Recent writing: hormonal biohacking, menstrual clots, and triggers for hives

After a very busy March, it was a relief to have a slightly calmer April, providing time to catch my breath, take stock, and focus on exciting personal projects and events – including my younger brother’s beautiful wedding over the Easter bank holiday weekend. Several of the articles I’ve written more recently were for print magazines, on longer lead times than much of the work I do for online, so I’m looking forward to being able to share those later in the summer.

In the meantime, here’s some more of my writing from March, because there was so much of it that I’ve ended up splitting it over three separate blog updates! For Grazia, I looked at the emerging trend of ‘hormonal biohacking’, including asking an endocrinologist if you can really control your hormones through lifestyle changes. I also wrote about both hives and menstrual blood clots for Patient, because freelance journalism definitely isn’t all glamour!

Can You Really Biohack Your Hormones? – for Grazia:

The word biohacking sounds like something straight out of science fiction, conjuring up images of Orphan Black’s neolutionists tinkering with genetics and implanting gadgets inside their own bodies. Recently the term has become the buzzword de jour for Silicon Valley tech bros looking to be “posthuman” (their words); a technological alternative to working hard at the gym, gaining confidence and, for some, of course, for “picking up girls”. Nice.

But, outside of the tech-bro bubble, it’s a growing trend in the real world too – especially, it seems, among some women.

According to Flux Trends: “Biohackers encourage the democratic, DIY technological development of the human race. Biohacks range from the absurd (such as implanting flashing lights into one’s hands for fun) to the ingenious (DIY devices which enable people to “see” sounds or “hear” colours).” Some bodyhacking women even believe that a copper IUD is a form of cyborg implant.

Biohacking, or DIY biological enhancement, is a broad movement. While ‘bio-punks’ and ‘grinders’ go in for these extreme cyborg-style body modifications, ‘DIY biologists’ experiment with gene therapy, and ‘nutrigeomicists’ use food and supplements to “hack” their biology and optimise their health. And that’s where cycle syncing – or hormonal biohacking – comes in.

Continue reading at Grazia…

Are blood clots normal during a period? – for Patient:

Ever wondered what those icky-sticky, thick clumps of blood in your period are? They’re known as menstrual clots, and they’re formed from a mixture of blood cells, tissue from the lining of the womb, and proteins from your blood.

Firstly, it’s important to be aware that everyone has menstrual clots to some extent, and it’s not necessarily a sign that anything’s wrong.

“Usually clots occur when the flow is a little bit heavier – generally the first two days of your period,” Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) explains. “When you’re bleeding heavily, the blood pools inside your vagina and it clots, much as it would do if you were bleeding elsewhere.”

Continue reading at Patient…

What causes our skin to break out in hives?

Hives – also known as urticaria – is a relatively common itchy rash that causes red or white bumps on the skin. According to the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), it affects around one in five people at some point in their lives, and in around half of cases the trigger is unknown. But, if you’re breaking out in hives, here’s what could be behind those itchy bumps.

“Hives is caused by the release of histamine from skin cells called mast cells,” explains Dr Justine Kluk of the British Association of Dermatologists.

Continue reading at Patient…

IF YOU NEED SUPPORT

Please note that I am NOT a psychologist or healthcare professional. Check out my resources page for details of organisations who might be able to help.

If you are struggling with mental health problems, contact Mind on 0300 123 3393 or Rethink Mental Health on 0300 5000 927. In a crisis, call the free, 24/7 Samaritans helpline on 116 123.

However, if you would like to get in touch about your own experiences, or a story that you’re keen to tell, please feel free to drop me an email.

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