I just returned from my annual visit to Lima, Peru, and although every trip fills my heart with love from family, this year I've returned sad, broken hearted and filled with ever more purpose.
I visited grandma who has Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve avoided it for a while and I now understood why. I wasn’t prepared to see a woman who I only remember as a sassy, spunky independent pistol, who use to get on the Metro line and disappear for hours in Downtown LA, one who use to rock out in the park with her tai chi girlfriends, and one who use to hike faster than me, reduced to having the verbal and cognitive skills of a nine year old. It was devastating, watching her happiness in seeing me, only to be followed by confusion as to who I was.
I kid about my memory slips, and my 'moments' when I scramble, looking for my keys, only to find that i'm holding them, but imagine being stuck in that situation every minute of your remaining life!
Hitting that extra strength Costco sized bottle of Advil sure may seem like a magic rescue when your period starts, especially at work, I get it, you have to get through the day.
But….What have these pills really done to help you relieve next month’s cramps, your heavy period, your fibroids, cysts or endometriosis?
Women with on going pelvic pain, painful, heavy periods produce high levels of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormones that cause pain, inflammation and blood clots at sites of injury, so that the body can spark the chemical reactions needed to heal itself. Yes, it’s really their job to cause those cramps and clots!
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, (Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin, etc.) work to relieve pain by decreasing prostaglandin levels.
BUT, because they are synthetic, long term use can lead to serious side effects like liver and kidney failure and intestinal damage (aka leaky gut).
Also, they don’t address why you have so much pain every month, or why your fibroids continue to grow.
Healing Before Synthetics
Did you know that Aspirin and other common pain relievers have their origins in herbal medicine?
Heavy periods are not only painful and debilitating, but they certainly can be unpredictable too.
I remember my first day of acupuncture school. I was so excited, and attempting to be eco-friendly, I tried walking to campus.
But, if you know anything about LA blocks, they’re miles long. So, running late, I hopped on a bus and was on my way.
It was day three of my period, and they were usually heavy, but it was day three so I thought I was all good.
the moment I stood up to get off at my stop, I felt the that gushing spill. I was so embarrassed, it went right through my pants.
I turned red and I was visibly panicked because a sweet women stood up and gave me her sweater to wrap around my waist. While the driver was annoyingly telling me to make up my mind either to stay or get off, I was asking her for her address so I could mail it back to her.
You’ve been on a roll.
Monday through Friday pilates class. You splurge on the weekend and take booty barre, intensive cardio, or a good old fashioned nature hike. You’re amped, seeing some tone and definition.
Thrilled with your accomplishment you treat yourself to those skinny jeans that frame your legs and backside. Flush with anticipation to strut your stuff, you suddenly realize that the button is a little stretched and there’s a flap of flub bulging over your pants!
How could this be?
You’ve been devoutly crunching those abs weekly. You’ve even noticed your clothes fit a size smaller. You’ve put in your time, and you actually like your routine now! How is that protruding focal point still rearing its ugly head, crushing your dreams of those infamous Janet Jackson abs?
Here’s the skinny on Belly FAT
Have you ever wondered why some weeks are mentally and emotionally more stimulating and others are just flat out exhausting and unproductive?
One day you hold your head up high, confident, with a list of accomplishments and progress, you look and feel great, are outgoing and have incredible bouts of energy.
Doesn’t that sound nice?
But then, poof, you get knocked off your pedestal, feel moody, isolated, even feel bloated with a pimple or two. And those accomplishments and ambition, well you just want to flush it all down the toilet….
Or, Am I the only One?
Well, the truth we will always be in this state of flux because our feminine brains are hardwired cyclically. Our hormones are programed to surge then drop like the tides and the moon, and that means our behavior follows.
Yes! It Does…..
Now, before you throw your hands up in the air and give up, there’s a science behind the madness based on your feminine biology, and when you understand the flow, you can use the following tips to your advantage, instead of beating yourself up when you feel like you’re wrestling against the current.
