Attention all who experience a monthly menstrual cycle (And indeed any people identifying as men who want to know more to help support the women in their lives)!
This is a post I have wanted to write for a while, from two angles – both the attitude we have as a society towards our periods, and period health. From personal experience, I am hugely passionate about the topic in terms of honoring our period, not fearing it and looking after our health. With this post today, I hope to help get rid of the view that our periods are disgusting, gross and an inconvenience (I’m not even sure where this view came from..) and to help give some tips to keep your period health as ship shape and shiny as you can!
I used to DREAD my time of the month. I used to have incredibly painful and irregular periods. On the first day of my menstruation I would experience crippling pain which would mean I couldn’t do anything that day. I’d literally have to lie down, writhing on the bed in pain. This first started from the age of 14, came and went throughout my teenage years but the pain was persistent from the age of 18. When I was 19, I finally decided that this wasn’t normal and after 6 months of investigating what was going on with me I got an appointment at the hospital for an ultrasound scan. I have history of endometriosis in my family, however the scan found nothing and the only solution I was given was to go on the pill and take heavy dose painkillers that I was prescribed each month to get me through. I dread to think of the chemical cocktail I was pumping into my body to cover up the problem, not deal with the root cause. And I know so many women that struggle with similar problems each month. These issues are way more common than they should be considering that menstruating is something that we were always intended to do.
So, lets delve a little into the history and banish the stigma of our period being disgusting, before I give the above story a happy ending.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘Yoni’ refers to the womb. It can also be known as ‘The Sacred Portal’. I think that says it all really. Our womb is the sacred portal between two worlds that brings life into this physical plane. As women we are the bringers of LIFE and our womb and EVERYTHING that comes with it helps to facilitate that. What a gift, to have been incarnated on this planet in this lifetime as someone that can provide this. The life in your period alone is immense – what is released from your body each month is so nutrient dense that you could give it to your plants as a natural fertiliser. In fact, it is a spiritual practice to bleed onto the Earth when on your period to give back to the soil. When I first heard this, a little thought popped into my head that said ‘That’s disgusting’. It just goes to show the societal conditioning we go through that makes us think that a practice like this, that honors both body and Earth, is disgusting.
In many ancient cultures and tribes, periods were honored. A young girls first period would be celebrated. And our period connects us. You may have found that if you live with other females, your cycles begin to sync up. This would be so in these ancient tribes, too. Women would come together during their period of menstruation (which more often than not would align with the New Moon) to support each other and go within – having moments of quiet, peaceful reflection and listening to the wisdom coming from themselves and their bodies. Which I think is pretty beautiful really. How our female body mirrors the cyclical nature of life – just like the moon, the planets, the seasons – it truly intertwines us with nature. I think it’s time we honor our periods for the truth of what they are as opposed to seeing them as a nuisance.
Now, back to the health story. I have always had a relatively natural and healthy lifestyle thanks to my mum’s ongoing research as a child, but this year I have completely committed myself to living my life in the most natural and intentional way I can so I can have the most positive impact on myself and the planet. And in the process I have cured my painful periods. I have NO MORE PAIN during my time of the month. I didn’t even feel myself coming on this month, and I no longer have to plan my life around my period (although it’s still nice not to do too much when you’re on to give that time to nurture yourself).
Before you read the below, I must state: I am not a doctor. I am just someone with a deep interest in holistic living and I want to give love to myself, to others and the world. These have worked for me and if you decide to implement a few of the below changes I hope they work for you too. Please consult your healthcare professional and look into changes to your diet properly before making them.
- I stopped taking the pill. A lot of issues in women’s menstrual health are due to an imbalance of hormones, and taking the pill just pumps your system with more of them. I am particularly wary around pills that don’t allow a break for a bleed. We were born with the ability to have periods for a reason, we shouldn’t be blocking our body’s natural responses.
- I started using Organic Rose Geranium essential oil on my tummy for period pains, and ditched conventional pain killers. I haven’t taken pain killers for at least a year anyway, but instead of turning back to them, I turned to the wisdom of nature. This soothing and warming essential oil works a treat!
- I stopped drinking cows milk & decreased my dairy consumption. We are the only mammal on the planet that drinks another mammals milk. And a cow should only be lactating when in calf. Do you know how they get a cow to lactate all year round? By pumping them full of hormones to increase their milk production. Which goes into the milk we drink and then is ingested into our bodies, adding to the hormone imbalance. I now drink oat milk instead, which is super creamy and I don’t miss cows milk one bit.
- I became a vegetarian. I gave up meat mainly for ethical reasons, but I have loved how my diet now makes me feel as well, Just like the dairy industry, many animals are given growth hormones and different drugs to help with their weight and combat disease. This increases inflammation within the human body once ingested. You aren’t just ingesting meat when you eat it. My diet is a balanced vegetarian diet. The eggs I eat are natural coming from my own chickens, I have small quantities of good quality cheese and I eat a lot of whole foods, natural spices and supplements to ensure I am getting what I need in my body.
- Switched all of my conventional beauty products to natural alternatives. So many of our conventional beauty products contain toxic ingredients that we shouldn’t be putting into our bodies. You only have to turn over the back of a bottle of conventional shampoo to see that, among a multitude of other ingredients it contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which is used to remove grease from car engines! Ayurvedic medicine says that you shouldn’t be putting anything onto your skin that you wouldn’t put onto your tongue. Your skin absorbs EVERYTHING you put on it. Which then affects all of the systems in your body.
- Meditation and Yoga. Our womb space and reproductive organs hold trauma just as much as the mind and other tissues in the body. Meditation and Yoga has changed my life in many ways, but it has also helped me begin to work through my shadow side, as well as giving me immense mind and body awareness.
- I started using Organic tampons and sanitary towels. This one may seem pretty petty, but your tampon is what’s going INSIDE your body. Many commercial products use irritating materials with chemicals that can leach into the body as you use them, as well as being incredibly wasteful for the planet. I started using TOTM sanitary products. They are organic (the towels use a non toxic adhesive) and all packaging is cardboard, so totally recyclable. They also support Endometriosis UK. The small things really do add up, especially when it comes to your health and the health of the planet.
Now, there may be things in the above that don’t serve you with the way you want to live your life. And as I said, I am not a doctor. But these are the largest changes I have made in my life which I truly believed has helped my cycle. I couldn’t not share my experiences because I want to help as many women with this as possible. And if you don’t have periods anymore, there is no reason way this couldn’t work for you as you go through the menopause also. When all of the above are natural, what’s the harm in giving it a try!
So, periods unite! I truly believe honoring and caring for our bodies in a natural way could help heal the vast majority of hormonal issues women have. I send you love and blessings for however you choose to move forward from here.
With Love, Light & Best Wishes,