Before I start, I want to point out an enlightening piece of information I tend to repeat as often as I can, on how our hormone levels and balance directly affect how we feel.
We feel great before puberty; the time in life when we have no sex hormones. During puberty estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels are close to nil.
We feel great when our period “finally” starts.
Guess what, our hormone levels are also close to nil at that time. It is the drop in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that cause the period to start and us to feel human again.
One more time to keep in mind; most of us feel great when we are pregnant. That is when our hormone levels skyrocket. How often do you hear “ you are glowing” and how often do you find yourself running around nesting, cleaning, shopping, enjoying sex and just about everything the way you do during pregnancy?
There you have it. We feel the best when we either have zero sex hormones, or are full of sex of hormones. A clear example of how extremes can be good for you!
Keep this in mind to say when the next time some uninformed person comes around and tells you hormones are bad for you.
Meanwhile, let’s now talk about menstrual cramps.
What causes them and why aren’t we all lucky not to have them?
For the answer to this question, turn to your mother. Her genetics determine whether you will be suffering with menstrual cramps or just sailing through barely noticing you are having a period. If your mom has or had bad periods, PMS, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, depression and other horrors that go hand in hand with menstrual cramps, you are more likely to have them too.
Now, don’t get mad at poor mom, she didn’t do it on purpose and I am sure for each negative you got from her you got lots of positives to make up for it., But, suffice it to say, most of the time it’s genetics and your mother’s genetics are yours as well., Mechanically, the cramps are caused by the contractions of the uterus trying to get rid of its lining to provide you with a clean uterine lining for the next month, in preparation for a potential pregnancy.
The uterine contractions, which on a small scale mimic the contractions of childbirth
(a very small scale), vary in strength an duration among women at for the same woman, at different times during her life., Some sail through and never even know they are having a period, while others (me included) become so terribly incapacitated by the cramps, they consider suicide or at least one day off from work or school the first or second day of the period.
Is there anything we can do to make this unbearable part of the month more bearable?
Yes and no.
Thought you’d love that answer. But it is the truth. Yes, I will give you a few tricks I learned over the 35 years I had a period and treated a few tens of thousand of women with bad cramps and no, sometime you just have to accept the bad cramps as one of those unpleasant realities of life.
In the latter case, you will have bad periods until you have children and until you go into menopause, which by the way happens to everyone if we live long enough to get there., Here are the tricks. The more of them you do, the more likely they are to make menstrual cramps a thing of the past:
The week before you get your period stop drinking alcohol, coffee and soda with or without sugar substitutes.
Increase the amount of water and green tea to three times usual. ( average 6-10 glasses altogether)
Get more sleep than usual. If you get 6 hours, increase to 8 if you go out twice a week, go our only once.
Skip going out the last few days. You will be safer and not do anything you might regret or get terrible cramps anyway.
Take vitamin B complex, folate, coq10 and L-carnitine, calcium citrate maleate, magnesium, zinc, boron and B6.
Take 7- keto 20 mg every morning for the week before your period and into the first 3 days of your period.
Take progesterone 200 mg every evening for two weeks before your period.
Take yoga classes the week before.
Meditate before you go to bed every evening the week before.
Breathe with awareness three times every evening before going to bed.
Stretch every morning for 10 minutes the week before your period.
Do 50 sit ups with the stretches every morning the week before and while you have your period.
If you bleed a lot during the period, take Floradix with iron 1 tbsp every morning all month or at least the week before.