Wouldn’t it be great if there are simple solutions to ongoing annoyances like heavy periods? Read on, make some changes and you’ll be surprised at how much more balanced you will feel! I am a retired natural medicine doctor/naturopathic physician and practised for over 20 years. One of my focuses was female health. One of the most common issues I helped women resolve were hormone imbalances.
Your cycles should be typically 28 to 32 days between periods, bleeding for two to five days while changing a tampon or pad two to four times per day with no clotting, cramping and few premenstrual symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many women, but luckily with some rebalancing most of the problems can be corrected.
The first step is to find out why these symptoms are happening. For some women, heavy cycles, clotting and cramping may be an indication of ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids. These are masses in the ovaries and uterus that can affect hormonal levels and bleeding. It is important if you have these symptoms that an ultrasound is done to see if these are present. Some ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids may resolve on their own, others will shrink if treated with hormonal balancing foods, herbs or homeopathics, and others are too large and may need to be shrunk or removed. It makes sense to try and keep your uterus and ovaries as long as possible, since the uterus helps to keep tone in the pelvis, minimizes problems with the bladder and maintains the ligaments in the pelvic floor.
The second step is to understand why the hormones are out of balance. Your menstrual history is important to determine what will be needed to shift them back to normal. Sometimes the hormones have never been in balance right from the start; while for other women they started to have issues after children; for others at menopause. Usually, from the symptoms one can determine which hormone is overriding another. It is not necessarily just the female hormones that may be the problem. There may be thyroid, adrenal or pituitary imbalances that may be affecting the female hormones. So, think about your hormonal history. If you have a lot of bloating, water retention, weight gain, cravings for carbohydrates, heavy bleeding or clotting, then your estrogen more than likely needs to be balanced. If you have severe breast tenderness and short cycles, then your progesterone is probably the one that needs adjusting. If you have a hard time getting to sleep, staying asleep, don’t wake rested, feel easily tired or overwhelmed, are easily startled or have unexplained emotional swings that happen often, not just around your period, then it’s probably your adrenal gland hormones that need balancing. If you have unexplained weight gain, run cold, losing hair, feel like you’re dragging a lead weight around, don’t wake rested even with enough sleep or have a low body temperature, then it’s likely the thyroid that needs adjusting. One hormone out of balance can influence another so you may need to adjust more than one.
Luckily, it often just takes a shift of foods to help rebalance these hormones. So the third step is to choose appropriate foods, herbs and/or homeopathics to correct the issues. The easiest adjustment is to eat seeds according to the moon cycles. I have had women buying seeds from Rancho Vignola for over 20 years and just by rotating them it has helped balance many females’ hormones! If a woman is currently tracking her menses, then she can use that as a starting point; however, in my many years of practise, I have found many women find it easier to follow the lunar cycle, and often their menstrual cycle would come in line with the moon anyway.
So from the new moon to the full moon I have women use three to five tablespoons per day of hemp, flax, pumpkin or chia seeds. You can sprinkle them on your cereal or fruit, add them to yogurt or a smoothie or use a seed butter. These seeds have omega-3 fatty acids in their oil, which helps to balance estrogen.
From the full moon to the new moon I have you switch to three to five tablespoons per day of sunflower or sesame seeds. These have omega-6 fatty acids and help to balance progesterone. The amount depends on your activity level. If you are getting at least one to two hours of aerobic exercise per day, then your body will use up four to five tablespoons; if not, then three tablespoons will do. The seeds are an excellent source of protein that is slow releasing because of being combined with the oil, so not only do they help rebalance your hormones, but they help stabilize blood sugar. This minimizes the load on the adrenal glands to keep them better balanced. They also lubricate your joints to minimize swelling and arthritis, keep your hair shiny and moisturize your skin. Seeds also help prevent heart disease because the oils are the ones that are utilized, not stored or deposited on arteries or veins. They also help prevent hormonal cancers because the hormones are better balanced. Even if you don’t have hormonal imbalances, it’s worth rotating them to help prevent other issues in your future.
Raw nuts contribute as well to this, but that’s a food group for another day! So try rotating your seeds and see how it shifts how your body-mind functions. REMEMBER, YOUR CYCLE SHOULD BE MINIMALLY IMPACTING TO YOUR LIFE!
~ Written by Dr. Brenda Gill
PS: I practised naturopathic medicine for over 20 years in Nelson and Rossland, and am a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. Previous to NCNM, I taught high school for 10 years, obtaining a teaching certificate and a BSc from SFU. I always tried to provide high-quality healthcare that was professional, personal and effective, while reaching as many people as possible. By writing articles, I am still committed to helping people reach an elevated level of health by accessing their natural resources for healing and giving them information on the tools they can access, whether that’s clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, exercise therapy, hydrotherapy, lifestyle counselling or physical medicine.