#periodleave

period

Simple yet thought provoking!

How do you identify as a woman? Breasts and periods. The two things that have intrigued the other genders for generations, for centuries or rather since the beginning of the time.

I am a proud woman. I take pride in my breasts, my buttocks, my PMS, my mood swings, my periods, well everything that comes with it!

But it was a journey to reach this point. Nobody encouraged me to take pride in my womanhood, I just had to. I had to, to understand my place in this world, in this evolution.

We women have been working since the beginning of the time. We have been a part of the “workforce” for decades now. We have come a long way from fighting for restrooms and changing rooms for women, to talking about period leave.

When we started joining the workforce, we were primarily joining “men’s world” the rules we accordingly. Rarely were we encouraged, rather we were always made to feel out of place. We were constantly reminded that our place is in the house, taking care of children and family, you know the “womanly” duties. Many of us obliged, working women, ambitious women were looked down upon, their husbands and partners were looked down upon. They became the source of gossip!

We challenged all of that, persevered it all, broke glass ceilings as they say! Now, there is no field of work where women do not excel.

But, all of that came with a price, a price of us WOMEN. We wanted to make our place, be equal to men and in the fight of it all we forgot being us, being women.

We forgot our bodies have certain needs. We forgot to take time for ourselves between work, ambition and family.

A lot of times we had to delay motherhood, as maternity leave would cost us an important project, a promotion and what not. Women in their 20s constantly faced the questions of marriage and motherhood during the interviews. And somehow it was all considered normal. We were still playing by the men’s rules. We were trying to be them.

We tried doing it all, taking pride in the being “super woman”, we have worked hard, very hard to become the perfect mother, wife and daughter, all just to abide by the rules.

All just to please others, we ourselves have set impossible standards.

But in all of this, nobody would talk about periods, the pain, the PMS nothing! Pop a pill, she would say and move on. We have all done the same!

Companies are making money developing drugs to numb the PMS pain, to facilitate bleeding, to postpone or prepone bleeding and let’s not forget the herbal teas, pain oils, aroma therapy and what not.

Ever wondered why do these pills and potions exist? Why do we have so many jokes and memes on women and PMS? Because it is real.

Periods is our body trying to reset. Any gynecologist, oh forget them, talk to your granny, she will tell you how important it is to have a healthy period cycle. We are seeing a constant increase in conditions like PCOS and PCOD, 4 out 10 women are affected by mensuration issues.

I went from a young woman with healthy period cycle to a woman in her thirties with PCOS and extremely painful PMS.

Period experience is different for each woman, just like pregnancy. When we can understand that and debate on pregnancy and maternity leave. Why not for periods? Not all women can travel for hours and sit at workstation for hours during menses. Then need to rest, a woman’s body for that one day atleast needs to rest.

We are a major part of workforce and we need to introduce the debate for period leave.

If you think that a period leave will affect us negatively, will increase inequality, will be misused, will make us look weaker, will increase the taboo, then you are part of the problem.

Period leave will let you talk about periods, it will educate other genders about it, it will reduce the taboo and maybe more washrooms will have sanitary pads available. And nobody will have to be hush hush about it.

Periods still are a taboo because we are making it a taboo. We are perceived to be weak because we are letting them think that.

I have a few questions for women here –

  1. If you have a pain free period, and your friend has a painful period, do you not think a period leave will help? Do you want to help your friend?
  2. If you have a painful period and so does our colleague, she asks you to take over her shift and fly her plane, would you not do that? Would you not expect the same?
  3. How many more years do we need to pop pills and push through?
  4. Why can we not take that one day and reset ourselves?
  5. Do you think periods make us weak?
  6. Do you not think #womensupportingwomen is needed here?
  7. Why do we not have empathy and understanding for our own gender?

Here are my answers (I hope it urges you to think) –

  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. It stops now!
  4. Well, we should, but that somehow is considered a luxury.
  5. No, never, and anybody who says that to me, I will punch them in the face!
  6. Yes absolutely
  7. I have no idea, I wish we had more empathy, love and support for each other.

Let us encourage this discussion, we need to stop being men, we need to be us, we need to be women!

“I will be your light, always by your side, if you treat me right!”

Let us introduce our rules into the game, shall we? And this applies to all women, in all fields of work, rich and poor. Never forget that!

#periodleave


All images are from google.

 

 

 

 

 

Hair and PCOS

A thick mane spells desire, health, beauty and sexiness ❤

hair

Years of experimentation, coloring, cuts, curling, etc. takes a toll on the hair and then you add PCOS to the mix and boy oh boy! you have the female pattern baldness staring right at you!

