Menstrual Phase: Period Cramps & Hormonal Headaches
Before cycle syncing, my period was something I dreaded, like many women feel.
Not only would I feel terrible leading up to it, but the first three days left me feeling depleted, frustrated, and keeling over in pain.
I use to get really bad menstrual cramps - we're talking labor-like contractions that would leave me in a fetal position, and why my doctor put me on the pill at 17.
Since coming off the pill six years ago, these intense cramps have happened about four times. I still remember the time it happened when Tyler and I first started dating. I was so embarrassed! It took about 30 minutes of me crying in pain for the Tylenol to take to kick in.
We at least learned what labor might be like, and this experience strengthened us as a couple!
Something that really helped me was recognizing where inflammation was coming from in my body, which is where many of us differ.
Many food sources were unknowingly causing my body to be inflamed, despite my efforts to eat really well. This left my stomach inflamed and the perfect breeding ground for cramps. Inflammation is one of the causes to menstrual cramps.
I had a hard time wrapping my brain around this, especially when I worked hard to clean up my diet. Still, even years after eating as clean as possible, I was still struggling.
So, yes, even after I cut gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, starches like sweet potato and beans, I was still struggling. I saw much improvement for sure, but I knew it could be even better! To find success, I had to take it even further and start eating seeds on a moderate basis like chia, hemp, and flax. It's a once or twice a week thing for me, not an every day habit.
For me, these seeds were causing too much inflammation and irritation to my stomach lining. This is a principle inside the paleo diet, which I follow 90% of the time.
I also started taking borage oil, which can help lower prostaglandins, or more specifically P2, the hormone related to feeling pain with menstrual cramps. It's been a few months now and I definitely have felt a difference! In addition to this, I make sure to start taking Tylenol the day before my period starts.
To stop cramps before they happen, you have to lessen inflammation before it starts.
Honestly, I don't like taking Tylenol, because it can cause irritation to the stomach lining, but my menstrual week is the only time of month I use it. It's one of the only things that keeps those painful cramps at bay.
To avoid hormonal headaches, which I sometimes experience, I took an Epsom salt bath, the moment I felt a tinge of a headache. Then, I worked lying down for the rest of the day. It just felt like I needed to stay in a rested position.
Over the weekend I focused on light cardio by going on a hike outside (also boosted my mood with the vitamin D!), and took a nap when I felt my body needed to sleep (which I usually resist - not sure why!)
If you found this blog post helpful and want to create your own period plan, members learn how to do this in the Balanced Bombshells Lifestyle Plan! You'll receive educational resources to help you pinpoint your root cause - so you can fix it 😊