Menstruation through Menopause

Menstruation is a big part of our lives as girls, women, and other menstruators. Perimenopause—the years-long span when our menstrual cycle is winding down—and menopause are equally significant as we grow older. Menstruation and menopause are biological processes and culturally loaded topics. Both are closely linked with ideas about womanhood and femininity.

Unfortunately, these natural bodily processes are often shrouded in secrecy and laden with taboos, disgust, shame, and overall...

Menstruation is a big part of our lives as girls, women, and other menstruators. Perimenopause—the years-long span when our menstrual cycle is winding down—and menopause are equally significant as we grow older. Menstruation and menopause are biological processes and culturally loaded topics. Both are closely linked with ideas about womanhood and femininity.

Unfortunately, these natural bodily processes are often shrouded in secrecy and laden with taboos, disgust, shame, and overall negativity, all of which leads to poor menstrual health. Further, perimenopause and menopause are under-researched and poorly understood by many medical providers, leaving symptoms and concerns unaddressed or poorly addressed, sometimes for years. Because of this neglect and negativity, for many of us even painless menstruation can be fraught with embarrassment and anxiety. Menopause, despite being a healthy and natural part of the lifecycle, is all too often associated with loss of youth, beauty, and fertility, rather than with the wisdom and freedoms of advancing age.

Given that menstruation is the precondition of all human life, why aren’t we encouraged to feel proud of our cycles? Indeed, in a society that values women, we should receive respect and high-quality health care to support us physically and psychologically.

In this section, we explore experiences of the entire menstrual cycle, from menarche (first bleeding) to menopause. In addition to medically accurate information about the menstrual cycle across the lifespan, you’ll learn about specific menstrual and menopausal issues facing people who are trans and nonbinary, disabled, BIPOC, homeless, incarcerated. We also include feminist analyses and ways to get involved with menstrual activism.

Diverse Lived Experiences

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What's your story? Culture, identity, traditions, and socioeconomic status contribute to the impact menstruation has on the individual.

Menstrual Health Conditions

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Menstrual health is a fundamental component of overall health and well being.

Menstruation through Menopause

Addressing Endometriosis in Black Women

AaronAmat/istock

Menstruation through Menopause Sexual Anatomy

Charting Your Menstrual Cycle

Perimenopause & Menopause

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Perimenopause and menopause are natural transitions that affect each person differently.

Illustration by Valentina Talijan

Menstruation through Menopause

An Episode from the Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause

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Menstruation through Menopause

Common Perimenopause Symptoms

Puberty & Menstruation

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A diverse set of topics related to every aspect of menstruation, including the first period (called menarche).

Stigma & Taboo around Menstruation

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Talking about periods can feel uncomfortable or embarrassing. What causes the shame around menstruation and how can we change it?