What happens when a woman on the TV reality show “Naked and Afraid” gets her period?

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While this show is edited to hype up drama and danger (read: clips of jaguars prowling at night that may or may not have been there), the cast receives no help from producers or crew, and the entire crew actually leaves before sundown to get back to their camp and recharge batteries/data dump, leaving us completely alone through the night. It is not scripted, and is much more real than “Survivor”— (incidentally, “Alone” is the only other “real” reality survival show currently airing, as I have spoken to multiple people who have been on the show about their experience).

When the human body is under a tremendous amount of stress (read: no “cuts” or terry-cloth robes and living in a very difficult situation where food and sleep are scarce), it reacts unpredictably. In my 21-day, I got my period twice. In my 40-day challenge, I never got it at all.

Women participants in the show can request either tampons (which the crew packs in and out daily to avoid leaving trash around camp), or they can bring their own menstrual cup (which they rinse periodically and keep, no trash).

One participant in my 40-day, Shannon Kulpa, used some of her blood on a baited hook (which Fernando Calderon brought as his item) to catch red-bellied piranha on which we feasted and were extremely grateful. So you see, bleeding out there isn’t always an inconvenience, sometimes it can bring about great successes.

Me holding my creative hero Shannon on our flight back home:

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