Reduce Anxiety and Soothe Period Cramps With 4 Proven Therapies.
At the same time!
I'm super excited. In researching for this article I found so much information about cramps and painful periods. But more importantly, I found a number of therapies. It really feels like I hit the jackpot.
When I grew up I only knew about the hot water bottle. We didn't even use an electric one. Just heated up the water and poured it into the red, rubber bottle.
That thing saved my life more than once. Was I really at the point of death? No. But it felt like it.
Shooting pain that traveled up and down my legs and back. Pain that left me weak. Pain that laid me out for at least 4 hours - no lie - before the meds and hot water bottle kicked in.
Every three weeks my mother picked me up from school because I just couldn't concentrate. I needed to lie on my stomach. In a fetal position. And hold on to the heat source for dear life.
Who can do that and calculate algebra at the same time?
As I got older the pain became a bit more bearable. But until 5-7 years ago, I still writhed in pain. I had fibroids, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts by then. So, it wasn't normal period pain.
Well, pain that lays you out for 4 hours isn't normal anyway. But who knew.
I also noticed that anxiety increased my cramps. Being an adult and seeing my life as stressful amplified my pain. Once I realized that hold stress worsened my cramps, I immediately released the worry. Whatever I felt anxious about - I let it go. Stat. Then I felt relief pretty quickly.
But that remedy may not work for everyone.
That's why I'm super excited about this post. Working with women to help them with their menstrual cycle always scared me when it got to the question about pain. I really didn't have a lot of answers besides ibuprofen. Especially for endometriosis- and fibroid-type pain. I hate leaving a person hanging, and especially someone looking to me for help.
But I have answers. I GOT ANSWERS BABY!!!
And without further ado...here. they. are!
Magnesium Brownies. Or just magnesium.
Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are like Mary J. and Method Man - they're all you need to get by.
I stop counting the number of research papers demonstrating the power of magnesium and vitamin B6 to relieve dysmenorrhea - the technical term for period cramps. Even if your dysmenorrhea is due to endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, or adenomyosis - mag and B will help you out.
Magnesium relieves and soothes in almost every period problem. It can take up to two months to see significant results. But if paired with vitamin B6 and taken daily, you'll up your pain-free experience.
It also balances out the cortisol levels in your body when you're stressed and feeling anxious,
Cortisol is a hormone released by your adrenal glands. They look like two little walnuts a chipmunk would chase. Your adrenal glands sit, one of each, on the top of your kidneys.
Cortisol causes the symptoms you feel when you're stressed - sweaty, racing heart, shorter breath, sense of fear, loss of appetite, wanting to urinate, etc.
Magnesium helps to buffer this experience thereby dampening the feeling of stress, fear, and anxiety you feel in a crisis - whether a big or small one.
Food sources include:
almonds, cashews, walnuts
whole wheat bread
black turtle beans
sunflower seeds + other seeds
I'd like to introduce you to magnesium brownies. Now the name isn't new but the recipe is.
Here's a delicious way to get your magnesium, healthy sweets, and stress-protection all in one bite.
1 Avocado (medium, ripe)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Coconut Sugar
3 tbsps Ghee
1/2 cup Almond Flour
1/2 cup Cacao Powder (or cocoa powder) - (the secret location of magnesium)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/3 cup Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Add the avocado, eggs, vanilla, coconut sugar and ghee to a food processor or blender and mix well until combined.
Add the almond flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Process again until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, reserving some to place on top.
Line a pan with parchment paper and pour brownie batter in. Smooth the top down and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing. Enjoy!
Avocado One medium avocado is equal to approximately one cup of mashed avocado.
No Ghee Use coconut oil or coconut butter instead.
Pan Size For 12 servings use a 9 x 9-inch pan.
However, food alone won't meet your magnesium needs. Soil levels are pretty depleted. And because you may exist in chronic low-grade stress, your body can't replenish the supplies of magnesium fast enough.
Note though that coffee, sugar, and sweating also deplete magnesium along with chronic stress.
So, you can supplement both Mg and vitamin B6.
If your kidneys filter and function correctly, you take 250 to 300 mg of magnesium citrate daily.
One study showed a decrease in emotional symptoms like tiredness, irritability, and depression at 50 mg a day of vitamin B6
You can take between 20 to 150 mg of vitamin B6 but divide the total amount in two and take it twice a day. So, if you start with 50 mg a day, take 25 mg in the morning and 25 mg in the evening.
Also, buy a form of vitamin B6 that's methylated. The supplement should say on the back - "methylated vitamin B6" or "methylated pyridoxine". That way if you have any genetic irregularities that prevent the transformation of the vitamin to its absorbable form, your body can still use vitamin B6.
Aromatherapy and abdominal massage.
Now, I'm just getting back into abdominal massage because it relaxes my whole body. Afterward, I feel just like jelly.
And my mind's quiet.
I love everyone and wouldn't hurt a roach.
Maybe you don't want that last benefit because roaches are of the devil. But, if everything else sounds good, start abdominal massage.
Abdominal massage with an essential oil blend, performed daily for seven days prior to your bleed, reduces pain.
It also lightens your bleed if done consistently. Both are win-wins for heavy bleeders and crampers.
They work because decreased oxygen to the uterus and stronger uterus contractions during your bleed may cause your cramps. Abdominal massage increases circulation to the uterus.
Fibroids may also result from reduced circulation to the uterus. In many body-therapy circles Mayan Abdominal massage or other abdominal massages produce significant results with the uterine tumors as they address an underlying cause.
Additionally, essential oils amplify the work of the massage. The studies used blends including rose and lavender.
