By: Dr Taryn Deane
A common infliction that unfortunately has been culturally accepted as normal, when in reality is a condition that can and should be treated appropriately. Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a time we could celebrate - since it signifies our ability to reproduce and keep our species alive - as opposed to dread and struggle through?
Luckily, nature has provided us a wealth of tools that can help ease the hormonal swings that happen to nearly ALL women, every single goddamn month.
Without boring you with the details as to why this happens in some people and not others, I’ll let you in on a couple quick notes. The liver is our main detox organ. It breaks down most drugs as well as estrogen. When it is overburdened (too many parties, drugs, alcohol, sugar, pharmaceuticals), it acts up. The emotion associated with the liver in Chinese medicine is ANGER - hence why we get a little irritable when aunt Flo comes to town.
Two important things before I lay out some treatment strategies:
1. The Diva Cup - if you are still using pads and tampons, please stop. Not only are you slowly but surely destroying the planet with your gross trash, but you’re also totally disconnected with how much blood you’re losing each month and the quality of it as well (clots and colour changes can indicate issues like ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids).
2. The Copper IUD - if you are still using hormonal birth control, go see an ND and get a protocol to come off safely. The Paraguard is my preferred method because although the first couple periods may be heavier and more painful, this thing lasts 5-10 years and you never have to think about it again (say goodbye to forgetting to take the Pill). No hormones, no issues maintaining your fertility when you come off, no side effects, no increased chance of blot clots killing you. Plus it’s way cheaper and WAY better for the environment.
Treatment-wise, you’re going to want to arm yourself with the following:
- Magnesium - bisglycinate is the preferred form as it is better absorbed and causes less diarrhea. This nutrient is depleted with stress and is a natural muscle relaxant, decreases anxiety and helps with headaches, insomnia, constipation and cramping. It is a godsend. Take up to 600mg/day.
- B6 - B vitamin that is used in the liver to break down drugs and hormones (up to 300mg/day). You’ll notice better moods and better energy.
- Vitex or Chaste Tree - this incredible herb regulates progesterone levels and reduces symptoms associated with too much estrogen.
- Indole-3-Carbinol - from broccoli this nutrient helps the liver detox excess estrogen.
- Diet - avoid sugar and refined foods, increase fibre in diet (35-45 g/day), decrease caffeine
- Castor Oil Packs - reduce pain, inflammation and cramping. Rub a layer of the oil over your stomach/uterus, right side under the rib cage, or back (wherever you feel pain), lay an old t-shirt over top and add a hot water bottle for 15-20 mins when you have pain, up to 5 times/week.
- Cannabis - smoking or edibles will help tremendously with pain and mood issues.
Happy menstruating, ladies