The One Thing You Need To Do To Your Reusable Shopping Bag To Protect Your Health

Reusable bags might be eco-friendly, but experts say they could be putting your health at risk.

The UK’S Food Standards Agency (FSA) warns that using the same vessel to carry raw and ready-to-eat food and other household items can spread harmful bacteria and cause nasty stomach bugs.

According to the watchdog, deadly germs such as E coli and campylobacter can even be transferred from the outside of packaging when bags are reused.

“Ideally, you should have enough bags to carry raw foods, ready-to-eat foods and non-food items such as washing powder separately,” The FSA’s website states.

“Keep enough bags for life for raw foods only and don’t use the same bags again for ready-to-eat foods or for carrying other household items.” 

It’s advised that reusable bags be colour-coded or labelled to avoid any mix-up.

And while plastic reusable bags should be replaced in the case of spillage, their fabric counterparts can simply be washed or cleaned.

“Even if there are no obvious spillages or staining after several uses, we would recommend that cotton/fabric bags for life be machine-washed regularly if they have been used for carrying raw items,” the FSA recommends.

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You'll Want To Copy What Sportswoman Sammy Bremner Eats For Dinner

2 of my fave things in Bali + Brem 🌽 🌴💙

A post shared by NSW & AUS Jillaroos Fullback 🏈 (@sammybremner) on

Discover what the Women’s Health initiative WinS is and how you can get involved here.

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"I Broke Up With My Phone For A Month – Here's What Happened"

I decided to end things one rainy Wednesday evening. My boyfriend was telling a story, and stopped to ask if I was listening. Huh? Who me? I was scrolling Instagram, the same thing I’d been doing mindlessly for the last 20 minutes – and during both one-hour commutes that day. My phone and I definitely needed to go on a break. 

We may not be the only ones – 18 per cent of Aussies have argued with partners about their phone use, reveals a 2016 Deloitte report, and nearly a third of us tap away during the night (guilty – hey, Whatsapp). In a case of perfect timing, new book How To Break Up With Your Phone had landed on my desk earlier that week. Author and science journalist Catherine Price writes that while our phones are the bee’s knees in many ways, they also contribute to anxiety, reduced attention span and a sense of disconnectedness. The idea of her 30-day plan? To help you end things with your phone, but then kickstart a healthier, more-balanced relationship with it. Challenge accepted.

Day 1: Get a tracker

Price suggests this as a starting point, so I downloaded free app RealizD to monitor my phone use over three days. My prediction: an hour daily, max. The reality: at least that. One day, I picked it up 90 times and was on there for three hours all up. WTAF? Boy, this was confronting, but it’s a great exercise if you need motivation for a break-up.

Day 2: Check in with yourself

What do you want to pay attention to? Ask this whenever you reach for your phone. As per Price’s advice, I snap a photo of a piece of paper with the question written on it, and set that as my lock screen to remind me. If I still wanted to use my phone after seeing that, all good, but often it prompted me to get back to the people/work/meal in front of me. 

Day 9: Streamline apps

You prioritise, you delete, you create sub-folders for your apps. The best takeaway? Reserve your home screen for tools only – what Price describes as ‘apps that improve your life without stealing your attention’. Things like maps, camera, banking, weather and the actual phone. Social media, dating apps et al go to another screen if you haven’t deleted them already (I nixed Facebook and banished Insta to my third screen). It’s surprising how little you think about an app when it’s not right in front of you.

Day 10: Turn it into a landline

Rather than charging my phone next to the couch each evening (where I’d inevitably check it during <Law & Order> ad breaks), I started powering it up at my work desk, then leaving it in my bag when I got home. I could hear it ring and knew where it was if needed, but it wasn’t constantly strapped to my side. I’m trying to keep this one up – it’s surprisingly liberating.X-HEAD:

Day 11: Swap rewards

Suss out what you’re after when you reach for your phone (eg, connection, info, distraction, boredom relief) and find other ways to get the same result. I spent my ferry commute scrolling Insta to see what friends were doing, so instead I started using the journey to Facetime them for catch-ups. Still using my phone, I know, but with a much heftier dose of connection.