Sounds scary right?

Yes, I learnt hair care the hard way. But I have learnt to a point of being obsessed with my hair.

Growing up we never relate our hormones to our hair, but they are, unfortunately they are! ☹

So, what is female pattern baldness?

It is the loss of hair from frontal and vertex region of the scalp. That’s the front and the sides.

bald

Well yes, so let us get a grip 😪 and understand how we can deal with hair loss.

  1. The first step is to come to terms with the FACT that you have hair loss and it is going to be a part of your life for a long long long time.
  2. Do not panic and, try to diagnose the damage caused by the hair loss. Again, please do not panic, it is not going to help. Talk to a professional and understand the damage.
  3. Hear the professional out on the plan of treatment.
  4. Check with your gynecologist if the plan is OK and will not interfere with your PCOS treatment.
  5. The usual course of treatment is a combination of oral contraceptive pills, anti-androgen, biotin and other multi vitamins. The doctor may also prescribe topical treatments like minoxidil.
  6. They work but they are not long term solutions.

What has worked for me though –

  • keeping my scalp clean
  • oiling my hair once a week
  • a mask of an egg + olive oil
  • deep conditioning once a month
  • 5 ml of Apple cider vinegar with warm water first thing in the morning
  • followed by a tsp of roasted and ground fenugreek seeds+ aliv seeds with a glass of warm water
  • not tying my hair too tight
  • not sleeping on wet hair
  • using good hair clips and bands
  • no heat on the hair
  • including yogurt and buttermilk in my diet

I wouldn’t say that I have the best hair in the world, but I have managed my hairfall well. I am not losing my hair at an alarming rate. The texture is good and atleast I am not going bald. 😎

You could try these, but do consult your doctor once. Apple cider vinegar helps with skin and digestion too so that’s an added bonus 😁.

Just listen to your body, it will tell you how to heal yourself, just listen and follow 🙂

 

 

Dumplings

dimsums

naughty dumplings 😛

Every Ganesh Chaturthi, I would wake up early along with my mother to help her prepare Bappa’s favorite modak, and mine too.  We would make the sweet coconut filling and steam it in rice flour dough. The fragrance of the coconut and cardamom would fill the house. The glossy modaks would glisten as prasadam for the almighty. The steamed sweet coconuty dumpling marks Bappa’s love for food and our love for him!

modak

Dumplings are special! Be it Holi or Diwali, we would have some form of dumpling as a part of the food spread.

It is no wonder that momos have taken the street food world by the storm. You cannot walk a 100 mts here in India without a momo kiosk by the side of the road.

Momo_nepal

But momos are a recent addition to our dumpling culture. Let us look at the older and probably forgotten dumpling recipes native to India.

Pitha – Popular in Orissa, Bihar, Bengal and Assam, they are can sweet or savory. The stuffing can be coconut, dal, spices and a lot more.

pitha

Fara – A savory dumpling with the filling of dal and spices in rice dough steamed to perfection.

fara

Karanji – A sweet dumpling with the stuffing of coconut and jaggery in wheat flour dough. This is deep fried dumpling.

karanji

Dal Dulhan – A preparation that is popular during the weddings and is also a ritual. Wheat flour dough is stuffed with potatoes or veggies or can be used plain and then boiled in flavorful dal. Also it is a super fun way to get your kids to enjoy cooking. 🙂

daldulhan

These are just a few dumplings from our Indian basket! Tell us what your love for dumpling is like? Which is your favorite? What kind of dumplings does you culture have? We would love to know! 🙂

Also, next time if you in a mood to eat something creative, healthy and tasty, try one of these dumplings and I am sure you will love them too! ❤


All images are from google.

Eggplant, Aubergine, Brinjal!

eggplant

Call it what you may but here in India brinjal is the “king of vegetables”. We fry it, curry it, and also make a dip out of it! Every region has its own yummy too good to be true collection of brinjal recipes.

Brinjals are fleshy, meaty and develop a unique flavor when cooked. We call them baingan, Vangi, beguni etc.

Think about this a bowl of nice hot daal, with steaming hot rice and crispy brinjal fry like Begun bhaja from West Bengal!

bb

Or brinjals cooked with potato with onions garlic and spices. Like baigan masala from Uttar Pradesh.

bmas

Or the smoky and tangy and with the kick of raw mustard oil – Baingan ka chokha from Bihar.

chokha

Or the earthy freshness of coriander with spicy goodness of Baingan ka bharta from Punjab.

bharta

Or lets say spicy and tangy gutti vankaya (peanut based gravy) from Andhra Pradesh.

gutti

Or flavorful and unforgettable bharli vangi (peanut and onions based gravy) from Maharastra.

bharli

Oh yes and what about the sour doi begun (yogurt based gravy) from west Bengal?

doi begun

Salivating much?

