Period problems? Or had a history of period problems?
And it's not fun. The cramping so bad we miss getting together with friends or going out, feeling like we're going to pass out if Midol or ibuprofen isn't around, vomiting, so bloated right before that pants won't even button, breast tenderness, acne, irregular timing/bleeding, and you feel there's something more than just birth control. Or perhaps this was part of your history, and now you're wondering if it's perimenopause or stress, and if there's any damn solution to get rid of those hot flashes! Oy!
And men, this pertains to you too if you have women in your life, so please read on. In any scenario, if there were health issues 'way back when' that were not resolved and only treated with a 'quick fix' in hopes it our body would fix itself, then it makes sense the processes that contributed to those health issues are still present and can manifest as something else. Birth control, for example, was only meant to be for a few months assuming it would prompt the body to correct it's hormone imbalance, except when it's given to teenage girls, it's also great contraception! Fast forward 5-10+ years and now those teenage issues have resurfaced and ladies are just as miserable. Fast forward from there and quite a few more symptoms have appeared too in the perimenopause/menopause stage that are likely due to imbalanced hormones, like hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings.
Unfortunately hormone therapy tends to be more palliative than healing as it does not address the may different reasons why concerns exist, and why what seemed like minor concerns can snowball decades down the road. Instilling good health, sleep, stress management, and lifestyle habits can set us all up for healing, as well as prevention of many other future conditions. Here are some top tips to feel better every month:
- Minimize/cut out sugar, alcohol, dairy- these foods and beverages are pretty pro-inflammatory, and our body & hormones just don't like these. Inflammation can cause stress in the body, which raises cortisol and further lead to hormone imbalance. Instead, focus on dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, and take note of your symptoms on a weekly basis and correlate it to your overall nutritional intake. Let that guide you in your future choices.
- Turmeric- This ancient spice is a wonderful anti-inflammatory, and has a wide variety of benefits like reducing risk of heart disease, aiding in weight loss efforts, reducing joint pain, reduce risk of cancer, minimizes blood sugar cravings, and helps with digestion. It's best absorbed when cooked with fat, such as olive oil or coconut oil, and in the presence of black pepper. Check out some recipes here!
- Foods rich in Magnesium and B vitamins- Together these contribute to over 800 reactions in the human body, many of those being sex hormone (e.g. estrogen, progesterone) and mood hormone (e.g. serotonin- our happy hormone) production, both of which can influence each other. Further, these get depleted with caffeine, alcohol, and stress (even poor sleep), and magnesium for example, is 'nature's relaxer'- aka really helps prevent stress. Add in some avocados, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, spinach, wild caught fish, legumes, eggs, and poultry.
There may also be other reasons contributing to any imbalance as evidenced on blood work such as vitamin D and iron levels, as well as emotional components (especially 'never been well since'). We are in a day and age where there isn't a cookie cutter plan anymore, and each person has their own reason(s) why dis-ease is present, and to varying degrees.