Day 14: Rope in mates

To crack down on ‘phubbing’ aka phone-snubbing (check Facebook at brunch? Text mid convo? You phubber, you), I asked friends to leave their phones in a box when we had dinner one night. I’ve heard of groups enforcing this: whoever cracks and picks up their phone first has to foot the bill. Fortunately for our bank balances, I was cooking risotto at home. I expected resistance, but everyone was willing. Relieved even. It felt nice to digi-detox for a few hours.

Day 20: The 24-hour separation

I left my phone in a drawer on Friday night and said bye ’til the following eve. On Saturday, we did chores then went for a beach walk and ice-cream (make plans for this day, says Price). It was #foodporn gelato and my instinct was to snap a photo. I felt frustrated for a moment, but got over it just as quickly – there was salted coconut goodness to be eaten, plus my food pics never do a meal justice anyway. 24 hours wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be (‘out of sight out of mind’ comes to… mind) and I felt lighter, with no self-imposed pressure to snap/answer/call/search anything.

Day 30: Pat on the back

Challenge completed. I’ve changed some habits and become more aware of how I use my phone – it’s still part of my life, but we’re not in each other’s pockets 24/7. And it feels good. “I think I’m better now. Reformed, do you reckon?” I ask my partner. He thinks for a moment. “Yeah, you’re better than you were… I’d say semi-reformed.” Hey, I’ll take that.

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Love Bombing Is The Newest Dating Tactic Causing Trouble

We’ve already had to suffer through ghosting and breadcrumbing – but ‘love bombing’ is the latest form of dating torture. In fact, this technique has been used by notorious cult leaders to manipulate their followers.

What is it? We’re talking guys who shower you with love, texts, dinners, flowers, talks about the elusive ‘future’. He showers you with ‘love bombs’. Lures you into a false sense of security. This guy is an actual unicorn. Until he isn’t…

Because after an intense period of throwing love bombs left, right and centre – he turns. The love bomber uses all the brownie points he’s earned as an excuse to treat you poorly. Because, you know, he did give you flowers at the start. Eye roll.

RELATED: The Strange Reason Your Ex Is Still Texting You

So how do you tell the difference between a guy who’s just genuinely affectionate and a controlling love bomber? According to Dr Dale Archer of Psychology Today, these are the three warning signs that your new “true love” could be a love bomber:

You’ve just met but you’re already “soul mates”
“Manipulative love bombers don’t just walk up and say: ‘We belong together,’” says Archer. “Masquerading as ‘good listeners,’ the bomber gathers intel on your likes, dislikes, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. Before you know it, they’re saying you have so much in common, therefore you must be soul mates.” Archer says to think of your best friend and how long it took to develop your bond. Is it likely this guy you just met knows you as well as your BFF? If your answer is, YES! Then you should be waving a red flag right now.

They’ve planned out your future
This guy is throwing out statements (not questions!) like ‘When we go to the Amalfi Coast together…” and “When we buy a golden retriever…” “Love bombers don’t ask; they declare how things will be, with conviction,” says Archer. “They don’t sound crazy, because chances are you’ve already shared your hopes and dreams, while they were being such ‘good listeners.’”

They put you on a pedestal
They build you up to be an idealized object – they say you’re absolutely perfect. In this way, it makes it easier for them to bring you down, too. “Just as the love bombing is the positive reinforcement (you do what I want, and I’ll shower you with love), the devaluation is the negative consequence (you did something wrong, so I’m punishing you,” explains Archer.

All the more reason to go slow in a new relationship. And if this controlling behavior is already happening to you – speak to a counsellor or psychologist immediately.

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Can't Remember Your Dreams? There’s A Vitamin For That

In deep sleep, dreams can be so vivid you feel as though you’re living that very moment. But as soon as you wake up, at best you might remember the plot line. 

But according to a study published by the University of Adelaide, taking a Vitamin B6 supplement could help you remember the finer details of last night’s snooze.

Gathering a diverse group of 100 people from Australia, scientists carried out an investigation into how consuming a 240 mg vitamin B6 before bed for five consecutive days would affect sleeping. 

“Our results show that taking vitamin B6 improved people’s ability to recall dreams compared to a placebo,” says research author Dr Denholm Aspy, from the University’s School of Psychology.

“Vitamin B6 did not affect the vividness, bizarreness or colour of their dreams, and did not affect other aspects of their sleep patterns.”

