(ARA) - Nearly everything we'll ever need to know about being a girl, we'll learn from other girlfriends who've "been there, done that" before us.
Even when things are medical, even when we love our OBGYNs, sometimes we're embarrassed or don't want to waste their time with things not involving making babies. That may explain why more than 7 million women suffer from heavy cycles, but go years without getting the help they need.
When it comes to advice for her "girlfriends," best-selling author Vicki Iovine's millions of readers know she's telling it like it is. Now Iovine is helping women deal with the discomfort and isolation of a shockingly common medical condition with her latest installment of the popular "Girlfriend's Guide" series.
"The Girlfriends' Guide to Heavy Periods" is needed for several reasons: first, it's so darn common you can't go anywhere without finding women who suffer from it; second, this condition is one of the most misunderstood and frustrating, often undiagnosed and inadequately treated; and third, to beg and plead women to consult a doctor if they are concerned about their personal situation.
"I suffered with this for years and now I want to help women avoid some of the frustrations I encountered," says Iovine.
One in five women suffer with heavy cycles, but many live with the issue for years before getting the help they need. Some women have a hard time starting the conversation with the doctor out of embarrassment and may think the pain and quality-of-life issues that come along with this condition is something they must simply deal with.
While it can be a difficult topic to discuss, it's something your doctor wants to hear about because it's a treatable condition. If you're having trouble starting the conversation with your doctor, here are a few ways to introduce the topic:
* "I'd like to ask you a few questions about my menstrual cycle…"
* "I've noticed my cycles are different than they used to be…"
* "I've heard a lot of women are getting treated - is this something I should consider?"
"My husband was the one who finally insisted I confess my monthly hemorrhaging to my gyno," Iovine adds. "I guess he'd finally noticed I slept in sweatpants on a beach towel several days each month."
In addition to the newest edition of the "Girlfriend's Guide," a new website is available connecting women with other women who've already dealt with the condition. Changethecycle.com was created in partnership with Hologic, manufacturers of NovaSure, a procedure for ending heavy periods. Though NovaSure is only intended for women who are finished having children, the simple, one-time procedure - which lasts about five minutes and can be done in a doctor's office with no incisions or anesthesia - has helped many women regain their quality of life. Iovine had the NovaSure procedure and was hired as a spokesperson.
Iovine is helping raise awareness around this important, but uninspired women's health issue with the launch of ChangetheCycle.com. This unique online community offers information and one-on-one conversations with women who've successfully treated their heavy cycles while encouraging women to have bold discussions about their condition. The site also offers patient video testimonials, a blog and more. Additionally, Iovine's "Girlfriends' Guide to Heavy Periods" will be available for download.
Opening yourself to communicating about the condition is the first step toward getting your life back. Take the first step today by visiting ChangetheCycle.com.