It's amazing to me that menstruation is such a taboo subject still. It is so NORMAL. I am no expert in menstruation, but I have transformed my monthly cycle from a time of dread to my favorite time of the month.
In 2016, after a year abroad traveling in a dozen countries, something went wrong with my health. I developed an allergy to animals, started getting full body hives when I exercised or experienced drastic temperature changes, my previously benign periods started to HURT and my skin became dry and more prone to hormonal breakouts. All auto-immune problems, I figured out.
The healthcare system just tossed me around. I let them do a few allergy tests. They confirmed what I already knew, told me I'd be this way forever and tried to give me drugs to repress the symptoms. I said no way to all of that.
I dug deep, trying every herbal/gut/circadian rhythm cure I could find. I know that if I am struggling with this, other women are too. My hope is simply that by talking more openly about things like this, the whole of us will be better off.
These are my staples to a healthy period:
Know when your period is coming! I use the MyFlo app which also has suggestions based on your symptoms.
The lady who started the MyFlo app, Alissa Vitti, has a book called WomanCode I think every woman should read. I bought a copy for my Mom and read it aloud to my husband I am so into it.
Implementing Alissa's recommended diet in the chart below has had a profound affect on the health of my cycle, and my comfort going through it.
Magnesium supplements - Mg is an essential mineral for regulating hormone production and enabling deep relaxation. It's estimated the majority of people are now Mg deficient, in part due to the demineralization of our soils. I love this Mg spray. I spray it on my belly when I have cramps. (It's also great on the jawline if you have a nightime teeth grinding problem.) I also take this chelated magnesium supplement daily. I usually up my dosage during my menstrual week.
Adjust what you do during each phase of your cylce to match how you're feeling. This becomes very intuitive but if the thought is daunting, Alissa's book will help. This is a big reason I've come to love my period. It's a time of hibernation where I focus on taking extra good care of myself.
Make sure you aren't putting toxins in your vagina! The vagina walls are a mucus membrane and all such membranes absorb more than regular parts of your skin. I love moon cups in concept but for me, they aren't comfortable and I always have leak disasters. I have tried two brands, so many times, but my shape must just be a bit different or something. So, I use organic tampons on the heaviest day. The rest of the week I am using a sea sponge. The FDA doesn't care for sea sponges, but if you're curious, try it! They are the most comfortable thing I have ever used. On the very light days, I just wear black underwear and black pants and change as necessary.
Spend time in the water! Any water. A bath, shower or dip in the ocean makes me feel so much better. I don't know the science behind this but it works for me!
Get yourself a hot water bottle and don't underestimate it's power to relieve cramps.
I blended together tulsi, dong quai and red raspberry leaf tea which also helps me feel less crampy. I usually start sipping it throughout the day one or two days before I begin my period. Or, if I can get fresh tulsi leaf for a tea, that alone is powerful enough to make me feel better.
Geranium essential oil is another great thing to try topically. For me, the scent is enough to make me feel a bit better. I diffuse it through the room.