Menstrual pain is not normal. We’ve been misguided to believe that moderate to severe cramping during our time of the month is what happens to every female. Although it is common in our society, this does not make it normal.
What is normal?
Light to mild cramping during your period is normal. We have to remember that the uterus is also a muscle and it’s contracting during this time. Also, we are shedding our endometrial lining which might become uncomfortable at times.
Since I was 15 years old I’ve been struggling with excruciating pains during the first day of my cycle. Sometimes this pain took me to the emergency room because I felt THIS WAS NOT NORMAL. Many doctors tried to convince me that contraceptive medications would solve all my problems. After many years of getting the same answer one visit to the ER created a life changing experience. The physicians found a cyst the size of my thumb wrapping around my left ovary. During an emergency surgery, I was diagnosed with severe Endometriosis and hemorrhagic cysts. And then I thought to myself, “WHAT NOW?” I started to dig deeper.
I knew that following my gynecologist’s recommendation of taking contraceptive medications would only mask my symptoms and I was terrified of the common side effects such as INFERTILITY. I also knew that I had to get to the root of the cause for me to not suffer anymore.
When we experience moderate to severe cramping during our period, or even extreme pain causing us to curl up on the floor, this is our body screaming for help. Here are some simple steps you can start making to shift your experience during that time of the month.
Remember this month reflects what you did the past 3 months. We need to stick to these changes for the long run to see real improvement.
Once I started Chiropractic care in my twenties I started noticing improvements during my period. The only month in the past 13 years were I had NO PAIN was when I went twice a week to my Chiropractor consistently. Having your spine and pelvis aligned for this part of the cycle is crucial. The nerves coming from T10 to L1 (lower thoracic and lumbar region) innervate the uterus, T9 to T10 innervate the ovaries, and nerves from sacrum innervate the uterus and fallopian tubes. Once there is clear communication between the brain and these reproductive organs, pain levels drop and it creates a more balanced cycle.
2. Meat intake
Studies show that added hormones in meat are linked to hormonal imbalance in humans. Not only can the type of meat you eat cause different diseases like cancer, it can also affect your naturally produced hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Just a slight imbalance with these hormones can cause serious changes in your cycle. I recommend to only eat clean, organic, grass-fed, no added hormones or antibiotics EVER meat. Remember that eating out in fast foods and restaurants will also increase the chances of consuming this type of meat.
3. Dairy intake
Most dairy products that aren’t organic are also carrying added hormones and other toxins to our bodies. Eliminating dairy from your diet might be one of the best changes for your cycle. These products are highly linked to increased inflammation levels in the body. There are many delicious dairy free alternatives at most supermarkets and grocery stores.
4. Sugar intake
We all know that sugar causes inflammation. This inflammation can also be reflected in your reproductive organs. Limiting your sugar intake will support a healthy balance of insulin levels in your body. I am talking about processed sugars, sugars in fruit and healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes can still be a part of your diet in moderation.
5. Alcohol intake
Excess estrogen in the body is linked to PMS, menstrual pain, irregular cycles, light spotting, heavy spotting, decreased sexual drive, and many other symptoms. When we consume alcohol, our Liver has to work extra hard to detox other compounds, having less time and energy to remove hormones such as estrogen. Limiting or eliminating your alcohol intake will have a huge impact in your cycle.
6. Vegetable oil intake
Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, peanut, cottonseed oils are linked to studies with inflammation and prostaglandin formation. These oils are consumed mostly at home, restaurants, fast foods and processed foods at the supermarket. I suggest not only do you read the labels on every product that you buy, you can also make small changes such as cooking with coconut, avocado, or olive oils. These are better absorbed by the body and do not interfere with a healthy hormone balance.
As a Chiropractic doctor I understand the necessity to educate women of very delicate topics such as this. I suggest we don’t ignore the signs our bodies are showing us and to take the lead on our health and the decisions we make. Taking these simple steps and changes can start creating amazing improvements in your cycle and in your life.
Natalia Canchaney, DC
Shine Family Chiropractic