THE WELL-ROUNDED APPROACH
At MotherBees, we advocate experiencing every period as a monthly moment to pause and fully recover. Menstruation is a time for insulating oneself, warming our feet, bellies, and hearts. According to Chinese medicine, this means avoiding cold drinks, cold food, and cold air, like a mini-postpartum recovery. Instead, we invite you to focus on warmth, balance, and nourishment at this time each month and tend to your body in well-rounded and loving ways.
Women may experience pain, bloating, and nausea if their qi (vital energy) is blocked or obstructed or experience coldness or cramping, but Traditional Chinese Medicine can help stimulate and regulate qi flow to ease these symptoms. Eating and drinking warm, cooked foods can help balance your yin and yang (your warmth and cold) to manage symptoms and comfort around your period as well.
The female reproductive system goes beyond our pelvic region. Communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the ovaries is vital in managing and releasing hormones secreted that regulate our periods. In TCM, the liver, lung, heart, spleen, and kidney are the major Yin organ systems that affect a woman's menstrual cycle.
Acupuncture supports period health in many ways. For instance, there are two needle points on the right hand: one to start bleeding, the other to stop it. It’s fascinating! Chinese doctors can also place needles down the inside of the leg to hit all the relevant points for hormones, liver, spleen, and kidney. It’s like a puzzle with very organized needles.
Foods that nourish your liver, heart, lung, spleen, and kidney are warm, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and collard greens. But don’t forget to nourish your microbiome, too, by including fermented, probiotic-rich foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. Your gut and your period will thank you!
"Unusual bleeding might result from an organic process of fluctuating hormones caused by perimenopausal symptoms. As you become premenopausal, the ovaries slow their "egg popping" activity, and as a result, the monthly ovarian progesterone production diminishes and the estrogen begins to dominate. The excessive estrogen unopposed by progesterone allows rapid cell division resulting in all kinds of female pathology such as fibroids or cysts, or cancers. Re-balancing by replacing the lowered progesterone offers the most viable solution. Avoiding estrogenic foods and polyunsaturated oils can help." - Karen Paul, Naturopath
A trip to your OB is beneficial if your period exceeds 7-9 days, if the bleeding doesn’t stop, gets heavier as you stand, or you encounter experiences you haven’t had before. And, if you go through a heavy pad every two hours, you should call your health provider asap. Your OB may order a pelvic or vaginal ultrasound depending on how your uterus is oriented or an MRI to check for abnormalities. Obviously, if any health concerns are life-threatening, call your doctor, visit urgent care or go to your closest emergency room. Once you better understand what may be happening medically, you can choose the best treatment(s) for you.
You may not be able to slow life down once a month, but you can certainly slow yourself down, tend to your body’s needs, and insulate for a couple of days. In doing so, you may be pleasantly surprised by how your experience changes once you adjust your lifestyle to best support your menstrual cycles.
6 Tips to Insulate your Body During Menstruation
- Keep your belly warm Wear warm clothing and use a hot water bottle to prevent cold from invading your stomach and spleen.
- Keep your feet warm Wear socks or slippers rather than going barefoot at home. The foot contains several points, called “meridians,” which connect to different organs in your body. Wearing cozy socks or slippers promotes circulation and prevents yin energy from entering your body through your feet.
- Make a warm foot bath Bring water to a boil, add fresh ginger and cinnamon powder, and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a large bowl and give your feet a comforting soak before bed.
- Insulate your spirit from negative thoughts, words, and environments as your body and being are more sensitive during your cycle.
- Slow your schedule down to sloth-style movements. Truly, it’s okay to do this! You will pick your speed back up in no time. Reframe your perspective: this isn’t about being lazy; it’s taking care of yourself so that you can rejuvenate.
- Warm foods. Anything warm and cozy will do. Keep it simple. Avoid all cold, not even a salad or iced drinks during this time.
HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES for uterine fibroid(s) or excessive bleeding:
- Thlaspi Bursa Pastoris (Shepherd’s Purse) 30c – Treats uterine fibroid(s) with prolonged menses
- Sepia 30c - Supports mood stability
- Cinchona Officinalis (Quinine) 30c – Helps with profuse, dark menstrual bleeding, large clots in menstrual blood, exhaustion, and anemia
- Calcarea Iodata 30c - Supports women with uterine fibroids
- Fraxinus Americana (White ash) – Helpful when bleeding from a fibroid(s) with bearing down pelvic sensation
Dietary supplements to support period health:
Iron supplements support the formation of red blood cells.
Iron Bisglycinate, in particular, has optimal absorption in the intestinal tract. Untreated or chronically low levels of iron can lead to iron-deficient anemia. Be sure to get enough fiber with this, as iron supplements can be constipating.
Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
MONTHLY CYCLE SELF-CARE CHECKLIST
What is it that I need right now?
How can I change my environment to support myself through this time?
What does my period need from me right now?
Do I feel safe to bleed freely?
Do I have enough blood management supplies in stock (cups, pads, tampons, absorbent undies)?
Do I have warm liquids, warm foods, and a soft landing pad to lay low on for 1-2 days?
Does my workplace honor a day off or half a day to adjust to period pain?
Does my school honor a day off for bad period pain?
What alternative or homeopathic solutions can I lean on for support?