“The average person spends around six years of their lives dreaming. If we are able to become lucid and control our dreams, we can then use our dreaming time more productively,” continues Dr Aspy. 

“Lucid dreaming, where you know that you are dreaming while the dream is still happening, has many potential benefits. For example, it may be possible to use lucid dreaming for overcoming nightmares, treating phobias, creative problem solving, refining motor skills and even helping with rehabilitation from physical trauma.”

Participants felt the effects of the vitamin strongly. “It seems as time went on my dreams were clearer and clearer and easier to remember. I also did not lose fragments as the day went on,” commented one of the participants after completing the study while another said, “My dreams were more real, I couldn’t wait to go to bed and dream!”

Foods such as whole grain cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, eggs, red meat, liver, and fish contain Vitamin B6.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health.

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5 Women Share How They Were Finally Diagnosed With PCOS

No two women experience polycystic ovary syndrome in the exact same way. PCOS, an endocrine disorder in which levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are imbalanced, can trigger a wide range of symptoms, including (but not limited to!) irregular periods, migraines, facial hair growth, weight gain, insulin resistance, painful periods, ovarian cysts, and fertility problems. PCOS affects as many as one in 10 women.

And, unfortunately for these women, it often takes years or even decades to receive a diagnosis for the hormonal disorder, delaying treatment and much-needed relief. While there is no cure for PCOS, it can be effectively managed with the help of an endocrine specialist or ob-gyn. Once diagnosed, symptoms are typically treated with some combination of hormone therapy (birth control pills are one common form), diabetes medication, and diet and exercise modifications.

Why is it so difficult to diagnose? Because, apart from the symptoms of PCOS often being dismissed entirely or attributed to other issues, there’s no one-size-fits-all test for diagnosing PCOS, says ob-gyn Mary Jane Minkin.

“While performing an ultrasound of the ovaries to look for small cysts, testing testosterone levels in the blood, and measuring insulin levels can help detect PCOS, many clinicians rely instead on clinical parameters,” Minkin says. Think: Does the patient demonstrate classic symptoms of PCOS such as irregular periods or facial-hair growth?

So, yeah, getting to the root cause can be complicated. Here, real women share how they finally got the diagnosis they needed. Plus, how they make living with PCOS work for them:

“I REMEMBER LEAVING HIS OFFICE FEELING LIKE MY WORLD WAS CRUSHED.”

“My general practitioner first told me my irregular periods might be due to PCOS when I was 18, but I thought little of it. However, years later when I was 26, I began bleeding for a month straight, which sent me straight back to the doctor. That was when she referred me to a gynaecologist for a proper diagnosis. The gynaecologist told me that yes, I have PCOS, showed me the infamous ‘string of pearls’ on my ovaries, asked me how old I was, and told me I better have children soon or the meds wouldn’t be able to overcome the ‘disease.’ He ordered me some blood work and sent me on my way.

“I remember leaving his office feeling like my world was absolutely crushed—I may never have children and why would any man want someone who was ‘broken’? I wasn’t being treated and was still experiencing irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, weight gain, acne, depression and anxiety, and headaches and migraines. I decided to see a new doctor and she tested my testosterone levels, vitamin D levels, and did an additional ultrasound on my ovaries. As one would assume, my levels were all over the place. But at no point did this doctor mention potential difficulties with pregnancy — it was such a relief.

“I was immediately put on the mini-pill, a progestin-only birth-control pill (oestrogen triggers migraines for me and can also cause high blood pressure, which increases the likelihood of stroke for women with PCOS). She also put me on Metformin, a medication for persons with Type 2 diabetes. While I do not have diabetes, women with PCOS are at a much higher risk of developing it, as we already experience similar issues with insulin levels.

“Getting all my symptoms under control has not been achieved yet due to my inability to stay on the right diet and exercise plan, but because of the Metformin and the birth control there is already such a difference. ” — Marci, 34

“IT EXPLAINED ALL THE SYMPTOMS I’D BEEN EXPERIENCING FOR YEARS.”

