National Women’s Health Week kicks off Sunday! Today’s Frisky Friday has a handy little checklist to help you make the most of it. Sign into your Bedsider account first and you’ll earn a badge just for reading. (Sounds like a healthy start to the week to us!)
Method Monday: Endometriosis-Awareness Edition
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month! Endometriosis is when tissue from the lining of the uterus (a.k.a. the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. This condition affects up to 10% of U.S. women of reproductive age and an estimated 176 million women and girls worldwide, yet it often takes years (an average of almost 12, according to some sources!) for women with symptoms to be diagnosed. So, in the spirit of raising awareness, here are a few things we think you should know about endometriosis:
- It affects different people differently. For some women, it has no noticeable symptoms, while for others it can mean pelvic or lower-back pain and possible fertility problems. Women who have endometriosis are also 8 times more likely than women who don’t to have painful periods and 7 times more likely to have an ovarian cyst.
- Birth control can be a treatment for it. The most common treatment for endometriosis is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin and ibuprofen, but studies have shown that the pill, the shot, and the hormonal IUD can also reduce the pain associated with endometriosis. When it comes to the pill, extended-cycle pills may be a better option than 28-day-cycle pills.
- Exercise might help too. Some research suggests that getting more than 4 hours a week of exercise can decrease the risk for endometriosis.
- Some women are at higher risk than others. Your risk of endometriosis may be higher if your mother or sister has it; if you have a low body-mass index (BMI); if you started getting your period before age 11; or if your menstrual cycles tend to be on the longer side (more than 5 days). It’s also most common among women 25 to 29 years of age.
About.com has a handy Endometriosis Symptoms Quiz for anyone who thinks they could be among the many women with undiagnosed endometriosis. Of course, if you’re concerned, there’s no substitute for a visit to your health care provider. And if you want to learn more about it, womenshealth.gov has lots of resources. You can also check out endometriosis.org and the Endometriosis Foundation of America (co-founded by none other than Padma Lakshmi of “Top Chef”).
Women’s History Month: Frisky Friday Edition
Women from all over the world (and the men who love them) marked International Women’s Day last Friday with songs, demonstrations, and even self-defense classes. But don’t worry if you missed it—the entire month of March is dedicated to celebrating the awesomeness of women in the past (and present). So in honor of Women’s History Month and Frisky Friday, here’s some fascinating facts about a few of our favorite women ever. If the teasers whet your appetite, go to the Frisky Friday archives for the full story about each of these amazing ladies.
From forever ago…
- Cleopatra. This Egyptian beauty gained power at the age of 17, and her love affairs with both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were the stuff of legends. She stopped at nothing to keep her power—and even killed her own family members to keep control.
- Lady K’abel. This Mayan warrior queen was referred to as Kaloomte, or Supreme Warrior, a title that was usually only given to dudes. She was so revered by her people that they buried her with 1,600 different artifacts.
From not so many moons ago…
- Mata Hari. This legendary exotic dancer picked up her moves in Indonesia and is still one of the most famous dancers in history. Unfortunately, she was later accused of (and executed for) espionage by the French during World War I.
- Josephine Baker. You might remember her as the beauty dancing in her iconic and daring banana skirt, but she was also a Red Cross nurse and an underground courier for the French Resistance during WWII. For more juicy tidbits (and to find out which famous artist she hooked up with), check out our full Frisky Friday about Josephine.
- Eva Perón. Known as Evita and la dama de la esperanza , the lady of hope, she served as Argentina’s first lady from 1946-1952. Eva worked for women’s suffrage and worker’s rights, and was forever immortalized by Madonna herself in the 1996 movie Evita.
And now for some modern ladies…
- Elizabeth Taylor. Our Frisky Friday archives would not be complete without this legend of Hollywood’s Golden Age, who was one of the most beautiful women to have ever graced the planet. Although married eight times to seven different men, Elizabeth’s greatest legacy may be the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
- Stevie Nicks. Stevie rounds out our list because of her killer musical talent and fascinating career with Fleetwood Mac. Since her years with the group, she has worked with wounded soldiers and sold millions of copies of her solo records.
There are so many more incredible women to recognize during this month, so comment and let us know your favorite lady who changed the world.
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If the women who are, presumably, the most knowledgeable about reproductive health are choosing IUDs more often than the rest of us, then what is it our gynecologists know that most women don’t?
From Maren Shapiro’s “The IUD: What Do Gynecologists Know that Other Women Don’t?”, for My Health News Daily.
Do you think the lady docs are on to something?
Holla, Hollaback: An Interview with Emily May
So you’re walking down the street, headed to work, or school, or the laundromat (because only the sweatpants and T-shirt you have on are clean) and you hear: “If no one has told you how beautiful you are today, please let me be the first.” What do you do?
a) Stop and give out your phone number immediately!
b) Keep your blinders up and start walking a little faster.
c) Smile and say thank you.
Personally, I’m an option “c” kind of girl. As I admitted in Street Hollas: When Is It NOT Harassment?, I enjoy the occasional compliment from a stranger in the street. But yes, the reality of how quickly a “You looking good, girl” could potentially turn into a “F*** you, B****” is always in the back of my mind. And when it happens, the experience can ruin more than just your day.
So what is the solution? Because as a single gal in NYC, eliminating the public sphere as a possible place to meet “Mr. Right” is just not realistic.
To get some answers on when a street “holla” crosses the line into “street harassment,” I spoke to Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback!, an international movement dedicated to ending street harassment by empowering victims to share their personal stories. (FYI, according to Stop Street Harassment, street harassment means unwelcome words and actions from unknown persons in public, which are motivated by gender and invade a person’s physical and emotional space in a disrespectful, creepy, startling, scary, or insulting way.)
Emily talked to me about the difference she sees between a friendly street holla and street harassment and explained why she thinks Hollaback! is so important.
Your turn: what are your thoughts and experiences RE street hollas? Is a holla always harassment?
Veralyn Williams is a Multimedia Freelance Journalist currently working in New York City. She has spent 4 years at WNYC Radio working with various departments including: Radio Rookies, Culture, News, and Freakonomincs. Also freelancing for Black Enterprise, BronxNet Television,Bedsider, and The Museum for African Art. Her independent work is featured on her website VeralynMedia.com. Through all of her endeavors she aims to give a voice to perspectives that are often forgotten in the media.
‘In contrast with the traditional linear model, in which desire precedes sex, these results support a nonlinear model of sexuality in older women, because sexual desire did not precede sexual arousal in most women,’ the authors wrote. Women, they suggested, ‘engage in sexual activity for multiple reasons, which may include nurture, affirmation, or sustenance of a relationship.’
From the Los Angeles Times article “Sexual satisfaction highest in oldest, youngest women, study says.”
Why do you engage in sexual activity?