Specifically, one study used cinnamon, clove, rose and lavender in a base of almond oil.
Lavender acts as an analgesic - pain killer, sedative and antispasmatic.
Clove increases circulation to smooth muscle cells - the type of cells that line your uterus
Cinnamon prevents inflammatory hormones called prostaglandins that increase contraction of the uterus during your bleed inhibiting oxygen to reach the uterus. It also treats excessive bleeding.
Rose regulates the menstrual cycle and reduces excessive bleeding
Clary sage balances out estrogen and menopause symptoms over a matter of weeks. It acts as an anti-inflammatory too.
How to use this method:
Make your own essential oil blend with cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender.
Or, try this one used in a study of 67 college students. They rated their period cramps greater than 6 out of 10 on a pain severity scale. After massaging with 1 teaspoon of almond oil containing 2 drops of lavender (Lavandula officinalis), one drop of clary sage (Salvia sclarea), and one drop of rose (Rosa centifolia), their pain dropped in half.
3 teaspoons of carrier oil - almond, jojoba, or MCT/coconut oil
7-8 drops total of the essential oils.
- Add the essential drops to the bowl first
- Then add the carrier oil
Consider 2 drops of lavender and cinnamon to 1 drop of rose and clove. Use the clary sage, rose, and lavender ratios mentioned. Or, mix according to your preference.
Thankfully, you can learn abdominal massage in your bedroom, as well.
The Michigan Health System offers a downloadable pdf with simple instructions.
So, does healthline.com.
And Hethir Rodriquez of naturalfertilityshop.com is where I purchased a video and instructions. Her digital product includes reflexology points that tonify and balance the uterus and ovaries.
Or, a few days before your period schedule a massage. Relay your PMS and period symptoms to the masseuse for a tailored experience. Think Moon Cycle Massage by Massage Williamsburg in Brooklyn New York. Reviewers report significant relief in their PMS and subsequent period symptoms with regular use.
If you can't maintain a nightly massage routine, use a diffuser throughout the day (for no more than 8 hours) to treat your body with the essential oil mixtures mentioned above.
Make your own perfume with an amber roller bottle and the above carrier oil and essential oil blend. (I always enjoyed pulling out my bottle and refreshing the dab points - behind the base of the ear lobes, at the back of the wrist, and along the temples.)
Learn 5 different ways to create a diffuser using simple ingredients like rock salt or your shirt.
You can purchase amber-colored roller bottles on Amazon to prevent oxidation of your essential oils.
They hold 15 ml or 3 teaspoons of oil, so you can only add 7-8 drops total of essential oil.
Up your zinc intake.
Zinc, like magnesium, does wonders in your body. It helps specifically with almost every period problem like...
It does so by reversing the underlying processes that lead to your diagnosis or symptoms by
modulating the immune system to reduce pro-inflammatory molecules that cause pain: endometriosis; fibroids; cramps
keeping pores open, reduces inflammation, lowers testosterone: acne, PCOS, all other reproductive diagnoses
regulating estrogen and protects against osteoporosis: menopause, fibroids, painful cramps
supporting the synthesis and transportation of all hormones: hypothyroidism, reproductive hormonal imbalances - fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis
improving the health of the hippocampus - part of the brain that controls the stress response: anxiety, sense of overwhelm, physical symptoms of stress
How to take:
Zinc citrate or picolinate, 30 mg, also works better with vitamin B6 after a meal. And never on an empty stomach.
Your doctor can test first to determine a deficiency when she orders plasma zinc. A normal range is 11-23 umol/L or 70-150 ug/dL.
However, if your a vegetarian, on hormonal birth control, or have hypothyroidism, you're likely deficient.
Red meat, oysters, and chicken offer the best sources of zinc. Baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts like walnuts and cashews also contain zinc.
Hormonal birth control prevents the absorption of zinc.
And, zinc requires thyroid hormone for absorption.
More than 80 mg of zinc long-term can deplete copper. So, under the direction of your primary care or GYN would be the only safe way to supplement at this dosage.
The Best Way To Use These Therapies.
Stress in the beginning of your cycle, those approximately two weeks before you ovulate, contributes to your cramps during your next bleed.
And lifestyle stress related to your work environment, relationship status and issues, or not fulfilling the desires of your heart contribute to that stress.
Therefore, it’s best to start and maintain a comprehensive self-care regimen that includes a supplement (or two), a mind-body technique and food.
That may seem overwhelming. But real healing comes when you deal with every aspect of your life that’s contributing to your imbalance.
I’ve almost beaten the horse dead harping on the importance of eating right.
And I included in this post, and will likely talk more, about nutritional deficiencies that instigate your period woes.
Plus, your lifestyle needs balance. Too much or too little sleep, blue light, exercise, etc. also cause hormonal imbalance.
So, here’s four cheap, effective, and proven ways to reduce your anxiety and period pain.
I'm accepting clients! My 6-month program uncovers your underlying causes for fibroids, PMS, PCOS, anemia, heavy bleeding, hormonal acne, hormonal mood swings, and/or ______ (fill in the blank with your period challenge or reproductive health goal.)
You can start your journey to an enjoyable monthly cycle with a discovery call.
Why call in? Because you'll start personalizing your work with me from the start.
Plus, I only accept 10-15 private clients at a time so, let's make sure we're compatible before you put out any money.
The discovery call is free! After thirty minutes you'll have a few personalized recommendations. And you'll know if I'm the practitioner for you. Check out my schedule here.
To keepin' it simple, scientific and natural,
Dr. Iris G