“I was diagnosed with PCOS by my dermatologist. Post-university, I started developing acne for the first time. I thought maybe that being an ‘adult’ or in a new city was just causing me stress. But as time went on, it wasn’t improving, so I decided to go to the dermatologist—she took one look at me and said ‘Oh, you probably have PCOS.’ I was slightly confused as she explained what PCOS is, but she said that she could give me some topical creams and encouraged me to see an endocrinologist for a proper diagnosis.

“I then frantically looked up PCOS, reading that the main symptoms were ‘menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity’ and that it was ‘the leading cause of infertility in the United States.’ My mind immediately jumped to if I would be able to have kids and how this might affect future relationships. When I called my mum, I think she was even more upset then me — that was the hardest part.

“I went to my endocrinologist and she was wonderful! She explained all the science to me, told me that this is a common condition and that I would have to go back on birth control to help my symptoms and therefore minimise my risk of infertility in the future.

“As I found out more about PCOS, things really began to fall into place. It provided a great explanation for what my body had been experiencing for years: why I have never been someone who can drop five kilograms easily, why I needed to have laser-hair removal, and why I had such intense sugar cravings. For me, the cutting back on sugar has been the hardest part — I mean, ice cream is amazing.

“Honestly, I feel lucky that I know now that pregnancy might be something that’s difficult for me because I can be proactive about it and I have been able to manoeuvre that conversation in relationships. I have made sure that I keep a consistent weight and am still hoping the acne goes away. As with any major lifestyle change, I take each good day as a good day and if today I wasn’t the best about sugar or whatever, tomorrow I’ll try to be better.” — Anonymous, 24

“NOW, I AM EMBRACING MY SYNDROME.”

“I first realised something was off earlier this year when I began gaining weight despite my consistently healthy lifestyle. No matter how hard I worked, the weight wouldn’t come off. My period became extremely irregular and would go missing for months on end. During sex with my boyfriend I would bleed heavily for no reason and this would be something that occurred on multiple occasions. I became worried because that was just not normal at all. After putting it off for almost a year, thinking the problem would resolve itself, I finally made an appointment to see my ob-gyn. My doctor didn’t say much when I told her my symptoms and what was happening to me, but I trusted that she would get to the bottom of it. She did a pelvic sonogram for me and within a week called me saying I needed to come into the office as soon as possible to talk. During that visit, she broke the news to me that I had polycystic ovary syndrome.

“My doctor explained to me what PCOS is and that it isn’t curable, but treatable. I learned that it could effect my menstrual cycle, weight, that I could possibly gain hair in unwanted places like my face. What scared me the most was that it could affect my fertility in the future. We discussed treatment options and she offered me birth control as one type of treatment and then Provera [a hormonal supplement] with Metformin [an anti-diabetic medication] as my second option. I rejected the birth control offer because I never liked the way BC made me feel. The Provera helps stimulate my menstrual cycle and prevent uterine lining overgrowth, while the Metformin helps prevent diabetes, since PCOS often gives women elevated insulin levels. I took Provera for only two months, as recommended by my doctor, since it’s not something you take continuously, and I have continued to take the Metformin as recommended by my doctor, and this has been successful. My period has finally returned and I have not had any abnormal bleeding. My weight is still fluctuating, but since being diagnosed with PCOS, I’ve learned what foods to avoid and what foods I should eat more of—less starchy foods, less high-sugar drinks and foods, and more wholesome, natural, nutrient-dense foods. So, in all, it has made me cater to my diet more attentively. Luckily, this hasn’t interfered with my daily workouts.

“I remember how afraid I felt when I was first diagnosed and now I am embracing my syndrome. I am a strong woman who is fighting against this incurable syndrome and I believe every woman diagnosed with PCOS can be just as strong and do the same.” — Alysha, 20

“IT MADE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE TO BE PROPERLY DIAGNOSED.”

“I’ve had PCOS symptoms since I first started my menstrual cycle at around age 11 or 12. I was always told that my first menstrual cycle would be light and minimal but it was extremely heavy — that was the start of my irregular periods. I also developed chronic acne around that time. A couple of years later, I began to notice that I had gained about five kilograms pretty quickly. Up until that point, I was very thin, and all the weight was piling on in my midsection. However, I was active in high school so the weight came off relatively easily once I adjusted my eating habits.

