The Magical Science of Period Blood
Here at Intimina, one of our goals is to encourage people to change the relationship they have with their periods.
While menstruation can come with some unpleasant side effects, it’s also a potent time to turn in and practice period alchemy so that you can develop a deeper appreciation for your monthly gift.
Alchemy not your thing? That’s ok. It’s not for everyone. Luckily, we’ve got science on our side. Science to confirm knowledge that we all innately have. That every bit of the human body is magical- including the blood that we shed.
A Time for Purification
In many indigenous cultures, menstruation is thought to be a time of purification. Women are celebrated and revered for the body’s ability to regenerate, renew, and release. Ancient intuition tells us of the body and spirits’ ability to cleanse during this time- and now we have science to back that up.
Here Comes Science
Period blood has components that support the natural balance of the human body. Scientists have discovered that human menstrual blood contains antibacterial hemoglobin peptides.
We’re all familiar with the term antibacterial. Something that kills bacteria. Upon discovering the world of microbes, scientists and medical professionals went on a crusade to wipe out and eliminate all potentially dangerous bacteria, in an effort to prevent and control the spread of infectious illnesses.
The problem is, not all bacteria is bad. In fact, more than half of the human body is comprised of non-human cells like bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Pretty cool huh? Bacteria are our friends!
So of course it makes sense that our bodies have built-in regulatory processes to help maintain the many organisms that we’re constantly hosting in the human hotel.
The genius of naturally produced antibacterial properties in the vagina, is that it helps maintain a healthy balance of vaginal flora, versus products produced in a lab that can disrupt our natural homeostasis.
Hemoglobin is a protein in our red blood cells that supports oxygenation in our tissues by carrying oxygen from the lungs outward, and carbon dioxide from the tissues, back to the lungs.
When examining the hemoglobin of period blood from healthy people, researchers discovered that it was rich with these natural antibacterial properties.
You see where I’m going with this?
It’s a lot of lingo, and a lot of science.
Simply put- period blood helps maintain the health of the vagina, and the whole body. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.
One of the biggest offenders our periods protect us against? E. coli.
While E. coli get a bad rap, they are actually a vital part of a healthy intestinal tract. Some however, can potentially cause illnesses and ailments. E. coli in the vagina can lead to urinary tract infections, vaginitis, and other disruptions.
Yay for bacteria!
Wait, There’s More…
It doesn’t stop there. Stem cell research- an invaluable field of study in the treatment of a myriad of different diseases, injuries, and ailments can also utilize the powers of period blood.
Stem cell therapy has helped countless people in their healing journeys. The issue is that it often comes from invasive sources like bone marrow, fat tissue, and umbilical cords. Period blood on the other hand? Our bodies naturally shed that every month anyway- so we may as well put it to good use!
Stem cells found in period blood, while they have somewhat different properties, were found to potentially help in the case of wound healing, and other specific diseases. This is thanks to their ability to form clones (clonogenicity) and migratory properties so that they can move to specific locations.
Not only that, their abilities may even be enhanced when in inflammatory environments. Hence their ability to help heal wounds.
Pathogens can enter our vaginas through a number of ways. Anything that you potentially put up there, from a penis, to a toy, to period products, can potentially introduce harmful bacteria to your vagina. Even things like wiping wrong, or wearing too tight of clothes can drag these bacteria from the anus upwards.
Menstruation acts as natural protection against this. Through this cleansing process, our bodies are able to protect themselves, and keep our reproductive tracts healthy and happy.
Our bodies are nothing short of magical. It makes you realize just how interconnected the organisms of this planet are, and that they work in harmony to support the cycle of life.
I don’t know about you, but all this knowledge deepens my appreciation for the female body that much more. Bring on the blood!
Natasha (she/her) is a full-spectrum doula and health+wellness copywriter. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, health, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more education and empowerment. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.