Get Connected To The Feminine Realm of Time
Before iphone calendars, our menstrual lives were celebrated along the lunar cycles. But now we are so distracted, we are often bothered by the inconvenience of our periods. Regardless, our bodies are still in sync even if you are not.
Women living in in closer proximity to each other find themselves having synchronized cycles. This occurs through pheromone signaling, a subconscious chemical communication that activates the part of the brain that controls hormones related to our moods, behavior, menstruation and fertility.
Hormones, subconscious and neural patterns act as texts messages between your brain and body. You can easily track your hormonal peaks and dips and anticipate your behavioral and energy patterns.
Track Your Hormones
The following suggestions are for women with regular cycles between 28-30 days.
Day 1 (first day of period) - Day 6
Menstruation “Rest & Restoration Phase”
The first 3 days of menstruation are normally a time of low physical, mental and emotional energy. In an ideal world, you would rest, meditate and escape from the outer worlds expectations and demands.
Depriving your body of rest during this time, without proper replenishment may result in painful periods, clots, back pain, cramps, headaches, achy joints, and exacerbated symptoms of an illness.
Over time, these ‘inconveniences’ can lead to full blown conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, adrenal exhaustion and infertility.
If you can’t tune out for a couple days, then prioritize your most important tasks.
Go deep and introspective, ask yourself what about your life is working, what’s off and commit to changing it when your energy picks up again.
Push your expectations and goal setting for the following week.
You may naturally tend to eat less because your digestive system needs rest from being bombarded by the hormonal change.
Choose simpler foods that are rich in iron, calcium and magnesium, vitamins and omega 3’s.
And Yes, Dark Chocolate.......
This is a perfect time for an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture resets the hormonal system, eliminates pain, headaches, muscle tension and stress.
Easy on the caffeine or else you will burn out your adrenals and experience less energy in the following phases.
Pre ovulation phase around Day 7 - 14
After menstruation, your body is in the process of preparing to give birth to something (again and again). Estrogen levels are approaching their peak giving you abundant physical and sexual energy.
It’s a great time to move your body, exercise, and try new dance or group classes.
This is the time for power yoga, booty barre, boot camp, dancing and sweating. You will find you have the stamina to exercise for longer and increased repetitions.
Our emotions and behavior are directed towards the outer world. High levels of estrogen enhance mood, neuron growth and cognition.
In fact, studies show that the left hemisphere of your brain, associated with verbal fluency, is more active during this time. You are most likely to be outgoing, positive and enthusiastic about new ideas.
It is a very good time to initiate projects.
Notice what foods you want during this period. Eat often when you feel hungry, but slowly.
Eat foods rich in zinc, vitamins & minerals, phytoestrogens, folate, omega 3’s, selenium, essential fatty acids and amino acids.
The ovulation phase around Days (15-21)
Estrogen levels are at their peak and progesterone will soon take over anticipating egg fertilization. This is your most fertile time giving you increased physical and sexual energy to attract a baby partner.
Keep active physically and socially. You feel sexy and hot because it’s the best time to get pregnant. Go out on dates during this time.
Sex is great exercise.
The premenstrual phase around Day 22-bleeding
Progesterone levels increase during this phase to protect against the undesirable effects of estrogen. Progesterone is a ‘feel good’ hormone with many benefits when in balance, such as balancing blood sugar, supporting bone health and as a natural antidepressant.
Premenstrual problems such as breast tenderness, mood swings, exhaustion, depression, sugar and salt cravings stem from imbalanced progesterone levels during this phase.
Many women can experience higher levels of frustration and stress. Find an appropriate outlet of release during this phase.
Your overall physical energy and stamina decrease, often making ‘productive’ activities a real effort.
Avoid boot camp, cross fit, intense cardio or classes that require more energy than you may have to give. Pushing your body will release high cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and exhaust your adrenal glands.
Try restorative yoga, pilates, belly dancing or low key walks in the park.
During this phase, we naturally enter a time of reflection. This phase activates the right hemisphere of our brains that is connected to the unconscious and intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Painful and uncomfortable issues that arise during this time should be addressed so that you can physically shed it during menstruation.
