Hey Girl HEYYYYY……
That wonderful week out of the month that we women just LOVE, it’s here! Listen. There is NOTHING more painful and debilitating than your monthly cycle. I’ve had one since I was 13. Some days I’m just like, “Guys have NO freaking I idea!” I saw a meme the other day that said, “Anything you can do, I can do bleeding!” I about DIED! I didn’t know whether to be disturbed or to scream out loud, “AMEN!” I’ve always had a pretty rough cycle. I went on birth control back in college, and I could totally feel a difference in my body. Not in a good way either. I felt more on edge and just kind of “foggy.” While it definitely helped clear up my skin and stopped my cycle in a whole because of it addressing the wacky hormones within my body, the side effects and research behind why birth control truly isn’t as safe as it’s said to be provoked me to get off. I was only on it because I had painful heavy periods and that’s just what my doctor suggested. I wasn’t aware of all of the things that could influence hormonal imbalances and could worsen the symptoms of my cycle, so I just took a pill to mask the symptoms. It was easy and convenient.
Getting off brith control was an informed and educated decision that I made for myself and my personal situation. I will never judge anyone for being on it, but I do encourage anyone who is currently taking the pill to really do your research. Dr. Jolene Brighten is one of my favorite functional medicine doctors to follow who really opens up research and science about the pill. Even when you just take a step back and think about the concept of STOPPING a natural cycle within our body, it doesn’t make sense. We’re not meant to not have our periods. While I wish that God could just text me every month and be like “ Hey Kelsey, you ain’t pregnant” instead of blessing me with this natural and painful process of womanhood, I will gladly continue to support and fuel my body naturally to make this process not so terrible because I know the toll that the pill can take on my body. I know about the side effects it can have on my gut, my heart, my hormones, and my brain. This wasn’t a religious decision for me, just to be clear. This was a health decision.
So how do I support my cycle naturally? Lots of ways! There are many websites and blogs out there on this subject. I’m not here to repeat and copy what they say. I’m here to share with you exactly what I do before, during, and after my cycle to support my body and hormones as naturally as I can and to decrease the amount of discomfort that I experience. I want to say this: I don’t want anyone to suffer during their cycle. I also don’t want to make anyone feel guilty for being on the pill. For some, it is a necessary evil for their personal circumstance. I just want to share my story and inform you all of what I’ve personally beenable to do and what natural steps I’ve taken to decrease the amount of physical and emotional discomfort during this time of month.
Before My Cycle
My cycle is pretty irregularly regular. It’s about 26 days. It just comes when it comes. I can typically tell the day before, though. I start feeling REALLY crazy and my poor husband tends to be a target! I’ve learned that when I haven’t had my period in a while and I can’t figure out why the heck I’m SO upset, it’s probably coming. I have a monthly blend of Essential Oils that I will start to use “ideally” a week prior. These include Jasmine, Rose, and a monthly Women’s Blend.
Rose Essential Oil– It has been studied to support both depressive and anxious feelings. I have found a LOT of emotional support with this oil. It’s very mild and calming. REAL Rose Essential Oil is on the pricier side because of how it’s sourced. It takes about 75lbs of rose petals to create 5ml of Rose Oil. I use a pre-diluted (this doesn’t mess with the effecicay, it’s just mixed with a carrier oil for dilution) roller which works beautifully. I apply to my wrists and will roll some on my hands and rub into my diffuser necklace throughout my day.
Jasmine Essential Oil– THIS oil is incredible for supporting anxious feelings. You know that evil shark-like edge that we females can get? YES. This oil helps with that. I absolutely love Jasmine! It’s my female perfume! It smells beautiful and I carry it with me all throughout the month! I apply this oil when I get that pre-period rage! Y’all know what I’m talking about! It brings me back down and allows me to effectively breathe through those moments with aromatherapy support.
ClaryCalm– Women’s monthly blend. I use this oil about 3 times a day, a week before my cycle. Its a GEM! I apply it to the inside of my ankle bone on an area called “Kidney 3.” This area is an acupressure point that helps support irregular menses. I also apply to my abdomen daily.
Ingredients in ClaryCalm:
•Ylang Ylang Flower
The entire month, I take a daily vitamin supplement to top off what I don’t receive in my diet. This includes a cellular support vitamin, fish oil, and whole food supplement.
During My Cycle
I continue using all of the oils and regiments above, but I use them more frequently (about 4-6 times a day). I also add 2 drops of marjoram to the ClaryCalm blend, as it helps support any abdominal discomfort.
