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Hillsdale stu­dents at the ‘March for Life’ last weekend in Wash­ington, D.C. Josephine von Dohlen | Col­legian

Marilyn Shannon urged Hillsdale women to fend for their health by cul­ti­vating a knowledge of female phys­i­ology and the ten­dencies of their own bodies.

Spon­sored by Hillsdale College Stu­dents for Life, Shannon, a biology pro­fessor at Indiana Uni­versity – Purdue Uni­versity Fort Wayne, gave a speech titled “Knowing your Body and Caring for it Nat­u­rally” to a group of 30 women Monday evening in Phillips Audi­torium. She fre­quently ref­er­enced her 2009 book “Fer­tility, Cycles & Nutrition” as she reviewed the bio­logical process of men­strual cycles and advised the attendees about habits for physical and mental wellness.

“Learn your cycle by charting at least your signs and symptoms. Take a com­pre­hensive vitamin to improve your cycles. Be aware of the impact of body­weight and exercise on your cycle,” Shannon said.

Stu­dents for Life Pres­ident junior Kathleen Russo said the infor­mation Shannon shared enlightened her to bio­logical facts most mag­a­zines and online pub­li­ca­tions fail to mention when writing about women’s health.

“This is a topic that really isn’t talked about. It’s a lot of things you can’t easily Google because so much of women’s health issues are fixed by pre­scribing the birth control pill,” Russo said. “It’s inter­esting to learn about a more natural approach. Cel­e­brating fer­tility is an important part of what the pro-life movement does, and this is one way that we can under­stand how women work.”

Shannon gave a sep­arate talk Monday afternoon in which she addressed women’s health from a broader per­spective, focusing on an overview of the men­strual cycle, an exam­i­nation of hor­monal birth control, and a rundown of natural methods that bring on men­strual relief and man­agement. Shannon rec­om­mended, for example, that women load their lunch and dinner plates with col­orful veg­etables like kale and egg­plant to lighten their cycles. She also said women suf­fering from men­strual dis­comfort can find relief by taking sup­ple­ments like fish oil and flax oil.

So many attended this session in the Grewcock Student Union’s formal lounge that Russo had to bring in more chairs for the attendees left standing.

“No matter how pro-life you are, no matter how much you study, there’s always some­thing to be learned about important topics,” Russo said about women’s health. “You have to sit down and take care of your body some­times.”              

Sophomore Ade­laide Holmes went to both of Shannon’s pre­sen­ta­tions and said she enjoyed learning more about her own health.

“I appre­ciated the lec­tures because it pro­vided women with infor­mation that we often do not seek out on our own,” Holmes said. “Taking care of your body is so important for your physical, spir­itual, and emo­tional health, but we often ignore the topic because we feel it’s faux pas. These talks helped start the con­ver­sation.”