On the podcast this month I’m talking about menstrual suppression: Why menstruators choose to suppress their periods and what happens when we do.
On the blog, I wanted to review your natural options for period problems.
Depending on where you stand with your reasons and needs, there are solutions specific to your needs.
As a Doctor of Natural Medicine in Quantum Medicine, I look at disorders through a wider lens than just the physical realm. I look at the energetics of your physical and subtle body. I believe that to every physical ailment there is an energetic component, and by looking at and clearing that component, you’re on your way to wellness.
Endometriosis is one the most painful issues when it comes to cycle health. It can mean days and sometimes weeks of laying on the floor in pain. It means missing days of work, inability to function or be a “normal” part of society. The worst part of it might be that most menstruators who share their symptoms with their doctor are turned away for many years without their condition being diagnosed. They’re told there’s nothing they can do, they’re put on the pill, have surgeries to remove the lesions, or end up having a hysterectomy.
When you start looking at endometriosis as an auto-immune disease, it becomes much simpler (not necessarily easier) to work with. An auto-immune or an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the best places to start.
When it comes to energetically looking at this disorder we must look at the inflammation and the additional growth in inappropriate places. Energetic & emotional patterns: lacking sweetness in your life, feeling insecure about being a woman and therefore overly pushing in different areas of your life, frustration, intense anger.
I will once again refer to Lara Briden (she’s a total rock star when it comes to these issues) so I will recommend reading about PCOS on her blog. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS I recommend finding out the cause of this issue. What exactly is going on within your body? A great way of finding this out is by tracking your daily morning temperatures to find out if and when you ovulate. Charting your cycles will give you a wonderful inside look at what’s going on within your body and your hormone levels without too many tests.
As for the energetic aspect of PCOS, we’ll be looking at how well you identify with being female, do you feel victimized at all? Do you feel angry at the patriarchy (who doesn’t these days?)? How satisfied do you feel in your creativity and sexuality? What’s your sense of responsibility? Did you have to play both the parental and maternal roles in your family growing up? Do you play those roles now?
PMS is kind of the general syndrome all women are expected to experience during their fertile years. It has been played off as totally normal. However, it is common but not normal. PMS covers a bunch of symptoms like bloating, back pain, acne, cramps, moodiness, headaches and some other ones. But like all other issues, this is your body’s way of communicating with you. From a nutritional point of view, basic supplements like Magnesium and B6 can be total miracle cures for PMS. Supplements and nutrition can be understood better when looking at the symptoms (for example acne can mean the liver isn’t detoxing estrogen well enough), and usually solid eating habits (lots of greens, little to no sugars, cutting out some dairy) should balance you out.
From an energetic aspect, PMS is really all about how you perceive yourself as female. How well do you receive? How comfortable are you with doing less and being more? What does flow look like in your life? How structured are you? Do you suppress your femaleness in the patriarchal world? How do you fit in with being female?
This one is an interesting one. Many of us just don’t want to deal with buying tampons or pads, we don’t want to have to worry about bleeding on a date or on a test or on a weekend away. It feels inconvenient and frustrating. When it comes to this my take on it is to really understand the power behind menstruation. Why it happens, what the purpose of it is, and the magic behind it. I recommend the book Her Blood is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation by Lara Owen and Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio. Both these books discuss the depth of the female cycle and provide a deeper appreciation for our bodies and our moontime. It’s one of the things in life that we have to apply the saying: with great power comes great responsibility.
As for menstrual products, Meluna Classic Menstrual Cup is my favorite thing ever! I wear it up to 12 hours some days. It makes bleeding much cleaner (no gross chemicals, nothing to throw away in the trash), it’s better for the environment (I water my plants with my blood which gives them lots of nutrients!), I also am saving tons of waste by not using pads or tampons, and lots of money since the cup can last for several years.
I also really like Thinx. I wear their underwear on the days I’m not using my cup. Super easy and comfortable.
Ok, last but not least, contraception! This is the number one thing we talk about. Getting or not getting pregnant! Well, it’s true, without ovulating we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. But we also wouldn’t be getting the right hormones to keep our bodies healthy today and in our future. So for this I recommend two things: The first one is condoms. Men can and should take responsibility when they engage in intercourse. It’s simple (or at least it should be). In Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, Holly Grigg-Spall talks about sex in Japan. Most Japanese women do not use hormonal contraceptives because they respect their bodies too much, and they know men respect them when they use condoms. When I first read that my mind was blown! In the USA we look at condoms as a burden, as something that puts a barrier between the partners. In Japan, it’s exactly the opposite! It brings them closer together.
And if you’re going to use any kind of device to help you not get pregnant, the non-hormonal IUD might be the best choice, although it does come with its own set of problems. The Fertility Friday podcast talks about them in episode 161.
I also recommend learning the Fertility Awareness Method for contraception. When learning FAM you will learn there are only about 6 days of the month you can get pregnant. You will learn a ton more about your body, but if natural birth control is what you’re going for, this is the way to go.