I will never forget that one day a little over ten years ago when I experienced stage four endometriosis symptoms for the first time. I had recently given up on birth control after trying six different brands over the span of a year. They all left me with the craziest acne I had ever seen. I am talking big, purple and blue cystic bumps all over my face. - What a sight to see. The birth control I tried also made me emotionally insane. I was naturally a little nuts and temperamental but this took me to a whole other level. After making the conscious decision to eliminate something that my body clearly did not want, I experienced such a change in my menstrual cycle.
I was not able to function as a normal person for the first 4 hours of my mensus. My once normal and bearable cramps turned into intolerable ones. It felt like someone was constantly stabbing me. There was no comfortable position for the four hour span. This was accompanied by some lovely hemorrhaging. It's so unfortunate that Gynecologist give such little insight or resolution for this terrible condition. After ten years of trial and error, I believe I have found my flow. (haha)
Having an enjoyable cycle is all about balance. Balance of your cortisol(stress) levels, hormones and diet. Here are a few things that have created a comfortable situation for me every month...
Eat Healthy, Nutrient Rich Foods
I've made it a lifestyle to live healthy and be aware of my body. My diet consist of 70% plant based foods. I have completely cut out meat and eat minimal dairy products. It took awhile to stop eating meat but its one of the best things I have ever done for my body. So much of the meat we consume is filled with hormone disrupters and antibiotics. Eating real, unprocessed foods from the earth is the best way to go if you want a successful digestive and endocrine system.
Foods you should increase your intake of:
- Avocados - rich in fatty acids and potassium
- Bananas - great source of potassium
- Legumes that are high in protein
- Pineapple - High in bromelain (relaxes muscle cramps)
- Brazil Nuts - Filled with fiber and fatty acids
- Cilantro - Liver cleanser
- Cacao - Excellent source of iron
Foods you should avoid at least one week prior to your mensus, if not indefinitely:
- Alcohol - Increases inflammation and causes water retention, and bloating
- Caffeine - Adaptogen disruptor, raises cortisol levels
- Processed Sugary Food - Feeds candida, and is extremely inflammatory
- Dairy - Increases inflammation
I am a huge advocate in the belief that our body, mind and soul are completely connected. We need to nourish every part of ourselves. To reduce stress, I take self-care very seriously. There are months where I don't feel an inkling of dysmenorrhea, and months where it can be quite evident. When looking back on the times I have felt some type of pain; I admit that my stress and eating habits could have been handled a bit better.
A few practices that make me feel my absolute best:
- Journaling - I journal my gratitude list every single day. Being in a grateful state makes it almost impossible to be upset or disappointed. I also utilize my journal to write out my feelings about situations I may not understand. Having a dependable outlet is key in owning your authentic feelings. DO NOT HOLD THOSE THANGS IN!
- Meditation - I really don't know where I would be without meditation. My mind naturally moves a million miles an hour. In the past, this really affected my actions. I was a very reactive and impulsive person. Because of this, I called so many negative situations into my life. Meditation has helped me thoroughly process situations, and be more patient with my responses. I am also more present in every aspect of my life.
- Physical Activity - Everyday, regardless of my schedule, I get some type of work out in. This helps me to release any stagnant energy and stress. I used to enjoy high intensity work outs - but now I am loving short runs, long distance walks and yoga. These activities keep my body and mind happy. I also try to incorporate nature into every work out. I love being outside in the fresh air, surrounded by greenery. This totally boosts my mood, and puts me into a state of gratitude.
Outside of eating nutrient dense foods, I have a few daily rituals that help alleviate any possible menstrual discomfort. I make sure I start my day with a tall glass of water, with two tablespoons of chlorophyll mixed in. Chlorophyll is an awesome, gentle liver cleanser and blood purifier. It has been said that liver stagnation can be a huge culprit in hormonal imbalances. Next, I enjoy my breakfast while drinking my favorite tea. Yogi's Moon Cycle is a product I discussed in my first blog covering this topic. It contains chasteberry, dong qui and raspberry leaf. These are magnificent herbs that help balance hormones. I have since added a teaspoon of Blackstrap Molasses to help sweeten the tea and give me an extra boost of iron. In terms of supplements, I take a dependable probiotic to aid in my digestive health. Primal Defense ULTRA Probiotic is a great brand to look into. So much illness begins in the gut. We need to be sure we are replenishing our system with good bacteria. Another supplement I implement daily is Evening Primrose Oil. I have noticed a relief in pain, my acne and mood swings since incorporating it.
Those are my secrets my loves. It has taken ten years of trial and error, but through the experimentation, I do believe I have gotten it right. On top of that, I have become extremely in tune with my body and its functions. I LOVE THAT! There is always a purpose in our suffering. And of course, make sure you are using natural, non-toxic skin care products. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs toxins into the blood stream that can disrupt your hormones.
I would love to hear if this resonates with any of you. Do you have any similar stories or struggles? Also, If you have any questions or need me to elaborate on anything, please comment below.