What Your Period Problems are Telling You. And How to Fix Them.
Your period is your body’s report card, says my favorite menstrual maven, Laura Briden.
What was your grade this month?
Did you have a predictable and easy flow? Was the blood bright red and without clots? Did you experience a minimum of #mood fluctuations? Was your skin clear all month long? Was your cramping barely noticeable?
You have the right to a period like this.
My periods are like this. Not because I am special, but because I have been working for many months at sorting out common menstrual problems that afflict women.
Problems that doctors want to mask with the Pill.
Please don’t go on the Pill for period problems. There are other ways.
With knowledge comes power, don’t you think? This is why #functional practitioners like myself are trained in interpreting lab work. One of my favorite labs to run is the #DUTCHtest. I have mentioned it before and I will mention it again as it bears repeating.
The DUTCH test is an easy, at home test. You pee onto 4-5 strips of paper, and then lab geeks use your urine to measure important hormones, like
and organic acids like
We have so much information to work with! Using the lab data, we can tailor a rest and stress relief and dietary and supplement plan to get your period back on track within a month or two.
However, if you are not in the mood for a $250 functional medicine test, I will share a few secrets with you on how to take care of a few common period problems using #diet and #supplements.
But first, rest. If you are stressed beyond belief, and your cortisol levels are at a ridiculous high or a ridiculous low, no amount of bacon or magnesium is going to change your life. You must relax. Stop taking everything so seriously. Stop taking yourself too seriously. Nap. Turn off your screen. Watch Curious George with your kids. Turn on some #dance music in your garage and go crazy with no one watching. Buy a punching bag. Tape a picture of peoples’ heads on the bag. No, don’t do that. It’s so mean.
But for real, it’s within your power to #stress less. No one can do it for you. Stress is the #1 reason your period is making you crazy.
Now second, you can address some of the common period problems in the following ways.
If you bleed like a Dexter victim every month, you probably have too much #estrogen. This is a thing, and I see it quite often. Estrogen from your own body, from the environment, from personal care products, and from stress can all back up in your system. If your #liver is burdened and overworked, it cannot do its job of breaking down estrogen and the #hormone gets reabsorbed into your body, causing havoc through #PMS, irritability, #acne, and heavy #bleeding. It’s even worse if you are #constipated. If you can’t poop regularly, that estrogen sits in your digestive tract and gets reabsorbed into the bloodstream as well. Too much estrogen is no bueno.
If you are bleeding heavily, you are also losing iron. Women need adequate stores of #iron for blood and bone health. If heavy bleeding is your problem, you need beets and C. I recommend eating a beet a day. Roast them or boil them and throw them in your salad. If you don’t like beets, I don’t care. They are good for you. Stop being a baby and eat them. Or you can get a beetroot supplement.
You also need Vitamin C. I recommend 2,000 mg per day. The #Vitamin C helps you absorb the iron you are getting from the beets.
Estrogen excess also means you need to increase your fiber. If you deal with digestive issues, you do not need to add fiber during the day and make your life miserable. If you can tolerate 35 grams a fiber through food a day, this is optimal. However, many Westerners simply cannot process that much fiber per day. They become gassy and bloated and paradoxically, constipated. If this is you, but you are still estrogen dominant, I recommend adding 2 tbsp of #flaxseed right before bed. You can stir it in a bit of coconut yogurt, or make my Healthy Hormone Smoothie.
Bleeding all month long
If you are bleeding or spotting all month long, you almost surely are low in #progesterone. Yes, you can supplement with OTC progesterone, but it is always wise to ask, “why is this happening?” The answer is not always a pill or a cream. Is your progesterone turning into cortisol before it can do its job of regulating your bleed? If so, you need to work on reducing stress. Are you estrogen dominant at the same time? If so, make sure your bowels are moving and that you are not inundating your body with a bunch of chemicals and hormone-laden animal products. Not everyone needs to eat an organic diet, but if you are hormonally dysregualted, you may do well to eat grass fed meat for a few months. Your body needs a break in between. Want a rest from bleeding? Make sure you take a rest from going going going and the stress that comes along with it.
If you are regulating stress and estrogen, yet you are still bleeding throughout the month, you are a candidate for OTC #progesterone. I advise you to actually get your progesterone levels tested before adding hormones to your body. But if you are going to ignore that advice, make sure that you supplement intelligently. Take 1 pump of progesterone cream on the inner thigh or wrist every night from Day 14-27 of your cycle. If day 1 is the first day you bleed, Day 14 is 13 days after your first bleed day. If you bleed too much to figure out what Day 14 is, start counting on the first day of the month. On Day 14, add progesterone and continue until Day 27. Then stop, bleed for 5-7 days, and start the cycle over again. Eventually your periods should shorten in duration.
If this is too complicated to think about on your own, contact me. I would love to help you experience easier, happier #periods! We are starting discounted group coaching modules or hormone balance in July. Let me know if you want to be part of this.
Clots can be really scary. Normal size #clots should be about the size of a dime or smaller. If you are passing people-sized clots, you may have too much #testosterone. Again, I recommend testing (you can ask your primary care physician or OB to run #labwork) before supplementation. Testing can rule out #PCOS (too much testosterone).
If you are clotting heavily on a regular basis, consider the supplement Dong Quai. Dong quai slightly thins the blood, which can reduce clots. Since it does thin the blood, please do not use it if you are taking another blood thinner. Because it increases blood flow and circulation, it also may be useful to combat #cramps. This supplement can also have estrogen-like effects, so you should know your baseline estrogen levels before starting.
Infrequent or short bleeding.
Guess what usually causes infrequent or short bleeding? Low estrogen and progesterone. Guess what usually causes low estrogen and progesterone? Adrenal problems. You probably have some cortisol dysregulation. That means your body is too #stressed. This could be due to circumstances, emotions, food sensitivities, latent infections, or allergies. In this case, I would definitely recommend the DUTCH test or other hormonal panel. If both your estrogen and progesterone are low, then you may have low #DHEA or #pregnenolone. This is my favorite, because I get to recommend that you eat more bacon and filet mignons. You need animal fat at this point, or your body will not be able to make enough hormones to keep you humming along smoothly. Despite what years of being on the Pill may tell you, it is actually very beneficial and good for your body to have a good bleed each month. You don’t want a scanty or nonexistent flow. Your bleed should be a good 4-7 days. If not, get you some animal protein for 2-3 meals per day and rest a little bit more. Stop your daily 5 mile runs for a bit and see if your period comes happily home.
In a nutshell, most period problems are due to too much estrogen. You already have the steps to reduce said estrogen. If you need further help removing estrogen from you body, you can consider the sulforaphane group of supplements, like #DIM or I3C. The sulfur compounds assist in removing estrogens from the body by sweeping them out with cruciferous compounds. You can eat 10 heads of broccoli to get the same effect, but all of that calcium is going to have dampening effect on thyroid function. DIM can cause #headaches– I see this a lot. The effect goes away after awhile but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Was this helpful? Period #problems are such a common complaint. Chime in on Facebook or Instagram if you have a question or concern you want addressed in upcoming blog posts.
to your period health-