When I start my cycle, I always begin my Thyme and Copaiba Regiment. This duo has been a GAME changer with my cycle symptoms. I do one drop of Copiaba under my tongue (now these come in softgels and I do 2 soft gels a day, morning and night) and 3 drops of Thyme in a Veggie Cap with enough Olive Oil to fill it up. When I learned the effects of NSAID’s like Ibuprofen had on my stomach and gut, I became very weary of consuming these medications as frequently as I did. So many women load up on the ibuprofen during their cycle because well, it’s painful! I then read this study a few months ago, and stumbled across something life changing. It was conducted by the Caspian Journal of Medicine comparing the use of Ibuprofen and Thyme for women on their cycles. It revealed that Pure Thyme Oil was more effective and longer lasting than the ibuprofen with the management and support of dysmenorrhea symptoms.
I make these capsules on the spot and have found that I personally benefit from use every 6 hours on the first and second day of my cycle for discomfort. It works BEAUTIFULLY! Once I make it through those two days, I just continue with my Copaiba softgels once a day. Copaiba helps support abdominal discomfort, and using these oils together has provided incredible relief!
When it comes to ingesting essential oils, there are a lot of opinions and research out there. I have personally done my own research and only consume essential oils orally in the purest and safest form. I have found doTERRA Essential oils not only to be safe, but extremely effective! I do, however, encourage anyone wanting to use oils internally to work with a physician who specializes in essential oils. I only use doterra essential oils and would not consume any other brand internally.
Lastly, that hormonal head tension! I know y’all get it! When it comes to oils, peppermint oil directly to your temples, forehead, and back of neck is so supportive and helpful! Remember that you never want to WASH OFF or WIPE OFF Essential Oils. You only want to further dilute with a carrier oil to decrease potency. This oil works SO good for supporting that head discomfort.
Diffusing is another incredible support during your cycle. Oils like Lavender, Clary Sage, Bergamot, and Frankincense can be very supportive during this time of month! I typically use 4 drops in my diffuser of each and fill the rest with water!
Nutrition On Your Cycle
There are a few food groups and things that I try really hard to avoid on my cycle.
- Gluten– I definitely notice a difference when I consume gluten and when I don’t on my cycle! The pain is SO much worse, especially first and second days! I try to avoid any bread, pizza, cookies, or anything containing the crazy G! While there aren’t a ton of studies and research PROVING that gluten causes worsening period symptoms, I personally made a food journal while on my cycle for 3 months in row. Grain/gluten was one of the BIGGEST contributors to my discomfort and the pain worsened after the consumption. I now avoid it in a whole during the first 3 days when my symptoms are the worst.
- Caffeine– this is SUCH a hard one, but caffeine 100% flares up my symptoms. I tried to pray the pain away and pretend that coffee was okay and didn’t affect me, but it did. I tried to believe it was just the water I was drinking and the air I was breathing, but it wasn’t. Coffee messed with me big time. I started doing my research on a better warm beverage to help support my symptoms and came across a powerhouse blend of ginger and tumeric. Both of these have POWERHOUSE anti-inflammatory affects:
(Turmeric– You may also have heard of it as curcumin. In the same way that NSAIDS inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, so does turmeric. Except it’s NATURAL without the hash side effects of medications. Prostaglandins stimulate uterine contractions and contribute to the pain from the shedding of the uterus. So when turmeric can inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, it can naturally support the discomfort from your cycle.
Ginger – Ginger is another one of the earth’s natural pain reducers. It too, contains anti-inflammatory compounds that function in the same way as COX 2 inhibitors. Cox-2 inhibitors are drugs that are used to treat pain and inflammation (NSAID’s.) This article reveals better menstrual relief amongst women with an intervention of 500mg of ginger root power compared to the placebo.
All science aside, this tea has made a GIANT difference in my menstrual pain! I do 3 cups a day for the the first 2 days of my cycle. The minute my uterus starts shedding (I totally feel it! It feels like an elephant is pushing on my lower back), I start drinking. I use this brand.
If you want to stick to a more coffee-like alternative, Teeccino is really good and beneficial!)
•Processed Sugar– I have to laugh, because I swear my cycle is Satan! All I CRAVE is sugar, bread, and greasy foods. Funny enough, that is what makes the pain SO SO SO much worse. But these aren’t typical cravings. These are like the Tsunami of cravings! THE BIG ONES! And they’re hard to fight against. When I began to understand what was happening in my body with these foods, and WITNESSED relief when I resisted, it made it a lot easier for me to be disciplined and to get distracted. Sugar is definitely a trigger of mine with discomfort. Ice cream, cookies, and sweets. I want them, but I resist. It feeds that inflammatory process. It makes my symptoms worse and now I do my best to avoid.