“Once I graduated high school and became less active, I began to notice that the scale was moving up again. However, this time it was much quicker and was 10 times harder to lose. I also began having daily migraines, leg cramps, adult acne, and thinning hair. Not long after the weight gain, my menstrual cycle completely stopped. That’s when I began to do research online. The first condition that came up in my Google search was PCOS. I had never heard of it before, but I had many of the symptoms described. After reading that, I intentionally located an ob-gyn who specialises in PCOS. She went down a checklist of symptoms and asked me to answer each question with either yes or no. I answered yes to almost every symptom including oily skin and acanthosis nigricans, a type of patchy skin discolouration. She asked if I had ever heard of PCOS and gave me an information packet. Then, she scheduled an ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts, which I did have. I also had blood work done to check my testosterone and vitamin D levels — it turned out that my testosterone levels were elevated and I had a severe vitamin D deficiency. She confirmed that I had PCOS.

“It made a world of a difference to be properly diagnosed. With individualised treatment like Metformin and birth control prescriptions for the condition, I stopped having migraines, my carb cravings were gone, my skin cleared up, and I finally began to lose weight and have a regular menstrual cycle. My doctor also recommended a low-glycemic, low-carb diet with 45 minutes to an hour of high-intensity exercise several times a week. I also take vitamin D, fish oil, and magnesium supplements every day. Many women are living with these symptoms because they have not been properly diagnosed with PCOS. I was really lucky to have found an ob-gyn who understood my condition and helped me figure out how to control the symptoms.” —Chelsea, 29

“I WISH I HAD A PROPER DIAGNOSIS IN MY TEENS.”

“I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS until I was struggling to get pregnant with my second child, at 26. But looking back, and being educated now, I had all the symptoms starting as early as age 13 — difficulty losing weight, high blood sugar and cholesterol, irregular or absent periods, painful cycles, and cramps.

“Even upon that diagnosis, I wasn’t given much help from my healthcare provider. Essentially, they told me they’d help me get pregnant, and after that I should ‘just lose weight.’ That was it—no resources for support, education on nutrition, or lifestyle changes to aid in the vicious cycle of struggling to lose weight and being told all my issues would be resolved once I did. Weight loss with PCOS is different than without, so I had to do my own research and a lot of trial and error in order to figure out what diet changes actually helped ease my symptoms.

“I wish I had a proper diagnosis, as I should have, in my teens. It would have given me the opportunity to change my lifestyle and treat these specific symptoms earlier on. Now, it feels like I have to work that much harder to undo the damage of not knowing for so many years.” — Shelby, 28

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US

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'Yes, I Have Herpes—And No, It Didn't Ruin My Love Life'

In the past week, you’ve probably heard about how the singer Usher reportedly paid a woman $1.1 million after she sued him for allegedly infecting her with herpes. According to court documents, the woman who filed the lawsuit claimed that “her health and body have been ruined” and that she “has suffered severe emotional distress and has been extremely depressed…knowing there is no cure.”

There’s no denying that the emotional toll of being diagnosed with herpes can be devastating (the stigma is that bad). However, I’m here to say that this woman’s body is NOT ruined. Herpes is manageable, treatable, and it doesn’t have to ruin your life or limit your ability to have an amazing sex life—it hasn’t ruined mine, and I’ve had herpes for 18 years.

I was diagnosed with herpes when I was 16 years old—by my family practitioner. I don’t actually know who I got it from, because I was too afraid to ask or confront anyone who I’d been sexually active with, but I know how I got it: by having unprotected sex.

RELATED: 5 Of The Strangest Places You Can Pick Up An STI

After I saw and felt the first lesions, my mom took me to our doctor, who said, “This is herpes, and it’s the worst case I’ve ever seen in my entire career.” He then walked out of the room and came back with a prescription for Valtrax. That was it.

Living with herpes in my teen years wasn’t exactly easy—at slumber parties, I was forced to sleep on the floor because the girls were afraid they’d get my infection. And if a boy asked one of my friends to introduce us, they’d tell him, “You don’t want me to do that, she’ll just infect you.” 

That truly did impact my view of myself, and my self-worth started to plummet.

But after a long and arduous process of self-discovery, I learned to accept and embrace the fact that herpes didn’t (and doesn’t) define me. I started to hone in on what was going well in my life instead of just my herpes. Not only did I have successes in school—I graduated with multiple honours degrees—but I also had amazing relationships, regardless of my disease.

