What we wish we knew about our bodies sooner
When it comes to our bodies – and women's health in general – there's so much we don't know and so much we need to unlearn. Here at Unfabled, every day often feels like its filled with more and more self-discovery. But, with all this new knowledge, is there something we'd absolutely make sure we knew sooner if we had the chance to hop in a time machine tomorrow?
This month, we've been asking other founders, people in team Unfabled and medical experts what they wish they knew sooner. Read what they had to say below. Together we can help each other understand the power of our hormones
Hannah Samano, founder of Unfabled:
I wish I'd learned more about my hormones earlier in life because now that I know, I can see the trends and work with them, rather than trying to fight against my hormones. So for example, estrogen – a.k.a the Beyonce hormone that makes you feel literally like a superstar – peaks in the first half of your cycle. Since discovering that, I really make sure that I'm making the most of that energy and passion every month.
Valentina Milanova, founder of Daye:
I first realized that periods don't have to be all 'doom and gloom' and that you can think about your periods as a positive thing when I was 13 and I was reading Anne Frank's diary. There was this passage there where she said, "I can't wait for this momentous day when I'm finally going to become a woman and try on Mama's pads." when she was describing having her first period and how she was really looking forward to it.
And at that time I had my period for three or four years already and it was a really painful period. I would always stain my trousers or my underwear because I wasn't wearing the right pad or the right tampons – I remember reading her diary and just thinking like, okay, I can really implement this into how I think about my own periods.
Shortly after I'd read this, the girls in my school started getting their first period as well and we created this like 'period power group' where we would all walk around the school halls with our pads out really proud and we would go and simultaneously change our pads.
And it was this inspiration from Anne Frank's Diary that helped me completely change the way that I thought about periods and helped me influence my, you know, school girl friends group at that time to also treat their periods in a positive way. I wish I'd seen that sooner, but I also want to share this with as many people as possible so they can have a more positive experience right from the moment they have their first period.
Kate Bunyan, Medical Director of the Stella App:
Eostrogen affects every system in your body and I wish I'd realised the connection sooner. I went through a stage where I was getting a really hoarse voice – after a full day of meetings I'd have completely lost my voice. Now that I'm on HRT and my hormones are being regulated, everything's better.
Chloe Hodgkinson, Unfabled's Social Media Manager:
I would say the one thing I wish I knew sooner was how important eating enough and resting enough was for my menstrual cycle. I suffered from hypothalamic amenorrhea for two years (could have been longer but was masked by the pill) where I lost my period completely due to extreme exercise and dieting. Sometimes eating more and doing less is healthier for us and our hormones, and I wish I'd been able to tell myself that.
Ira Guha, founder of Asan:
One thing I wish I knew earlier about my body is that the menstrual cycle is not just the five days that I'm on my period. The menstrual cycle is actually a hormonal cycle of roughly 28 days. It involves ovulation, and it's completely normal to feel super energetic at certain points in the cycle to feel less energetic or low at other points in the cycle. And I think knowing this and expecting this is actually really powerful.
Lyndsey England, Content & Partnerships Lead at Unfabled:
I struggled with cramps and pretty bad menstrual symptoms from the moment I got my first ever period. I spent so long relying on paracetamol to get through my period, not realising I was focusing on symptom relief rather than getting to the root of the problem. If I could go back, the one thing I would've told myself is that your entire cycle – everything you do during the month in the lead up to your period – affects your symptoms. Basically, figuring out how to support your overall health and wellbeing will help your symptoms. If your period is out of whack, and impacting your life, it's worth figuring out how your general health could be supported, too. It's only since I started caring for myself throughout my cycle as a whole that I noticed my period symptoms start to improve.
Le'Nise Brothers, author of You Can Have a Better Period:
The one thing I wish I knew about my body when I was younger is actually how much my menstrual cycle affects so many different aspects of my life. It would have affected my school life, it definitely affected my work life, it affects how I socialise and it even affects the way I feel about myself. So if I could rewind the clock, that's the one thing I'd tell myself.