Are you a woman who experiences cramps, bloating, heavy bleeding, and other problems during your menstruation? If you’ve used ibuprofen, heating pads, or taken warm baths but experienced very few results, you’ll be happy to learn that there is another solution to menstruation issues. It’s essential to listen to your body. One of our main messages here at Hormone Healing is the symptoms are messages from your body. And by listening to what they are saying, you can begin to heal the root causes, rather than mask your symptoms.
Inflammation Can Be a Cause of Pain
Some types of period discomfort can be caused by inflammation being triggered in the body. This can result in symptoms like lower abdominal pain, “period poops,” and leg pain. This can be exacerbated by the foods we eat. Vegetable oil, seeds and nuts for instance eaten in excess can make these symptoms worse. Deficiencies in anti-inflammatory minerals, such as magnesium and copper can also cause this type of period pain to occur.
Another step women can take is to make sure they are taking care of their gut health. Controlling stress, taking time to relax before and during a meal can help support digestion, which promotes a healthy gut. Foods and supplements with glycine, such as bone broth, collagen and gelatin, can also be beneficial in lining the gut with a smooth coating that curbs inflammation.
PMS Symptoms Can Be Controlled
There’s another type of period discomfort that can occur many days before menstruation begins. Women can experience one or both types of period pain but this type is somewhat different from the previous. It may cause insomnia, irritability, hunger and mood swings. These types of symptoms can be attributed to too low progesterone. Eating every three to four hours can help with these types of conditions by keeping the thyroid from becoming sluggish. This can also help to keep blood sugar stable and support the uptake of progesterone into cells. Also, maintaining healthy levels of magnesium, selenium, zinc and copper is very important for eliminating these premenstrual symptoms.
How Minerals Can Help Menstrual Periods
Menstruation isn’t the easiest time of the month. You may suffer from cramps and bloating during menstruation, but you might also experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) prior to your period as well. PMS can cause anxiety and other emotional issues prior to menstruation. Many women may use supplements found in their nearest grocery or health food store. But improving your mineral intake may be all that’s necessary to combat the symptoms you face before and during your period. Here are some minerals that can help you get through your periods with much more ease.
Do you often experience cramps before or during your period? This throbbing in the lower abdomen comes from uterine contractions. These incessant pains can be pretty intense when they hit, leaving you reaching for pain relievers to dull the pain. This pain results from a high level of prostaglandins from the shedding of the lining in the uterus. Magnesium can help relax the pain caused by these muscle contractions more naturally than pain killers and is a much more long-term solution to cramps. There are some magnesium-rich foods including spinach, almonds, dark chocolate, black beans, and pumpkin seeds. However, magnesium is often difficult for the body to absorb through the digestive system. Instead, topical applications can be more effective. Try a magnesium-based lotion or soak in an epsom salt bath weekly to ensure the right amounts of magnesium.
Calcium is another mineral that can drastically help women who suffer from problems with bloating, water retention, fatigue, and depression during their menstruation. Your body doesn’t naturally make calcium, so you must get it from other sources. Otherwise, the bloodstream will start to take calcium from your bones to keep blood levels regular, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. This also slows down your metabolism, which can initially be a cause of period problems. Metabolism (energy production and use) slows so hormone production, digestion, detox, etc. all slow down. You can increase your calcium intake with cheese, yogurt, canned sardines, almonds, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
Copper supports a healthy metabolism and energy production. But it also helps our bodies to use iron, preventing it from being stored in the body. More and more research is showing a connection between stored iron and estrogen levels. Too much estradiol, a potent type of estrogen, can cause decreases in hepcidin. This can lead to an increase in iron absorption from the foods that we consume and subsequently, too much iron being stored with the body’s tissues. This can then exacerbate estrogen dominance and make us believe we need to further supplement with more iron. The body has an iron recycling system and understanding how that works and how copper can play a role in supporting it can be beneficial.
The saying may go “cold hands, warm heart,” but we should add to that “cold hands or feet, you may have an iron deficiency.” One study showed that cold sensitivity caused by anemia was often accompanied by inadequate thyroid responses. Dr. Broda Barnes’s discovery showed that measuring body temperature can be an accurate way to measure thyroid function. It’s both a practical and inexpensive way that you can monitor your hormone health. For more info on measuring BBT and other ways to track your hormone health, check out my Helpful Data Tracking blog.
Sodium can help support the adrenal system for a healthy stress response, making us more resilient to stress. Sodium is also a key component of stomach acid. This is important because a poor stress response often involves the production of stomach acid. Too much stomach acid can lead to more gut issues and inflammation, which in turn can result in more estrogen and more symptomatic periods.
Gut stress can also deplete the body’s supply of progesterone. Healthy cycles rely on a balance of estrogen and progesterone. For more on period pain and how it can be tied to gut issues, this period pain podcast is a good resource. Good sources of sodium include sea salt, mineral water and seaweed.
Magnesium plays many important roles in the body. From helping the body to process sugar and producing energy for our cells, to helping muscles to relax and converting vitamin D to a usable form. Magnesium also supports healthy thyroid function and can help prevent some of the physical symptoms of PMS. Magnesium should be paired with calcium, because they have an interconnected relationship in the body. Beans, avocado, dairy foods and cacao all are good sources of this mineral.
If you suffer from the many issues associated with menstruation, it may be a good idea to check the mineral levels in your body. Before you begin increasing your mineral intake, finding out where your levels are will help you know which minerals you need in your diet. Remember, too much of a mineral can cause sickness. Additionally, if you suffer from health problems or other medical conditions, consult your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.