A lot of women suffer needlessly. Up to 90% of women report painful periods. That’s a lot of us women, the vast majority of us even.
Month in, month out. Take more Tylenol, strap on the hot pack and wait it out, curled up in bed on a Netflix binge. Really? I wouldn’t want to be down for the count on a PMS anti-vacation every month, and neither should you.
And painful cramps isn’t all I’m talking about. I’m also talking about periods so heavy you don’t want to leave the house, periods that seem to come to soon, or not frequent enough. The first step in achieving regular, easy-breezy periods is doing a little of what I call hormone wrangling. It’s true. Those hormones are unruly, and need some gentle-yet-stern guidance.
I often order hormone testing, which comes in salivary (spitting in tubes) and blood draw options. I want to take a peek behind the curtain and actually see what levels are roller-coastering up and down each month. We want to know where we’re at, in order to best determine the course out of ‘PMS Town.’
Then I make a plan, individualized for each woman, in order to best support her health (hormones and all) while immediately helping to correct the concerning patterns. This often involves specific recommendations that change through the month, seeking to guide up or down those hormone imbalances we’ve identified so that a woman’s correct hormone cycling pattern can become normalized.
A best first step is to start tracking your periods, noting the timing, heaviness, and any symptoms that happen before, during or after your period. I’ve seen countless different patterns- so even something we may all think happens the same for us all, such as cramps or PMS is highly individual to each woman.
Please let me know if I can help you in your journey to understanding your unique concerns regarding menstrual difficulties, irregularities or any other hormonal imbalance questions you have about your health. And just remember, no matter how ‘normal’ PMS, cramps or other menstrual problems may be, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer!
Dr Angela Cortal is a naturopathic physician.