That’s right, despite what many people may assume, herpes does not mean the end of your dating or sex life. I learned I could go on dates, have serious relationships, and even have amazing sex.

The only real difference when you have herpes is that you need to have an honest conversation about the infection, which is actually really amazing because usually people avoid talking about sex at all.

I admit that it did take me a while to get comfortable having that conversation. I didn’t know how to broach it, and I was scared. The first couple of times I told someone, there were waterworks—it was very dramatic.

But guess what? I’ve actually never had a partner say they didn’t want to be in a relationship with me or not have sex with me after I opened up to them about my herpes. It never really had an impact on the relationship at all.

After opening up the conversation, one previous partner said to me: “You mean, that’s it? That’s all you had to tell me?” And, another said, “Well, that doesn’t change who you are, and I’ve already fallen for you, so it’s just something we’ll have to work around.”

In fact, my now-husband already knew I had herpes before we started dating. We met through Facebook, after I’d launched the STD Project—a website and progressive movement set on eliminating the stigma surrounding STDs. He reached out to me and said: “Everything you’re doing is amazing—it’s so empowering and I love your energy!” We’ve been married since December, and herpes never got in the way of our relationship.

RELATED: 7 Disturbing Facts About Cold Sores Every Woman Should Know

Now, not everyone with herpes have had experiences like mine. Plenty of people experience rejection. But as founder of the STD Project, I’ve spoken to a lot of people with herpes, and I hear over and over that the stigmas associated with it make living with the condition out to be far worse than the reality. The emotional and psychological impact is what’s bad about it, not the infection itself, because that’s really manageable and not a big deal. I’d compare it to maybe getting poison ivy, having psoriasis, or catching a cold—if you polled a bunch of people who’ve had any of those, most would say they don’t like it, but it’s not devastating. I actually get psoriasis on my head, and in my opinion, that’s way more annoying.

So when I hear people say things like a herpes diagnosis means “the world is over,” I find it very disheartening. Because now I know better. Bottom line: Herpes is not the end of the world, unless you allow it to be.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.

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Mum's Post About A Little Known Breastfeeding Phenomenon Goes Viral

While Facebook posts boasting the benefits of breastfeeding seem to be a dime a dozen these days, this one makes a pretty good case.

Last month, Pennsylvania mum-of-two Ashlee Chase took to social media to share a photo of two bags of breastmilk – one appearing white, the other, yellow. 

“Why do you still let your 7-month-old nurse,’” she wrote, echoing criticism she had previously received. “‘she’s too old,’ ‘she’s just using you as a pacifier,’ ‘you need to put her in her own bed.”

“100% that’s why,” she continued. “Top milk is from 3 days ago when a healthy Elliot was nursing. Bottom is from today, after sick Elliot with a fever comfort-nursed all night. This.”

Her post has since been shared more than 7,200 times and received over 5.7k likes.

“I read before that your milk could change for different reasons, but I was so sleep-deprived that morning, I just thought there was something wrong with it,” Ashlee told Yahoo Lifestyle.

But a call to the paediatrician confirmed something incredible: the yellow tinge in the breast milk meant that her body was producing more fat and antibodies to help Elliot fight the infection.

“The illness knocked my 7-year-old out for a week, but the baby only got a runny nose and a slight fever the night before I noticed the yellow,” Ashlee said.

So, how does this work exactly?

According to Leigh Anne O’Connor, a lactation consultant and La Leche League leader, when an infant is sick, the mother’s body naturally increases its white blood cell count in response. 

“The baby’s saliva goes back into the breast and then the breast manufactures special milk to protect the baby,” she told Yahoo.

“This is one of nature’s beautiful tricks to protect the offspring and to keep the population healthy and growing.

While breastfeeding is widely recognised to give newborns the best nutritional start in life, it’s not always the best option for all. For more information visit the Breastfeeding Helpline: 1800 686 268 

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What The Colour Of Your Period Is Trying To Tell You

Apart from stomach cramps, moods and an insatiable hunger, your period may actually be trying to tell you a little bit more about your health then the fact you need chocolate STAT!

The colour of your monthly flow can actually tell you if everything is functioning smoothly down there or if you’ve got a serious menstruation situation.

