Dealing with painful or irregular cycles can be both mentally and physically exhausting. You are frustrated and just want an answer and a solution. Unfortunately, one of the most common solutions offered is birth control.
Birth control is used to stop your cycle and ovulation; therefore, helping to ease the symptoms associated with it monthly. The problem with this is that birth control is a temporary band-aid used to cover the root causes of the symptoms.
Women are meant to ovulate every month, for several reasons outside of reproduction. It helps to maintain proper ebb and flow of hormones, helps balance mood and energy levels, helps prevent cardiac disease and maintains bone health, reduces inflammation, regulates immune function, and supports thyroid, brain, bones, and breast tissue. The benefits of ovarian hormones are both short-term by making women stronger, and long-term by building metabolic reserve and health.
Root causes of irregular, painful cycles tend to be, but are not limited to:
- hormonal imbalances, typically high estrogen and low progesterone
- gut-health is compromised
- sleep-hygiene and quality is down
- chronic stress
- overly caffeinated
- too much or too little exercise
- chronic dieting
If symptoms are severe and disrupt daily life, taking birth control to help manage the symptoms short-term while working on root causes can be an option … As long as you are working to discover why the symptoms are occurring.
Common symptoms of hormonal imbalances:
-Too High: anxious, heavy or irregular cycles, breast tenderness, moodiness, headaches, cysts, fibroids, heavy cycles
-Too Low: night sweats, insomnia, depression, vaginal dryness, incontinence
-Too Low: anxiety, heavy or irregular periods, mid-cycle spotting, infertility
-Too High: moody, breast tenderness, lethargic
Below are strategies that can help reduce symptoms and start to regulate cycles:
-follow a Mediterranean Diet
-get hydrated, drink 100-120oz of water daily
-walk 30-60 minutes daily
-get good, quality sleep, 7-8 hours daily
-limit processed sugars, flours, and oils
-limit caffeine to 200mg a day or less, and do not drink coffee on an empty stomach
-limit alcohol or remove all together
-get green veggies at 2 meals a day
-eat 30 grams of protein at each meal (preferably lean, grass-fed cattle, pasture raised poultry, wild-caught fish or organic, non-processed vegan options)
Hormone fixes are not quick. It takes time and patience to see results. Give yourself some grace during this period of healing and look for the small wins along the way. After a couple of weeks your energy will rise, your mood will elevate, sleep will improve, your skin will look better and these positive changes will help to reinforce that you are on the right path of healing.
Cynthia Williams Fitness LLC