Hormonal Support During Each Cycle Phase (Part 1: Menstrual Phase)
One of the main things that separate women's health from men's health is that women have a menstrual cycle. While many elements of wellness will be the same for both males and females, it's important to note that the menstrual phases, and menopause, are a huge difference between males and females.
Because I focus so much on my clients' hormonal status, I have decided that it would be beneficial to bring more hormonal education, tips, and tricks to Worthy Womanhood. I will start by explaining how you can support each part of your menstrual cycle and begin discussing how you can help your body from pre-menopause through the end of menopause.
My goal is for you, my clients, and all women to have a painless, enjoyable transition from one phase of the cycle through the next. I believe in using nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle (mostly stress management) to overcome difficult hormonal symptoms. Although discomfort is common, it should not be normalized.
My clients typically experience painless periods within a couple of months of working with me, so this is an area that I want to educate you about this topic too. You can begin taking steps to experience less hormonal struggle as well.
How to Support Your Body During the Menstrual Phase (day 1-5, although some have a shorter or longer period):
Slow down while you are on experiencing the menstrual phase. While you are on your period, your estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest points, so energy levels might be lower, and you might experience an increased need for rest.
Increase food intake if needed, and be aware that an increased need for sodium and carbohydrates (even simple carbs) is normal, and biologically appropriate. Although classically "taboo" for women to listen to their bodies and indulge in extra salt and sugar while on their period, I suggest tuning into your body and eating as much as your body is requesting. Be sure to be being mindful of eating enough protein along with the carbohydrates you most likely will be craving.
Begin supporting your liver, as estrogen is about to be on the rise as you enter into the follicular phase. Milk thistle, castor oil packs, beetroots, dandelion root tea, and Oregon grape root are some wonderful ways to begin preparing to have a smooth transition into the next hormonal phase.
Tips for a better menstrual cycle:
Some women do better without caffeine during their period, but caffeine has a positive effect on others. Try a caffeine free cycle to see if you respond better to zero caffeine (although be aware fo withdrawal headaches if you have a dependency.) This has more to do with the health and metabolic status of your body. Those who are more metabolically supported and have higher nutrient stores tend to respond better to caffeine.
Many times, a warm magnesium salt bath and some magnesium bi-carbonate are just what someone needs while on their cycle to help aid with low energy and cramps. I suggest doing both at night, or getting a magnesium bath, drinking some magnesium bicarbonate, and taking a nap with a heating pad, or hot water bottle on the abdomen.
Peppermint essential oil can be a huge help when dealing with cramps. Place a few drops on the lower abdomen and the lower back, and you should start feeling some relief within a few minutes.