It turns out your blood work from heavy to light, reddish to dark brown, even the consistency is your va-jay-jay sending you some major signals. Here’s everything you need to know to decode your flow.

Bright Red Blood – this usually indicates the very start of your cycle. Your uterine lining is shedding, and fast – this usually comes with the unpleasurable cramps. In very rare cases this could indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst or miscarriage, vary rare cases ladies, so don’t go getting your knickers in a knot.

Dark Red Blood – this means your blood has been around for longer. This colour blood appears at the end of your cycle due to high estrogen levels, thick lining and a slower shedding rate (all completely normal).

Brown or Black Blood – most common at the very end of your period (light flow or spotting), it’s been stored up the longest.

Light-Coloured Spotting – if right before your period you notice light red or pink spotting this could indicate low estrogen levels. Hormonal issues can lead to other issues later in life (infrequent periods and dryness to name a few) head to your local GP or a gyno if they persist.

Orange Blood – if there is an orange tinge to your blood check for these signs to see if it’s a problem. A ‘slippery’ texture is normal but anything else – especially a bad smell, could be a sign that your blood has mixed with cervical fluids, which is usually the indicator of an infection or STD. If you see this head to your GP or gyno to get it sorted as soon as possible.

Blood Clotting – is pretty normal to see in your monthly flow, especially towards the end of your cycle. Throughout your period Protein Fibrin activates the platelets in your blood to clot it. If you notice white fibres in the clots don’t worry, this is just one of the completely normal side effects. Do worry if you have an unusually high amount of clotting, this can signify a miscarriage – contact your doc if you are worried.

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The First Round Of The Women's AFL Kicks Off And There Won't Be Any Holding Back

The first game of the inaugural AFL Women’s season kicks off tonight, with Collingwood and Carlton going up against each other at Ikon Park in Melbourne.

In the lead up to this history-making game, Women’s Health caught up with Collingwood player Moana Hope and Carlton’s Darcy Vescio to chat about them going head to head. 

Off-field they’re mates. But tonight, it’s All. On. “I have so much respect for the women in the other teams, I think they’re amazingly talented footballers and I’m very close with quite a few of them. But when it’s football, it’s football, they’re not your mates anymore,” says Hope. “They’re the opposition and you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect your teammates and win that game for them. Whatever it takes, you do.”

Both women feel amazingly privileged to be playing in the very first game of the very first season of the women’s national league. “It’s unreal,” says Vescio. “I keep saying that I feel like we probably don’t understand just how momentous this occasion is. We probably won’t see it for what it is until our playing careers are finished and we look back. I feel like I’m in such a privileged position and I just want to do the jumper proud.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BP9XrkAlstx/

 “If the AFL was a person, I’d hug them,” says Hope. “I guess I just normally stick with Gill McLachlan [AFL CEO] and Simon Lethlean [AFL’s general manager of game and market development] for now because they’re running everything, and I’m extremely grateful for them doing all of this, giving women’s sport, women’s football, a go.”

 At the official launch of the season this Wednesday, AFL CEO McLachlan said,

“From this weekend, eight proud clubs take to the field. And it will be football like we’ve always known it. There will be upsets […], thrills. Collingwood and Carlton supporters will still hate the sight of each other.

“But it will also be very different. This group of women players will create their own game. This is year one. One hundred and seventy-six women making their debut carry an extraordinary amount on their shoulders. I ask today that we give them time and space to grow into the elite footballers that we know they can be. We are here for the long haul.”

McLachlan also thanked the sponsors, particularly naming partner NAB, that have taken the leap of faith to support this new league.

 Hope and Darcy are equally thankful for sponsor support. “Special K has just announced me and Darc as their ambassadors, and they’re sponsoring the AFLW. It’s pretty amazing that they’ve come on board,” says Hope. “I was talking to them yesterday, and to see that they actually really care. They’re not just jumping on board because AFLW is one of the hottest things, they’re jumping on board because they really want to get behind it and they’re really pushing to make a difference for women in sport.”

You can get behind these women in sport by tuning into the matches on Channel 7, FOX FOOTY, the AFL Live Official App and AFL.com.au – every game in the season will be broadcast live. And also by attending the games at the stadiums – for free! Find match locations at www.afl.com.au/womens/matches

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