Be mindful if you feel more withdrawn, antisocial and reluctant.
Everything might feel like a mess and your desire to fix problems may increase.
Use this time to organize and do a full cleaning of your desk, closet, office or home.
Our bodies will naturally ‘crave’ the nutrients and calories we need, however, buried negative emotions and thoughts can easily come to the surface and we often try to bury them in ‘happy foods’, foods that give us a chemical ‘high’.
Increase your good fats to stabilize blood sugar
Invest in an acupuncture treatment to help balance hormones, increase circulation and decrease stress hormones and muscle tension.
This phase is also ‘me’ time, so give yourself permission to slow down and find new ways to nurture yourself.
Your True Test Begins
Track your cycles for a month and see how you can relate to these phases. If you have ‘irregular’ periods, find a holistic practitioner to help get you on track.
Connecting to your cycle, rather than being inconvenienced by it, heightens your feminine power so that you can learn from what your mind, body and spirit really needs.
Now you have it, a 30 day challenge, try it and get back to me…...
Feel free to share this with your tribe on Facebook and say hello, comment or ask a question.
And, if you're ready to get started on healing your body, boosting your physical and mental stamina, schedule a FREE 30 Minute heal your womb discovery session with me to discuss how easy it can really be to achieve.
You have fibroids....
Uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts and endometriosis all fall under the conventional medical umbrella of Fibrocystic Diseases. First, let’s change our mindset and reclassify them as symptoms of a larger imbalance, not a disease.
The rates of women diagnosed with one or more of these imbalances are staggering. With regards to fibroids, the U.S. department of health claims that fibroids are now an important public health concern, and by age 50, 70% of white women & 80% of African American women will have developed fibroids. According to those statistics, almost all of us, will develop some form of fibrocystic imbalance!
Yet, despite all the ‘research’ and money spent trying to find treatments, not the causes, the rates keep climbing. Even more unfortunate is the fact that conventional treatments have not advanced from what was advised decades ago, most notably surgery and birth control.
More than 200,000 hysterectomies are performed annually for complaints from heavy, periods and debilitating, searing pain associated with fibroids, cysts and endometriosis.
Most are medically UNECESSARY.
Conventional medicine seems to subscribe to the idea that women are just destined to suffer throughout their reproductive lives. And lack of advancements in options for women have left us with stalled, inefficient treatments such as:
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Many women with uterine fibroids experience no signs or symptoms, or only "mildly annoying signs and symptoms that they can live with”.
If you’re rolling your eyes right now, you have to understand the framework of conventional medicine.
From their perspective, fibroids are noncancerous, so there’s really nothing to do but leave them alone until menopause, when they magically shrink, or when surgical intervention becomes appropriate due to the size of growths that finally interferes with your quality of life.
Prescription medication slaps a band-aid on symptoms such as heavy bleeding or irregular periods, pelvic and menstrual pain. It doesn’t address the underlying causes of fibroid or cyst formation.
The first approach is often birth control pills or progestins (IUD contraception) to help control menstrual bleeding. Gonadotrophin-releasing hormones (Gn-Rh agonists) such as Lupron and Synarel, block the production of estrogen and progesterone to immediately stop bleeding by putting you in a post menopausal state.
Can you scream hot flashes at 30!
This approach is so controversial that this method can only be used for no more than 3-6 months because it can cause bone loss and other menopausal symptoms. Oh, and by the way, this doesn’t impact the growth of your fibroids.
Where conventional science continues to focus on is in technologically based surgical advancements for fibroids, cysts and endometriosis, not on preventing the causes. Although, they excel in minimally invasive forms of intervention, such as MRI guided focused ultrasound, uterine artery embolization, myolysis, ablation and robotic myomectomy that sound straight out of Star Trek, there are risks, recurrences (yes, fibroids will return with an extra layer of scar tissue to add), and doesn’t ‘get rid’ of the ultimate underlying causes.
Given these options, it’s no surprise fibrocystic imbalances are a growing epidemic.
