The year 2016 brought a lot of unexpected surprises and opportunities related to a lady’s reproductive health. There’s a lot more work to do, but things are looking up down there! Here are five important reproductive highlights from the year:
1) Innovation and Investment Flow into Menstrual Products
Let the river run with variety and healthful choices for girls and women to choose from for handling their monthly flow. The year 2016 bolstered the awareness and use of menstrual cups, menstrual cloths, period undies, and the new menstrual disc by Flex—a disposable 12-hour tampon that sits at the base of a lady’s cervix and collects blood rather than absorbing it.
Ladies are also benefitting from non-gmo organic, non-synthetic, and chemical-free tampons and pads like never before.
Companies that make common brands of tampons and pads are still not required to disclose the ingredients used in making them, which is a huge disservice to women and their health. Luckily money is flowing into female startup companies like Lola, Flex, and Thinx to provide innovative and healthier options for women.
Here are menstrual products on the scene in 2016 to check out:
2) Technology Changing the Game of Giving Birth
Technology not only assists in creating new products for women but impacts female reproductive health procedures. This year was the first time a woman in the US (and 13th time in the world) had a uterine transplant.
Sadly, the transplant ultimately failed due to an infection. Later in the year, one out of four women successfully accepted a transplanted uterus. In Sweden, five out of nine women with transplants have successfully given birth to babies. This new procedure will provide opportunities to give birth for thousands of women without a uterus.
In December, a baby was born to a mother who froze one of her ovaries when she was nine years old . It was the first time for a live birth from pre-pubescent preserved ovarian tissue. Putting ovaries on ice is providing new possibilities for women.
There still isn’t an effective vaccine for Zika, an encephalitis virus that seriously risks the health of pregnant women and their babies. Due to the large number of cases of Zika in 2016, there’s a strong push to create a viable vaccine, which will hopefully emerge in 2017.
3) Pussy Makes it onto the New York Times Best Seller List in 2016
If you’re quite comfortable with the word pussy and your relationship with it, I highly recommend Regena Thomashauer’s Pussy: A Reclamation. If you’re turned off by the word pussy and/or how you relate to yours, then it’s even more important to challenge and check out the insights in this book by the creator of The School of Womanly Arts. Another book shout out for 2016 is Love Your Lady Landscape by Lisa Lister.
I’m not being paid to promote these books. I just believe a gal’s pussy and/or landscape and all the other interesting ways of describing down there deserves as much positive promotion as possible.
In a recent Inspired To Health blog post , there’s mention of research that 66 percent of young women said they’d be embarrassed to say the word “vagina” to their doctors. Enough already with the shame and taboo! The feminine body is amazingly designed and possesses powerful features and benefits. If women, both young and old, can’t talk about their vaginas or anything else related to their female parts, that prevents the ability for their wholeness and health.
You might have heard the term “neuroplasticity”—the brain’s ability to create new neural connections and adjust to stress and injury throughout a lifetime. It’s time to consider the plasticity qualities related to down there. Stay tuned for my take on the need for uterineplasticity/pussyplasticity—creating valuable connections to down there for your health and forging new pathways to your divine feminine power.
4) Everyday Products to Kick to the Curb in 2016
a. Your douche may make you feel as though you smell like a fresh meadow down there but research reports this year indicate that douching can double your risk for ovarian cancer! Not only does it increase your cancer risk, it can also mess up your vaginal microbiome and fertility—learn more here.
b. This year saw Johnson & Johnson hit with 1200+ lawsuits due to talcum powder’s link to ovarian cancer. What’s disturbing is that, supposedly, the company had knowledge of the risk, but they covered up the information and heavily marketed this risky product to lower-income people.
c. The FDA banned 19 chemicals used in anti-bacterial soap. What’s often plugged as better than regular soap turns out to be quite dirty with toxic chemicals, especially triclosan, which is a known endocrine disruptor that throws off hormonal balance and could negatively impact fertility.
5) Politics Sparks Women into Action
If there’s one takeaway from the 2016 Presidential election, it’s that you couldn’t make up the details of how everything played out if you tried. With President-elect Trump in the White House soon, everything related to the politics of women’s health—health coverage, pro-choice impact, and economic opportunities—is up in the air.
The good news is that women are on it. In my lifetime, I’ve never heard of so many women wanting to take action to have their voices heard. It’s hard to say how 2017 will play out. I’m optimistic that there will be a rise in feminine energy.
There are many other highlights of the year not described here—fertility apps, news that ovarian cancer screenings are deemed unreliable, and if you’re not a high risk for ovarian cancer, removing your ovaries pre-menopause is linked to increased risks of heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and other diseases; findings that the pill causes depression in women, while the male version of the pill was put on hold because it affected men’s mood too much; and that there’s no upside to flossing. The list goes on.
More important, what’s your health highlight down there?
Before 2016 is history, take a few deep breaths to appreciate your amazing body and health wherever you are in the different phases of being a woman. Whatever highs or lows that happen during the year, it’s pretty incredible to experience another year!