Welcome to this week's Wellness Wednesday post! Be sure to check out our YOUTUBE CHANNEL if you prefer this information via video.
Menstrual cramps are something that plagues many women from month to month. I know from personal experience how much of a hassle they can be when it comes to making plans, work/school, or just overall wondering how bad it'll be. Extremely painful menstrual cramps have become something that most women, and society in general, see as normal, but let me tell you; it's not.
Extreme cramping, vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness, cold sweats, and all those other things that tend to happen at the onset of menstruation should NOT be happening! Menstrual cramps this severe indicate other issues within the body. Remember, humans are (w)holistic beings, meaning that everything is connected. One main cause of menstrual cramps that we will address today is hormonal imbalance.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include (but are not limited to):
- Acne around the jawline and chin
- Swollen, sore, or tender breasts
- Bloating in the abdominal region
- Mood swings
- Irregular or absent periods
The three main sex hormones of the human body are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. As women, we go through cyclical hormonal changes that essentially help drive our reproductive force to prepare the body for conception, whether it happens or not. During the first half of the complete menstrual cycle, including the follicular and ovulation phases, our estrogen levels naturally increase while progesterone decreases to promote the release of an egg. During the second half, including the luteal phase and menstruation, our progesterone levels increase while estrogen decreases as our bodies prepare to shed the uterine lining if the egg released during ovulation was not fertilized. An imbalance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause a plethora of issues, including menstrual cramps, if not properly addressed. If you are experiencing any of the above listed symptoms (or additional ones you find through your own research), you should begin to take the necessary steps to help balance your hormones and return your body to a state of homeostasis.
Things that can cause hormonal imbalances:
- Improper diet
- Commonly eaten foods like flesh foods (chicken, beef, pork) contain tons of artificial growth hormones used during farming to make these animals grow bigger and faster to be sold off for profit. Consuming foods that contain artificial hormones can throw off your own hormones and disrupt the state of balance within your body. Other foods like candy and chips with artificial coloring, flavors, and chemicals may also have the same effects.
- Toxic personal care products
- Most store bought personal care products like soaps and moisturizers contain endocrine disrupting chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and BHA. These chemicals MIMIC estrogen in the body, and can therefore cause the body to react as though there is actually more estrogen coming in and alter its levels of progesterone to maintain balance (feedback loop).
- Some medications like hormonal birth control (BC) contain synthetic hormones which as stated above throw off the equilibrium of the body's natural hormones and thus cause issues.
To begin correcting these things:
- CLEAN UP YOUR DIET! The food you eat determines how EVERYTHING else in your body functions. If you choose to continue to eat flesh foods, opt for organic and grass fed meats that are free or much less exposed to artificial growth hormones and steroids during production. If you can, go plant based! This helped my menstrual cramps TREMENDOUSLY in addition to a few other factors I will mention later. Try our Plant Based Eating for Beginners E book if you don't know where or how to start.
- USE CLEAN PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS! Clean meaning toxin and chemical free! You're already halfway there by being on benebeautybybri.com! This was one of the main purposes of me establishing the brand; to allow people to benefit from the personal care products they use. It is very possible to take care of your body and skin without having to suffer from side effects that big brands don't even warn you about down the line.
- I will say now and again at the end: I AM NOT A DOCTOR! I AM NOT YOUR DOCTOR so I will not recommend you stop or start any medications or supplements, as that differs from condition to condition anyway. However, I will suggest you do your own research and talk to your primary health care provider about more natural/holistic ways to care for your issues. Adaptogen herbs like maca root have played a vital role in balancing my hormones and helping rid me of sore breasts, hormonal acne, clotting, and bloating at the onset of my menstrual. Check out this study on how maca root was shown to affect the hormones of female mice in an experiment.
Regular exposure to sunlight is also a key factor in maintaining hormonal regulation as stated in our previous Wellness Wednesdays video regarding Melanin, Melatonin, and the Circadian Rhythm.
What are some things you've found help you with managing menstrual cramps? Comment below!
THE INFORMATION STATED IN THIS BLOG IS JUST THAT: INFORMATIONAL. THIS EXCERPT IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO REPLACE GUIDANCE FROM A LICENSED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. THIS EXCERPT IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY HEALTH CONDITIONS, BUT IS PURELY FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES.