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on the beautiful cervix project, female physiology, and why it’s important to talk about periods

Photo by Đàm Tướng Quân on

I’m combining all my other blogs’ content to this site. Please bear with me as I post older content. 🙂

A few years back I came across this cool little site that helps one visually understand the cervix, by showing what the cervix looks like during our menstrual cycles. Because let’s face it- how many of us actually know what our cervix looks like (besides what is drawn in anatomy books or that weird model that we see at the gyno’s)?

Before an expected period, if you check for your IUD strings, you may find that they are much shorter. Apparently the cervix moves a lot during our cycles and so the strings may seems shorter or longer at times. I had been googling about that years ago, which was how I discovered the beautiful cervix project website. It’s entirely voluntary, composed of women sending in pictures of their cervix throughout their cycles to show how it changes. It’s also awesome because there are entries from women with or without IUDs, women on birth control pills, pregnant women, etc.

The beautiful cervix project has the same overall agenda as Kiera Chan (a junior at the University of North Georgia majoring in sociology with a minor in gender studies). Both are trying to normalize conversations around women’s periods so that they are no longer taboo. Kiera did a Ted Talk about menstruation and why it is so important that it stop being a taboo subject (unfortunately the video has been taken down from youtube). She talks a lot about the accessibility to menstruation products in low income countries, and how it affects those young girls school attendance rates because they feel shame and are taught to stay away from others when they are on their periods because they are unclean.

I also found this article a long, long time ago about how scientists have created a model that allows them to view the menstrual cycle of a women in its entirety, all on a chip (and they are aptly calling the the menstrual-cycle-on-a-chip system). They hoped to be able to use this to understand fertility issues and future birth control options, and foresee being able to take cells from a woman and then map out the best individual treatment for her. It isn’t able to account for different aspects like the placenta during pregnancy or how early toxic exposure might affect the reproductive system but it’s still a step in an exciting direction, and they think they will be able to use it to study diseases of the cervix.

So what we are seeing generally is that there is a slow building but continuous movement working to bring openness around the discourse about the female body and women’s health in general, and in doing so, help more research to be dedicated to the field.


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