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Seeing Red: A Lilypads Book Review

Seeing Red: The One Book Every Woman Needs to Read. Period. By Kirsten Karchmer.

Author Background

Kirsten Karchmer has a background with over 20 years of clinic work in women’s reproductive health. She studied and was trained in both Western and Traditional Chinese medicine, giving her a unique and holistic approach to health. In the book, she discusses her company, Brazen Health. This offers herbal blends to support a healthy menstrual cycle and improve fertility.

Learn more about her at

The Main Messages

  • Periods are an indicator of overall health. Kirsten promotes that all menstruators deserve to understand their period and see it as an indicator of overall health. This comes from her holistic view of health and it makes sense. If your nutrition or sleep is lacking, then it can throw off your period.
  • Periods shouldn’t be painful. If there is something off (painful or unusual) about your period, it could be a sign of overall health. She does provide advice on how to recognize health connections, but keep in mind this book is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
  • We need to stop accepting that periods are painful! She is against accepting that PMS and painful periods are something we just have to deal with as menstruators. She believes that by sharing her knowledge and encouraging menstruators to learn more about themselves and their periods, we can change this!

What I Liked

  • She maintains a casual tone throughout, it reads like a conversation with a good friend. Personal stories are shared throughout, which helps ground all the information.
  • It takes a very holistic and revered view of menstruation – it’s a fact of life, so we should respect and value it!
  • There is loads of good information – a brief history of how menstruation has been viewed, simple explanations of what’s happening in our body, and suggestions on how to optimize your health and cycle

Any negatives?

  • She does, understandably, promote her company’s herbal supplements a few times throughout.
  • There is discussion of a perfect menstrual cycle being 28 days long, with 4 days of bleeding. While she acknowledges that not every menstruator can achieve this even with lifestyle changes and supplements, it could be damaging to someone who naturally has a healthy cycle that is different than this. It’s important to recognize what’s normal for you and talk to your medical professional/s if you have any concerns with your menstrual cycle.
  • The whole focus on the book is how you, as an individual, can change your view and relationship with your period. However, menstruation is something that affects a group of people, and we need to work together to see real change. I think this is important and the book could have been more powerful with some pages devoted to how to talk about periods with others because those are sometimes the hardest conversations to have.

Should you read Seeing Red?

Yes – I think it’s an easy, informative, and empowering book. I think it’s really important to encourage menstruators to start seeing our periods as a valuable monthly health check (and definitely not a painful one!). Do keep in mind it’s not a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, but it may help you better understand what’s going on in your body.

Make sure to share it with friends and keep it on the coffee table to get the conversation going!

Support Lilypads with their mission to keep the conversation going.


Karchmer, K. (2019). Seeing Red. Tiller Press.

Written By: Morgan Ludington

Edited by: Lilypads

February 4th, 2021


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