Periods Don’t have to be Painful!
I am sure many people read my headline and rolled their eyes a bit. A “happy period”? There is no such thing, right? WRONG! Even though periods are not exactly fun, they aren’t supposed to be devastating, painful, or terrible. If you deal with PMS, acne, breast tenderness/pain, cramps, anger, mood swings, heavy flow, migraines, or any other common symptoms associated with menstruation, please know that this is not a normal part of our hormonal health! If you deal with these symptoms, it is a very big sign that your liver is angry, your lymph is sluggish, your minerals are out of balance, and your adrenals are likely stressed.
What if I told you that periods can be pain-free and barely even a nuisance? It is true, whether you want to believe it or not. I used to be one that had severe periods. The first day I’d pretty much be bedridden or popping pain killers every few hours to keep the pain manageable if I had to go to work. I had a few times where I fainted from the pain, many times where I’d have migraines with aura, and used to make me act like the Hulk at times with how angry I’d get. These days? I don’t deal with any of that. No cramps, no annoying PMS symptoms, nada.
How is this possible, you ask? Holistic healing! Working on healing the body as a whole is key to getting rid of these terrible periods. Balancing minerals, healing your liver, supporting your lymph, eating clean, and managing the environmental toxins that you are exposed to is crucial.
My top tips for a Healthy Period
Nutrients that play a role in hormonal health
The number one thing to look into if you are having painful or irregular periods is copper dysregulation. You can read all about this here, but in a nutshell: Copper is a crucial mineral for estrogen balance and zinc is crucial for progesterone/testosterone balance. When zinc and copper are out of balance, these hormones can go haywire. We tend to have an issue where copper builds up and becomes unusable to the body- so we have a double issue where we are copper deficient and have an excess copper buildup. With this, we can have symptoms of both copper deficiency and excess copper!
What creates this imbalance? A sluggish liver, a vitamin A deficiency, birth control, overuse of antibiotics, not enough zinc in the diet (which can be caused by leaky gut as we need stomach acid to utilize zinc correctly), and diets like veganism/vegetarianism and the Standard American Diet.
To fix this: use HTMA and supporting blood tests to heal this imbalance. Healing the liver is crucial (which we’ll go over next), as is introducing vitamin A rich foods like cod liver oil, eggs, grass-fed butter or ghee, and beef liver (which is one of the biggest helpers for fixing the copper bio-unavailability side of things). Heal the gut to help with zinc utilization as well.
This is the LONG TERM healing plan for all hormonal issues, including estrogen dominance. Read about that here.
Menstruation itself is a time for heightened detox. Heavy, painful periods that come with a handful of symptoms (especially headaches/migraines, breast pain, mood swings, and acne) are a huge sign that your liver and lymph are overloaded with toxins.
Basic Lymph healing tips: Rebounding, castor oil packs, nettle infusions, red root, massage, legs on the wall yoga pose, gentle walks
One of the *best* herbs for hormonal health for women is red raspberry leaf. This herb is nothing short of miraculous for PMS, copper balancing, and overall hormonal healing. It is even amazing during pregnancy and breastfeeding!
Red raspberry leaf is packed with nutrients: magnesium, manganese, iron, vitamin C, b-vitamins and potassium.
For infusions: I put 1 cup RRL in a quart of hot water and let it steep for at least 4 hours. I strain the liquid and drink this through the day. (you can reuse the herbs for another weaker quart). Store the liquid in the fridge when done and consume 1-2 cups daily, or more when pregnant or about to start your period!I usually recommend using this the week leading up to your period to help prevent any menstrual issues. This can be helpful for those that get symptoms at ovulation as well.
Other herbs that can help with hormonal balancing: Nettle leaf infusions, nettle root (capsules or tincture- especially helpful for heavy periods), red clover, ashwagandha, chaste tree berry, and dandelion root.
Cleaner Personal Care Products
Did you know that most popular brands of tampons and pads have glyphosate in them, the cancer causing chemical (source)? Yikes! Using organic pads or tampons are MUCH better these days to avoid coming into contact with nasty chemicals like this. Things like mama cloth (or reusable pads, like these that you can find on etsy!) are popular these days too and are much more Eco-friendly. Many people are raving about menstrual cups as well, but I’m not convinced of their long term safety- knowing that silicone can indeed leach into the lymph system makes me weary of these things. We all have to do what works though- just stay away from the popular brands for things like pads and tampons!
Personal care products comes down to things like make-up, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. Many of these conventional products contain carcinogens, hormonal disruptors, and other toxins that negatively effect health. Read more about this here if you’re new to this topic and want to start greening up your home!
The Pill, the IUDs, the patches, the shots- I would stay FAR away from these things. They all have severe side effects that can either hit you right away or build up and hit you several decades later. Birth control doesn’t solve anything. If it seemingly helps you with hormonal issues, then it is a band-aid solution. Using the above tips will help you get to the root of the issue in the long term. The possibility of cancer, blood clots, and other serious illnesses is not worth the “benefit” of preventing pregnancy.
I could go on about this for hours, but read my main issues with birth control here, as well as what other good options there are for contraception.