“Sophie asked: I have terrible menstrual cramps every month. The pill has permitted me to stop it but I’m looking for another more natural solution to sooth them as I’m going to stop the pill next month.”
I went to an all-girl catholic high-school in Queens, NY. I remember girls missing classes and whole days of school because of cramps. I remember seeing their anguished faces in the nurses office with the heating pad on their stomachs hoping it would somehow alleviate the pain. I used to use those too and it did make me feel a little better but I still was reminded pretty sharply by Mother Nature the pain of womanhood every month.
Thankfully I made changes to my diet and lifestyle that cured me from that terrible pain. Now, I get cramps maybe once every 4 months and usually that’s because I didn’t follow my normal pattern, which is:
1️⃣ Eat high-raw
2️⃣ Exercise at least 4 times per week
3️⃣ Avoid processed foods, like any gluten or gluten-free product
If you don’t eat meat-free 100% of the time, you may want to also consider taking synthetic hormones off your plate. I understand the process to meat-free can take time, but you can choose grass-fed, local, hormone-free, chemical-free meat and dairy and notice the difference in your monthly cycle until you can remove these completely from your meals. Hormones from food can lead to a heavier flow, more cramping, mood swings, and even ovarian cysts.
Dairy is one of the biggest contributors to cyclical imbalance. As a mucus-producing food, it clogs the respiratory and digestive system and makes your monthly cycle heavier and more uncomfortable. It can also contribute to cystic breasts and acne.
A word about fats
Lack of high-quality fat in the diet is linked to poor skin health, hormonal imbalance, ovarian cysts, and a slew of other common women’s health issues. It’s important to remember that fat is your friend, not your foe. Adding avocado and olive oil can be very helpful when balancing your menstrual cycle. These are my two favorite fats and my main sources of daily fat intake.
Herbs are really helpful
Red raspberry leaf and stinging nettle are both herbs traditionally used to support menstrual health for several reasons:
- Red Raspberry Leaf:
– Nutrient-Rich: It’s high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and B-vitamins, which are essential for overall health and can be particularly supportive during menstruation.
– Uterine Health: Red raspberry leaf is known for its uterine tonic properties. It helps tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, which can aid in reducing menstrual cramps.
– Menstrual Flow Regulation: It may help in regulating the menstrual flow, potentially reducing heavy periods.
– Hormonal Balance: While not a direct hormonal balancer, the nutritional support it provides can help the body to maintain hormonal balance.
- Stinging Nettle:
– Rich in Nutrients: Stinging nettle is high in vitamins (A, C, K) and minerals like iron, which is beneficial for those who experience heavy menstrual bleeding.
– Anti-inflammatory Properties: It can help reduce inflammation, which may alleviate menstrual cramps and bloating.
– Diuretic Effect: Stinging nettle has a diuretic effect, which can help to relieve bloating and water retention during menstruation.
– Blood Sugar Regulation: It may help in regulating blood sugar levels, reducing cravings and mood swings often associated with the menstrual cycle.
Both of these herbs are often used in herbal teas and supplements aimed at supporting menstrual health.