Lets start off with this- pain of any form associated with menstruation is NOT normal. It is a symptom of underlying disturbance that is experienced by many women and has somehow become widely accepted as a normal part of ‘being a woman’.
This is simply not true.
The ideal menstrual cycle can be pain free. Other symptoms that are not normal are: depression, mood swings, swelling, headaches, excessive bleeding, bloating, nausea, and changes in bowel movements.
4 STEPS TO A HEALTHY PERIOD
- FIND OUT WHY
Investigate any underlying causes such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and fibroids. These conditions are known to cause varying levels of pain. If these have been ruled out the next thing you need to ask yourself is ‘why am I still experiencing monthly pain?’. Often a combination of hormonal imbalance and inflammation can be the trigger for period pain.
- BALANCE YOUR HORMONES – this step is essentially the period pain prevention phase. When taking a natural approach it can take up to 3 months to notice a shift in your hormones, therefore persistence is key. The following suggestions help to improve the balance between oestrogen and progesterone.
- LOVE YOUR LIVER:
Detoxification of hormones occurs in your liver. This needs to be working optimally to ensure healthy levels of oestrogen.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) help to clear oestrogen through your liver and decrease PMS symptoms.
- MOVE YOUR BOWELS
After your liver detoxifies toxins and hormones they are then dumped into your bowel for elimination. Constipation can contribute to the re-absorption of hormones and cause a greater level of circulating oestrogens- leading to period pain and other issues associated with imbalanced hormones. Ensure regular elimination with a high fibre diet and lots of water.
- DIET IS KEY
Foods and beverages that are inflammatory and can wreak havoc on your hormones include: caffeine, trans-fats, sugar, dairy and wheat.
Foods to eat in abundance include; fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, lignans (flax, sesame, legumes), olive oil, herbs & spices.
- STRESS LESS
Stress = hormone disruption.
In stressful situation the production of cortisol (stress hormone) is favoured over production of progesterone and oestrogen, leading to imbalance.
Do more: exercise, meditation, yoga, breathing and relaxing.
- EXTRA SUPPORT
A hormonal balancing formula such as Fem21 can be incorporated into your daily routine and supports all systems including thyroid, stress (adrenal glands), digestion, liver and blood sugar levels- all of which have influence on your hormonal status.
- TAMPONS VS PADS
Tampons can constrict the cervix and contribute to ‘retrograde flow’. A lot of women notice a change in pain once they switch to pads.
- SYMPTOMATIC RELIEF
Lets face it, relying on painkillers to get you through a day of work is not exactly ideal. Here are a few alternatives to try:
- Magnesium- take orally or apply the oil directly to the abdomen.
- Heat packs
- Herbal tea- ginger and cinnamon.
- Yoga poses for period pain.
- Herbal medicine- turmeric and cramp bark work beautifully to relieve pain. See a naturopath for advice about herbal medicines that suit you.
By Lucy Fitzgibbons – Naturopath.