**DISCLAIMER FOR MEN** Only read on if you would like to know the women in your life better!
So, I’ve been working on caring for myself holistically when menstrual cramps are literally crippling me, and I’d like to pass on what I am discovering in case it could help some of you. I heard once that cramps are your practice for childbirth and even though I don’t even know if I want to have kids, I feel as though I should handle these naturally and take them as they come. I took Midol through Jr. High and High School to alleviate the pain. Then in college I began taking birth control pills, which completely eliminated the pain. Now, in an effort to take no pills (other than supplements) I no longer take anything. I did not know what to expect when getting off the birth control pills I had taken for a decade. I didn’t know how or if it would affect my mood, my weight, my skin, and my cycle. I vowed to remain very positive, expect the best, and only use natural remedies, and that has worked well.
So what I’ve found is that some of your mom’s old school remedies are still truly the best. IE I bought a hot water bottle and it is my life saving new best friend. (A heating pad will work too). After 10-20 minutes with it, I finally get some relief. During that time I focus on breathing, relaxing, positive thoughts, smiling, and generally meditating through the pain. (Remember your stress level matters!) So next, I take a nap. I understand that not everyone has the ability to take off work for a day or two of their periods every month, but we really should slow down! (Other than the fact that most people would rather not deal with pain), this is exactly why people are taking pills in the first place–because nothing can stand in the way of getting to work and continuing to live our fast paced lives. That’s the same reason people run to the doctor for antibiotics when they feel sickly–no time to rest and actually take care of yourself and let your body fight the sickness! So, begin to brainstorm some way that you can begin to be gentle with yourself, caring for your body and letting it rest when it needs it, not just when it is convenient for you. That may mean taking off work, or resting as soon as you get home, or asking for help with the kids, or putting off a task for a few extra days while you heal.
Which leads me to another quick tangent, which is…I am all about feminism, equal rights, equal pay, equal parenting etc, but still the fact is that we are different from men. For 40 some odd years of all of our lives, we deal with a highly annoying and sometime very painful menstruation every single month! Face it! We are different! Let’s embrace our differences instead of ignoring them, listen to our bodies, pay attention to our mental and emotional states, and then do something! Also, I believe it’s time for the pendulum to swing back towards the middle ground from the 1950’s when girls were told not to ride their bikes or do any activity while having their periods to now when we think “My period’s not going to slow me down!” (That is what every feminine product advertisement tells us we should do, right?)
[end of tangent. back to suggestions.]
Hot Water Bottle.
Nap. (Preferably as long as needed)
Practice some gentle yoga poses designed to open the pelvis, low back and hips. (With bolsters and blankets, try extended versions of child’s pose, puppy pose, frog, reclining hero, pigeon etc). Feel free to move around and do more practice if that feels good to you.
Take a few Bromelain tablets throughout the day. This is an extract derived from the stems of pineapples that has anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing properties.
Make this Juice or blend in high powered blender like Vitamix: 1 apple, 2 celery stalks, 1/4 – 1/2 or so of a fresh fennel bulb, 1 inch of peeled fresh ginger, (optional carrot and flax seeds)
Naturopathic physician Michael Murray, N.D., in The Complete Book of Juicing, says “both celery and fennel are rich in phytoestrogens, which mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen and may reduce menstrual discomfort.” He recommends two eight-ounce glasses of this juice every day as well as the Bromelain or drinking pineapple juice. (www.rawfoodtalk.com)
Although this was a personal one to write, I feel we all in this together and the more we speak up, the more we can learn and help each other out.
So take this advice from the wrappers of Playtex Sports Tampons, which are “ready for even the toughest challenges,” and “stop stressing…start focusing” because “I’m on your team.”
Thanks motivational tampons.