Think about some simple pita bread with baba ghanoush!

baba

Or the world famous ratatouille!

rata

Well yes, brinjal is versatile and full of goodness high-fiber, low-calorie food. So go ahead grill it, fry it, curry it or roast it and just enjoy the yummy goodness!


All pictures are from google.

 

 

Skin and PCOS

skcare

Pigmentation, acne, thick and slimy skin comes as a part of the PCOS wreck package. Any sort of skin issue effects not just the physical appearance but also confidence. To add to it try being a dark-skinned woman approaching her thirties with weight gain and skin issues! Oh yes that is a different sort of hell!

I have pigmentation around my mouth, dark circles, pigmentation around my neck and underarms with thick skin. The main cause for this is the insulin resistance that comes with PCOS.

It is always a good idea to consult a dermatologist and that is exactly what I did! Finding a good dermatologist is tricky, kind of like finding a partner. It sounds great at first but then it is all horse crap!

The key is to understand the products that work for your skin. It does take a lot of trial and error and hell of a lot patience. In my case, my skin likes simplicity. A good moisturizer, sunscreen, a night cream and vitamin c and a lot of face masks 😛

They have all helped a great deal!

But it wasn’t all easy, I went to the dermatologist thinking I will walk out with the most gorgeous skin and no pigmentation, no scars and looking like a million bucks just like the makeover shows! Well, the dermatologist told me right off the bat that, the treatments and procedures will help minimize the damage but will not eliminate it.

I obviously was disappointed and for the money I was spending I wanted more. But I did realize that she set my expectation right, I knew what I was getting into and what works for my skin. The basic DOs and DONTs of skin care!

I follow most of it even now and I am sure I will continue to follow and upgrade it with age.

skincare

It is also very important to identify and understand the factors that trigger acne or darken the pigmentation. For example, when I started working out, my face was filled with acne bumps and took forever too heal. Or when I eat sweets or take sugar in any form the pigmentation around my neck worsens.

So, even with skin care it is a journey, we need to get back to the basics and stick to them. A good skin care regime needs to be simple, cost effective and time effective. But it does require a great deal of consistency! Design a skin care regime for yourself that you can follow even on your most hectic days and that’s the one you stick with. Even a moisturizer and night cream used consistently will give you great results. And this falls true even for women not suffering from PCOS.

So be patient, be consistent and love yourself, because hey! You are on this journey and the experience can be incredible!

skincare-quotes-post-4

Living with PCOS

My face was covered with small bumps, my skin was itchy and foggy, I never had acne even as a teenager. Concerned I visited a dermatologist. She asked me if – I was always tired? I had put on weight? Were my periods were irregular? I had yes to all! A big YES. She said – “I suspect you have PCOS”.

My reaction was – “What is PCOS? How can I cure it? When will my skin heal from the acne?”

She wrote a few tests and advised me to consult a gynecologist. I got the tests done and  visited a reputed Gynecologist. The gynecologist confirmed I had PCOS and started me on Diane 35, M2 tone. I was advised to lose weight and make dietary changes. I was 29. My weight had moved from a good 54 to 68 kgs in less than a year.

This started my battle with weight, skin issues, mood swings, doctor visits that I tried to counter with numerous diets, allopathic medicines, naturopathy, homeopathy and Ayurveda.

I am 35 now. I weigh 87 kgs at the moment. My BMI is overly obese. I always have back ache. It’s been 2 months to my last period.

80e1b9a7-cb26-40b8-815c-7c8d903c1306

The challenges I face are –

  • acne prone skin
  • hairfall
  • irregular digestion
  • difficulty in sleeping
  • irregular and painful menses
  • mild to severe body ache
  • difficulty in losing weight

I am sure anybody with PCOS reading this will agree with the symptoms and for the lucky ones with no PCOS this will seem scary. Well it is! It is scary and it takes time to understand the symptoms and work your way with them.

For example, I have a skin care regime that I have to stick to no matter, else my skin breaks into acne bumps. The make up I use is bare minimum and I had to go through a lot of trial and error to find what works with my skin.

The last 6 years I have lost weight, gained weight, my periods have become regular and then again irregular. In short I have understood my symptoms better.

With all the challenges that come with PCOS I have also come out from a bad marriage to a loving partner, made my career and lived a little more.

