What they don’t teach in sex-ed

Do young women understand their cycles?

Ever wonder what teachers didn’t tell students during sex-education class?

Its likely youth were not told how a woman’s reproductive cycle functions—and even that it’s beautiful, said Abby Sinnett, associate director and nurse at Bella Natural Women’s Care in Englewood.

Classes and clinics tend to suggest to women a “quick fix” to fertility questions and issues by prescribing artificial birth control or long-term contraception like inter-uterine devices (IUDs), she said.

Such medications suggest fertility is bad and it should be covered up or made non-existent with hormones, implants or devices.

“But our fertility is not broken,” Sinnett said. “It’s not a disease and it’s a not a bad thing. It’s how we were made.”

There is a natural and safe way to learn and monitor a woman’s cycle. A natural method, called fertility awareness, helps a woman track her biological cues to identify points in her menstrual cycle.

“A natural method tells a woman every single day that she’s good, that her body is beautiful, that the way it’s working is beautiful and it’s doing it well,” Sinnett said.

Fertility awareness is a term used at the Bella clinic to help women become aware of their bodies, and achieve or avoid pregnancy.

“From a gynecology perspective, it’s a very healthy thing to be monitoring,” Sinnett said. “The great thing about understanding your fertility and understanding what’s going on in your body is it naturally ebbs and flows with hormones.”

Birth control can cover up these signs and prevent women from knowing what’s going on inside their bodies.

The American Pregnancy Association says a woman’s cycle can be tracked using cervical fluid, body temperature, and monitoring the cervix, all of which change in response to hormones. Tools or charts are then used to track the beginning and end of cycles and when a woman is or is not fertile.

“To be in touch with your body and to know so intimately what it’s doing and how it’s working—it’s freeing,” Sinnett said.

Websites and smartphone applications are available to help with fertility awareness.

“For a teenaged girl or a college-aged girl who is just tired of being put on something, tired of the side effects or concerned about what she’s doing to her body, I would recommend just starting with an app where she can just start to get to know what her body is doing,” Sinnett suggested.

The most important message left out from most sex-education is women’s bodies are made wonderfully.

“They are beautiful and they are made so wonderfully,” Sinnett said. “Women should not be afraid of how they were made. They should embrace their beauty by knowing their cycles.”


Learn More
Bella Natural Women’s Care

Bella recommends fertility awareness smartphone applications like FEMM to help women track their cycles.

Bella recommends fertility awareness smartphone applications like FEMM to help women track their cycles.

At the Capitol

The push to expand government-funded IUD programs reached the Capitol when lawmakers considered increased funding for teenagers and young women. However, House Bill 1194 failed in a Senate committee April 29.


COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.