Don't Distress, De-Stress Your Period
By Dr. Tara Hogan D.C.
When I was in college getting my period meant I was about to lose all my energy, become an anxious basket case, and generally feel like crap. This was not convenient, especially as an athlete. I can remember trying to sneak naps in between class and practice only to wake up more tired.Then it was off to sprint practice to feel utterly…slow…
I was young and “fit” yet my periods made me feel what I call “dumpy,” a combination of being emotionally down in the dumps and feeling like I needed to take a dump. This was not conducive to an early 20s lifestyle. I was not a fan of being a woman at this time and I cursed my period.
As I grew into a woman and a doctor I learned that there are simple needs our bodies have if we want happier periods. I will break down how nutrition, stress reduction, and physical alignment can make you proud to be a woman again.
Little did I know in college that what got put into the body is what one could expect to get out of it. I was downing tall glasses of chocolate milk each meal and eating lots of starchy carbs. This practice of sugar binging and crashing was causing terrible stress in my hormone cycle. I was also avoiding cholesterol and fat, which are essential to proper hormone function because they are precursors for making hormones! It wasn't until I entered chiropractic college that I started to learn how my body really worked and what it needed to work normally. When you give the body sufficient fats, carbs, proteins, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water, it will do great things for you. When we have the right quantities of these “macronutrients” for our own specific profile, it is easy to thank your body more rather than curse it.
A lot of hormone problems stem from a toxicity or deficiency of some sort nutritional speaking. Stress can make you toxic on the inside, which is an idea you may not have considered before. It can throw off hormone balances because when stress hormone increases, other important bodily functions will get put on the back burner. To add to that, when we are stressed we forget to “parent” ourselves and most healthy lifestyle stuff goes out the window. So to me, stress mitigation should come first. This way we will start making decisions from a healthier point of view.
Let's dive into how to take action on Mental/Emotional Stress, Chemical Stress, Physical Stress:
Mental Emotional Stress:
Set aside for yourself the simplicity of a moment that you can have for yourself first thing in the morning. Even if it is 5 minutes it can change your life. I have 4 kids, 2 businesses, a home to keep, and the only thing keeping me sane and on track is probably the 5-20 minutes I give myself in the morning or sometime during the day.This time I use to sit and totally NON-do. Which means I focus on my breath and do nothing. I listen and feel my breath coming in and out of my body. I set my intent for the day stating once: Maximum embodied peace that serves the highest good today. Thank you.
When eating ask yourself how am I going to feel after I eat this? Avoid estrogenic foods like soy if you have bad periods. Also anything you heat up in a plastic wrapper increases estrogen, which can throw off your own hormone balance. Healthy fats and protein are so important. Do not skip out on fats. OMEGA 3 Essential Fatty Acids have completely solved my anxiety issues and heavy periods. They can also help with any moodiness or brain fog. I use Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. It sounds nasty, but it’s in capsules and you don’t have to taste it.
Movement: Physical activity is proven to balance hormones. To sweat is a great way to relieve stress and remove toxins that can build up and disrupt hormones. But too much exercise can also disrupt female hormones and send you into adrenal fatigue. A healthy balance of sweating but not overdoing it can be found. Each person is different in their need for exercise intensity. The only way to find your balance is to experiment and listen to your body.
Alignment: Put your hands on your hips. Now look in the mirror and see if you feel like one hip is higher than the other. This can be an indication of unwanted stress leading to back pain. And of course if you already have back pain that means you have nerve inflammation. That inflammation is not limited to nerves going to muscles, but also ovaries, uterus, and adrenal glands. These organs need the nervous system to flow easily so that your “flow” can happen normally.Finding a good chiropractor to balance your pelvis and lower spine can relieve muscle tension and free up energy your body has been wasting on tense muscles and misguided organs. The body when in alignment physically, mentally, and chemically will work properly and your period can be blissful…well, at least tolerable. :) For more female health reach out!
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