important.


Even if you're a lady who would call yourself "old-school" or "dignified," or you just happen to think that talking about periods is gross, you should do it anyway -- for your health.

For Lena and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, it was a long, painful battle with endometriosis, which plagued them with debilitating periods. They both describe spending days hiding away, dealing with their symptoms silently. Feeling guilty about missing out.

But women facing this and similar battles should feel free to talk about what's going on with their bodies. Not just throw on sweatpants and pretend it's not happening.

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Menstruation is a vital and significant part of over half the population's health, and we aren't even allowed to talk about it. The kind of pain you have, where it hurts, even the consistency of the blood itself are all clues to what's going on in our bodies each and every three to four weeks. Your period can be an indicator of ovarian cancer and all other kinds of health issues from STDs to pregnancy.

And we just ignore it out of politeness or decorum or some other invisible reason to deny reality. We have to watch commercials that use blue water in sterile lab environments to show you the precise number of milliliters of liquid a pad can absorb.

It's crazy when you really think about it. Also, it's hard to imagine men handing something like a monthly cycle like it's some shameful secret.

So, the next time you have a period, go ahead and acknowledge it, and take a little time to check in with yourself and your body. How do you feel? What is your body trying to tell you? Seems like a much more reasonable way to approach the whole affair, right?

And thanks, Lena and Padma and all the other women willing to open up about their periods. It's important for all of us to try to get over the embarrassment and to go there a little more often.


 Image via ACE/

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