Realistically, you’re decades away from menopause, so waiting is completely unrealistic, and you’re probably at the peak of your reproductive years, so you might want to keep your uterus as intake as possible! And even if you're not reserving that space for babies, it's your power organ, you probably want to hold on to it!
So what’s a girl to do?
Start With A Natural Approach
There are MANY underlying factors that may ultimately manifest into one or more of these forms of fibrocystic imbalances. In this post, I want to focus on the main factor, heavily researched, cause and ways you can prevent it from throwing off your system.
Estrogen dominance (too much estrogen) is relative to it’s sister hormone progesterone. One main problem with estrogen is that it’s a really popular. Fibroids have higher concentrations of the aggressive estrogen, estradial (e2), which binds to more estrogen via receptor sites, These sites are like magnetics, pulling in even more estrogen to bind to it. And they don’t discriminate, they will bind to synthetic estrogens called Xenoestrogens, that we get from our food, water and environment.
Although it’s been vilified, we need estrogen. But, clearly not so much! When in balance estrogen makes you feel social and outgoing, at peak times of the month it helps you feel more attractive in an effort to get a mate and have babies, it also gives us our curves and cleavage.
But like an out of control teenager, estrogen needs to be kept in check or it dominates the sex hormone landscape, especially when it comes to progesterone.
Unfortunately, diets high in processed foods, low in vegetables, dehydration, high levels of stress that plays a role in keeping progesterone levels low, and an overwhelming amount of environmental chemicals all work together to compromise our bodies.
Your goal is to set up your hormonal ecosystem in a way that clears excess estrogen from your body daily.
3 Tips To Clear Estrogen Dominance
#1 Improve Detox Pathways
Flush out excess estrogens by eating abundant daily amounts of leafy greens and cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips.
I know, let’s get real, when was the last time you had a turnip! But, cruciferous vegetables are important for your liver because they contain the compound DIM Diindolylmethane.
DIM is the primary metabolite of Indole3 Carbinol (I3C) and has been heavily researched and to promote healthy estrogen metabolism. But, most supplement forms are made from raw cruciferous vegetables, and that can slow down thyroid function.
However, it’s no secret that Maca (lepidium peruvianum chacon) helps balance hormones. It partially does this because it contains DIM. DIM promotes healthy estrogen metabolism while maintaining balanced levels of progesterone and testosterone. But you must make sure Maca supplements are pre-cooked, not raw.
A yummy way to consume Maca is to roast it in the morning and drink it as a morning coffee substitute. Try it with some almond or hemp milk and enjoy a stable amount of energy too.
To strengthen detoxification an all fronts, you have to strengthen your digestion. Prioritize fresh, organic fruits and veggies, grass fed and finished beef and poultry.
Take a full spectrum digestive enzyme supplement before meals to help aid digestion. If you have frequent bloating, get tested for food sensitivities that may be causing intestinal inflammation.
Add fermented foods that contain good bacteria and fiber such as coconut yogurt and non dairy kefir, kombucha, pickles, pickled beets and sauerkraut.
Make sure to take a probiotic containing a minimum of 50 billion CFU’s of good bacteria.
#3 Watch What You Drink
Pisco sours, margaritas, strawberry lemonade vodkas, I can go on and on, but unfortunately alcohol is all liquid sugar that sets you up for blood sugar problems, while simultaneously increasing estrogen levels.
For optimal estrogen metabolism it is recommended that you eliminate alcohol.
Sorry, to be such a buzz kill!
But, there’s a middle path.
Think Long Term
A natural approach in dealing with estrogen dominance is the foundation for the reversal and prevention of fibrocystic imbalances such as fibroids, cysts, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts.
Remember, the National Institute of Health, states that fibroids can shrink without intervention, and cysts generally ‘resolve’ on their own. By having basic information on how your body works, especially estrogen, you are one step closer to making the changes your body needs to transform your life from the root up.
Feel free to share on Facebook with your tribe. Say hello, comment or ask a question. If you're ready to take a shortcut and shrink your fibroids, dissolve your cysts and have a normal functioning life free from period pain, the schedule your FREE 30 minute Womb Analysis with me to discuss how easy it really can be!