What I have learnt in the last 6 years –

  1. This is not a BATTLE, but a JOURNEY. I do not need to fight. I need to heal. Mentally and physically. It takes time. But it is worth it.
  2. Diets do not work. Healthy eating does. Healthy eating is not temporary changes but a lifestyle.
  3. Exercising is important, more important than those medicines. Any form of exercise is good.
  4. Food is not just for “comfort”. But good food can be healing!
  5. You cannot fully heal physically unless you heal mentally.
  6. Its ok to feel pain and talk about it.
  7. 100% honesty with your doctor.
  8. Do not expect immediate changes. Let the healing take its course.
  9. Accept yourself, forgive yourself, love yourself!

Living with PCOS is not easy. I am trying to heal and better myself. For now I am just accepting myself!

This is me at 26, no PCOS and a different life.

IMG_4739

I know I can never be that person again. I can better, wiser and older. And I want to do just that! As they say time is the best healer, but for me time is also the best teacher!

 

 

 

PCOS vs PCOD

What is the Difference?

PCOD and PCOS have very similar symptoms, and both the conditions are related to the ovaries and both cause hormonal disturbances, as a result many a times we interchange  PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease) and PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), however, they are very different conditions.

Women have two ovaries which release an egg alternately every month. These ovaries also produce female hormones that are responsible for many things like fertility, period schedule, facial hair, etc. apart from these they also produce androgens or male hormones but in very minute quantities.

c319d430cfa07ba1f46d61f547c34173012fc977

What is PCOD?

PCOD is a condition in which the ovaries contain many immature or partially mature eggs. They, eventually, turn into cysts. Junk food, being overweight, stress and hormonal disturbances give birth to this condition.  Common symptoms of PCOD are irregular periods, abdominal weight gain, infertility and male pattern hair loss. The ovaries usually become enlarged in this problem and secrete large amounts of androgens that cause havoc with the woman’s fertility and her body.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a metabolic disorder that is more severe than PCOD. In this condition, the ovaries produce a higher quantity of the male hormone, and this leads to the formation of more than ten follicular cysts in the ovary every month. This stops the release of egg leading to anovulation. Symptoms include hair loss, obesity, and infertility.

Common Symptoms

The common symptoms for PCOS and PCOD are –

  1. Weight gain – A sudden increase in weight, or change in appetite, or change in cravings can be a symptom.493ss_thinkstock_rf_bmi_body_mass_index_illustration
  2. Hair loss – Increase in hairball, hair feeling dry and frizzy can be a symptom as well.

images

3. Skin Pigmentation – Darkening of skin, especially around the folds like neck, underarms and even on the face should not be ignored.  This can also lead to Acanthosis Nigricans. nigratis-1

4. Acne – Increase in acne on face or body. jawline-acne

5. Body ache – unexplainable body ache, feeling dull and restless even after full sleep cycle. Or experiencing disturbed sleep cycle.

6. Lower back ache – A constant lower back ache, that does not seem to go away.

7. Mood swings – Feeling dull, lifeless and depressed for no reason to being extremely happy and cheerful.

8. Irregular periods – Missing on menses, or heavy menses, or painful menses.

9. Irregular sex drive – A few days you do not want to be touched or even looked at and a few days all you want is to have SEX!

I am sure a lot of you women are nodding their heads agreeing to the symptoms, wondering why did I not see its sooner? Thinking this is scary, will I ever be OK?

The symptoms vary from woman to woman, but once diagnosed, you need to work on improving you situation. PCOS and PCOD call for major lifestyle changes. From your food, sleep, mental health, exercise and everything else!

Please do not make the mistake of ignoring your body and mind.

I will be documenting everything I try to improve my situation. How it effects my health and my medical reports. I try to break free from the viscous cycle of hormones. Lets see if I do. Lets see if it can help you too!!

 

Writer

write

This is all I ever wanted to be, my first love, my passion! Writing makes me happy, it is my soul, it is me.

But, I go through these spells of self-doubt and anguish, I am not good enough, my writing is not good. Nobody reads me. Nobody listens.

I see all the amazing writers with their poems, stories and experiences and I think I can be so much more. I can be like them. I want to be like them, but also be me. With every first draft, I realize slowly, I can be me, my writing is me, it is a journey, everything is, a story is, I cannot rush things, I cannot imitate, I just need to write and write what I think, how I feel, my story, my characters, my beginnings, my endings and the rest will follow.

So, to all the  greatest writers, Cheers!!! May we never stop writing!

%d bloggers like this: