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Learning to love Aunt Flo - beat the menstrual blues naturally

Call it 'Aunt Flo', 'moon time', 'girl flu', 'red badge of honour', 'crimson tide' or what you will, if your suffering during your menstrual cycle, it's time to take charge.

Anyone can benefit from learning about their cycle but especially those with a chronic condition like POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) or hypermobility like EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) who can plan ahead for when they know they may not feel on top form.

Whether you feel worse before, during or after your period there are things you can do to help yourself. Here's a chart of how your female hormones flow throughout the month. Take a look at where your bad days are in the cycle and see what the hormones are doing. Is your Progesterone up, or your Oestrogen (Estrogen) high, or both low? Make a note here, it could be important.

Charting these fluctuations in hormones is especially relevant for those with hypermobility issues or EDS who should take note of the low oestrogen days in the cycle at days 26/28 and 0-7 as it is oestrogen that plays a big part in stabilising collagen and reducing EDS symptoms the rest of the month.

Those with POTS should be aware that it is when the two hormones Oestrogen and Progesterone are both high together just before or at ovulation at days 12-14 which aids optimum postural blood pressure control. That's when you'll be feeling best, but likely at your worst when Oestrogen and Progesterone are both low days 0 to 7 when the monthly bleed arrives as this reduces blood volume and pressure.

If you suffer from heavy periods then it's important to drink drink plenty of fluids to keep up body blood volume to avoid dizziness, take an iron supplement to avoid anaemia, and most importantly, avoid any painkillers that might cause a heavier blood flow such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin. If you're desperate for pain relief why not try some natural painkillers for period pains? My go to favourites are homeopathic Mag Phos 200c or Chamomilla 200c.

If you suffer from bad cramps this is most probably when you're in the low oestrogen phases. Oestrogen facilitates the uptake of magnesium, so low oestrogen can mean low magnesium - hence the cramps. Try to eat foods high in magnesium (whole grains, leafy greens and dark chocolate. Yay!) or taking a daily magnesium supplement throughout the month (100-200mg per day) as it is known for reducing cramps, including menstrual ones.

Everyone is different, but not so different when it comes to PMS, bloating, cramps and menstrual headaches, so let's break it down into a few groups. See if you can spot yourself from these 3 patients of mine to guide you to some great homeopathic remedies.

Everyone is different, but not so different when it comes to PMS, bloating, cramps and menstrual headaches, so let's break it down into a few groups. See if you can spot yourself from these 3 types.

Patient 1 was worse the week before her period and on the first day but felt better once she was in full flow. She was obviously sensitive to the drop of progesterone after ovulation at day 21 onwards. She would regularly have a pain in her left ovary about a week before the start of flow which coincided with PMS that made her feel really down and irrationally jealous of her boyfriend. Her first day of the period was worse with hot sweaty flushes and a pain in the small of her back that made her feel so sick she wanted to vomit. As soon as the period was in full flow though, she started to feel better and was back to her normal chatty self. She responded wonderfully to a dose of Lachesis 200c.

Remedies to try at a 30c or 200c strength (and a few hallmark symptoms to guide you):

* Lachesis (left sided symptoms, ovary pains, talkative and can be jealous, fear snakes, hates tight clothing, gets hot flushes, love pasta and other carbs)

* Zinc (overactive mind, restlessness especially in the feet, jerking limbs during asleep)

Patient 2 was worse during the run up and during the flow. Like many women Patient 2’s body seemed to suffer from the drop in both oestrogen and progesterone at day 21 onwards and low levels of each day 1-7. She was a mild, gentle person who, come the week before her menses, would feel weepy and that nobody lover her and like she wanted to disappear. Once the flow started her energy went through the floor and she suffered painful cramps, a heavy flow, large clots, and swollen sensitive breasts. The remedy Pulsatilla 200c worked wonders for Patient E so much so that her next period took her by surprise she was so symptom free.

Remedies to try at a 200c strength (or 30c if your general health is low):

* Pulsatilla (weepy, warm blooded, better in fresh air, not thirsty)

* Calc Carb (Itchy thrush, swollen tender breasts, backache, swollen ankles, tendency to put on weight, loves sweets and eggs) * Nat Mur (shy, craves salt, tends to suffer with headaches and from being in the sun)

* Sulphur (extrovert, burning feet at night, thirsty, loves fatty foods, salt and sweets)

* Phosphorus (Sympathetic types, lots of fears, chilly, thirsty for cold drinks, loves ice-cream)

* Nux Vom (Cramping period pains better for warmth. Chilly, easily irritated, craves coffee, spicy foods and other stimulants)

* Sepia (yellow/greenish discharge between periods, chilly, hormonal headaches, critical when tired, better for exercise, likes vinegar)

* Mag-carb (period flow is worse at night, acidic digestive troubles, milk intolerance)

Patient 3 felt worse for the two weeks after her period. Sensitive to the low Progesterone in this phase, Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder is more rare than Premenstrual symptoms, but for some women it’s a real drag and often comes with vaginal discharges. Patient 3 was generally chilly, constipated and anxious but all these became worse after her period with bad cramps even though the bleed had ended and a bloated stomach, nausea and dizziness to go with it. Graphites 30c suited Patient 3 very well and her symptoms improved soon including a resolution of her constipation and anxiety on the way.

Remedies to try:

  • Graphites (Burning yellow vaginal discharge, low libido, Sensitive to music, skin eruptions, brittle nails)

  • Kreosotum (Irritable, itching burning vaginal discharges, headaches, weak teeth)

  • Borax (White starchy vaginal discharge, anxious and sensitive to sudden noises, dislikes downward motion)

  • It is worth noting that Lachesis, Nux Vomica and Sepia are also sometimes indicated for Post Menstrual Disorder.

Happy hormonal balancing to all of you but remember to eat well, sleep well and exercise if you can. And take an iron supplement if your menses are heavy. For those who’d like to know more about diet changes and supplements that can help with period problems, Dr Mark Hyman MD has some great tips here.

If you're suffering from issues with your menstrual cycle or other problems then please get in touch or make an appointment. I work internationally via Skype/Zoom and face-to-face in Brixton, London, UK.


Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider. First aid situations may require medical or hospital care. Do not use this article as a means to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think that your condition may be serious, before discontinuing any medication that has been prescribed for you, or before starting any new treatment.

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