Side note: I don’t drink alcohol anymore, but when I did, it was 100% a trigger. Dairy wasn’t so much a trigger for me, but for some it has been. I encourage you to keep a food journal on your cycle and pay attention to what you’re eating and what you’re feeling when you eat those foods. That can help you identify potential triggers. We’re all different, so we have to find what works best for our bodies!
What To Eat On Your Cycle
NUTRIENTS! Nutrients like crazy! Simple, I know….but so many don’t! I do green smoothies in the morning alongside my tea! All of these anti-oxidants and phytonutrients are SOOOO supportive for any inflammation or cellular damage in the body! When you are losing blood, you loose energy. You’re also naturally a little sluggish. Loading up on the green stuff will 100% support you on your cycle. I also continue to take the supplements I mentioned above.
My favorite green smoothie at the moment:
-1.5 cups frozen organic kale
-1.5 cups frozen organic spinach
-13 frozen organic green grapes
-1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
-1 squeezed lime
-1/2 cup filtered water
-1 drop of Ginger Essential Oil (optional)
For Energy Boost during my cycle (since I’m not doing caffeine), I use a supplement called “Mito2max” which is an adaptogenic blend of herbs and mushrooms. LOVE LOVE LOVE! It happens to support libido too. which I find hilarious because well….you’re on your period. But just FYI.
When I’m not drinking smoothies, I truly do eat as anti-inflammatory as I can. Essentially, I stay pretty Whole30 complaint for the 6 days that I’m on my cycle. Okay, maybe Jeni’s Goat Cheese Cherry Ice Cream happens like once, BUTTTT…….for the most part…..it’s a clean week! (I can’t help it! It’s my once a month)!
Lets Talk Bleeding
So I know you guys are wondering…..“If she’s this hippie, does she wear tampons?” No. The answer is, no. I’m going to be honest. I’ve been using organic pads for the past year and a half, and I hate them. They’re gross and they’re not environmentally friendly. I use a non-toxic fragrance free organic pad, but still not ideal. I also use Thinx Underwear and I LOVE them! The concept sounds so gross, but they truly are my favorite thing ever! My sister gifted them to me for my birthday. Such a sister gift LOL!! They’re a pair of undies with a built in washable liner. I still wear a pad with mine, but these undies are so supportive and secure. I don’t freak out about leaking and all that jazz. So worth the investment! I am taking the plunge into the Lena Cup next month. Finally. I had to do my research and to be honest, the concept freaked me out a bit, but after many referrals and research on my own, it’s something that I’m going to explore. That will be a later blog post!
So why not tampons? Well for one, many are stored in plastic (paragons) and made with synthetic chemical fragrance. None of that is good just plugged up there in your va jay jay. Another reason, just think about it. It’s not natural. A big cotton rocket all up in your hoo-ha, collecting blood and bacteria. Sure, it’s inconvenient, but sometimes heath isn’t convenient. And I’m okay with that. I just want my body to do it’s thing. I don’t want to chemically or physically alter it’s natural process. That’s my personal decision and that’s just how I roll!
Hydration -The last few things that I do DURING my cycle is hard core hydration. Thankful for my Berkey Water Filter during this time of month, because I drink A LOT! I drink lots and lots of water and get out to move my body. I don’t do any hard core workouts on my cycle, but I do get out in the sun and move my body. I will walk or do a 15 minute yoga session. It just helps restore the energy in my body and helps me physically and mentally get through my days! Now listen. I’m not PERFECT at the exercise part of my cycle, as I truly get really exhausted during those 5-6 days, but I try to be very intentional with moving my body. It helps with pain and also energy.
So that’s pretty much it! This is my system in how I manage and support my hormones, emotions, and discomfort during that time of the month! I no longer take OTC meds, and I’m not suffering. I really believe that when we truly TAKE THE TIME to figure out what our bodies triggers are and get to really know and understand their needs, we can truly support our life naturally and effectively! I am so thankful that I am not bound to Midol, curled up in bed, and feeling like the sky is falling on me every month anymore. It’s still not EASY per say, but it is 100 times better than it ever used to be! It’s taken me a long time to get to this point to find out what works, but I am SO thankful that I took the time! I hope this is all helpful and encouraging to anyone out there seeking more natural and effective support for your cycle. Please feel free to comment or reach out with ANY questions!