All photos by Helen Mak
It goes without saying that periods can suck. So, we spend a lot of time trying to make them suck less by packing precautions (a tampon at all times), taking birth control, and stocking our shelves with Advil or whatever else will save our period cramps. Not to mention, filling ourselves with comfort food, swearing off everything white, and trying to free our schedules so we can spend the worst parts in bed. This happens to us every month, that’s time consuming. And yet, we’re not supposed to talk about it? As if!
It’s a part of the mission at easy. to make periods a conversation that we're are not afraid to have, which is why it’s so important to share our period stories with each other. Not only does it help normalize the topic of menstrual health, but it reminds us how diverse our periods are. In particular, for individuals who already struggle with varying disabilities, ailments or disorders.
We spoke to Megan Marsiglio, the Founder of Bloomm Agency and the creator of The Omm Life and The Gut Gazette, about two topics in women’s health formerly considered taboo, menstruation and digestion. We discussed how Megan manages her period while dealing with two, chronic digestive conditions: Crohn's disease and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Crohn’s is an auto-immune disease of the digestive tract and while it’s not curable, Megan is able to manage it and her IBS through managing stress and diet. However, when her period occurs, her IBS symptoms flare-up – causing increased bloating, gas, bowel movements, cramping and discomfort. On the first day of her period, Megan wakes up with terrible stomach cramps, sometimes so bad that she has to lie down with a heating pack until they start to ease up. “My stomach doesn’t feel good and I end up using the bathroom more than I usually do,” she said. “And I know that a lot of other women have similar gut-related issue with their periods, it’s just not talked about as much.”
Nowadays, Megan is really mindful of the things that trigger her Crohn’s and IBS flare-ups including gluten and anything related to her stress and anxiety. She practices a gluten-free diet and takes measures to reduce her stress where she can, through mind, body and space, as she’s divided it on her blog – The Omm Life. Next to The Omm Life, Megan manages her online digestive health platform, The Gut Gazette. Through these platforms, she’s been able to open up a conversation about digestive disorders that didn’t seem to exist before.
“I use The Gut Gazette as an outlet to help remove the “poo taboo” – it’s a space for people to visit when they’re looking for tips and advice for their digestion, are looking for tummy-friendly recipes and products, or are looking to relate to others who are going through similar gut health issues. It’s a platform for contributors to share their journey and a platform for readers to relate and interact.”
Megan spends her time writing for her wellness blogs and managing her company, Bloomm Agency, where she works to support businesses with their communication and branding strategies. On top of that, she’s also a patient representative on the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology’s IBS Steering Committee.
In order to juggle all this and live the stress-free lifestyle that she writes about on The Omm Life, Megan takes measures to listen to her body. “When I have my period or I’m feeling tired, I don’t push myself,” she explained.
“I feel very in tune with my body so I don’t workout or stay up late if I’m not feeling well. If I feel tired from my period, I’ll have a bath or sit and watch Netflix. I’ll just do something that makes me feel relaxed.”
“In a flare-up I find that heating packs help,” said Megan. “Breathing is huge so if I’m feeling anxious and my stomach is feeling anxious at the same time, I just sit and focus on my breathing.” “It’s funny”, she said, “when I was first diagnosed with IBS, I hated talking about it and didn’t even want to discuss it with my doctor or my family. It was embarrassing, like nobody wants to talk about having to poop all the time. But now, it feels really empowering to be able to represent other people with IBS and talk about it,” said Megan, who now talks about her digestive issues without any embarrassment.
“All my friends and family know they can talk to me about their digestion or their poop, I’m “that friend”.”
Megan continues to listen to her body to maintain a balance in her life, writing about the ways that one can enjoy things in moderation and still live a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. Easy period is a small incorporation to that, taking one more item off her list of things to manage with a quarterly subscription that Megan receives at her home.