Menstruation & Masturbation
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Period. Menses. Time of the month. Shark week. Having the painters in.
There are many ways to describe the point in our menstrual cycle where the lining of our womb breaks away, after no egg has successfully implanted. The results are always pretty similar and if you’re lucky, your best friends, housemates and sisters will all sync and suffer at the same time, thanks to our glorious
cycle. You can almost guarantee a triad of sticky red brown blood flooding between your legs and inevitably onto best knickers, the overwhelming need to eat your own body weight in fatty goodness foodstuffs and pain.
This experience of pain sits on a wide spectrum. For some uterus owners, this pain can be a mere niggle. For others, it is debilitating. Whether this is from differences in pain threshold, intensity of cramps or due to another medical condition such as endometriosis, it’s about time we stopped telling people to “man up”. There are plenty of options for relieving pain when it comes to periods. Tried and tested methods include simple analgesia (paracetamol and ibuprofen), hot baths and gentle exercise. However there is a far more pleasurable means with to actively treat pain… yes, I am talking about solo sex.
When we masturbate, our brain releases our supply of happy hormones. These include dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. Endorphins, which also get released after running or eating dark chocolate, are the body’s magical pain killers. They work actively on pain receptors (opioid receptors specifically) to reduce pain, in the same way a pain killing tablet would. Even better, evidence also shows that these endorphins hang around for hours afterwards, dulling our perception of pain.
Some way out there neuroscience experiments, whereby people stimulated their clitoris whilst in a brain scanner, demonstrated that masturbation actually alters your state in consciousness. You think in a whole new way! This is by activating pathways in the prefrontal cortex, which is believed to alter the way we feel pain.
When we masturbate, we increase blood flow to the pelvis. Now, this may seem counterintuitive, seeing as you are bleeding during a period. However, by increasing blood flow, you are bringing more oxygen and more anti-inflammatory mediators to the area. This actively reduces back spasms and abdominal cramping.
Vibration itself has pain alleviating effects, so having a good strong rumbly vibrator like The Big One or The Wild One may have some perks. It is believed that low level mechanical (vibratory) stimulation can activate our pain blocking pathways, reducing our experience of pain. This is particularly good for muscle spasm and low back pain.
Masturbation offers an alternative pain relief option to explore, which is likely to have minimal side effects. A few health tips (I am a doctor after all!):
· During your period, the microbiome (our natural bacteria) and pH are more vulnerable to being altered. This can result in conditions such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and thrush. We can help protect our vaginal health by using gentle water based lubricants and washing our vulva with water after masturbation (no douching though!).
· It’s important to clean toys afterwards with toy cleaner or with a gentle soap.
· May not be a bad idea to pop a condom on the toy either as blood can stain certain silicones!
Based on our selection here at Kandid, I have a few recommendations to make:
· If you enjoy external stimulation, focussed predominantly on your clitoris, try The Small One. This little rumbly creature will send waves down into your pelvis, helping to alleviate cramps and replacing them with waves of pleasure.
· If you want a stronger version of this, try our Big One. This is also great for massaging other areas, such as the glutes, to release muscle tension (I do it all the time after dance class!).
· If you want gentle internal stimulation, try The Smooth One. The soft silicone and high frequency vibrations will help induce relaxation of the surrounding muscles.
Be you. Be better. Be Kandid.
Dr Elesha Vooght