Women with Period Pain, Please Stop Eating Acai Bowls, here’s why…

Women with period pain, please stop eating Acai bowls…

A major cause of period pain in Chinese medicine is cold. Our bodies are designed to work best when warm. This means eating warm foods and keeping warm.

Your metabolic energy – the energy required for your body to function relies on this warmth. Kind of like a steam train relies on warm coal. Imagine putting ice in the engine firebox instead of coal.

Eating cold foods, being cold, not wearing clothes to cover your feet, back and low abdomen all contribute to reduced pelvic blood flow and pain.

Cold causes the body to constrict blood vessels and slow blood movement. When your period is due to start and this blood needs to move, it’s like the blood is ‘stuck’ and causes pain when it starts to move.

If you find putting a hot water bottle or a wheat heat bag over your abdomen helps with period pain, you mist likely have some type of cold stagnation in your pelvis.

We don’t notice this cold in our abdomen during the rest of the month because blood doesn’t need to move as much in the pelvis…until your period is due.

Imagine it like a delayed ice-cream headache…but in your pelvis. 

One of the worst ‘health crazes’ is Acai bowls. I seriously think they are a serious risk to women’s menstrual health. I cringe every time I see a young women sitting out the front of a popular Gold Coast cafe in winter with ugg boots on and a jumper….and eating an Acai bowl.

Do you know, that the main ingredient in Acai bowls is actually sugar filled sorbet? You are literally eating ice cream (plus some frozen berries) for breakfast. Not only are they incredibly high in sugar, but the cold is having an impact on your health.

If you suffer from period pain, you really need to stop eating these, especially in winter. You need to look at warm porridge, cooked eggs, warming broth, even soup for breakfast. Try this for a few months and you could notice an improvement in your period pain.

I wonder if a craze of warming breakfasts could take over the Gold Coast…

In Chinese medicine, I use acupuncture, moxibustion (a type of warming herb) and heat lamps to remove this cold and warm the pelvis to help with period pain as well as improve fertility.

Remember, a baby doesn’t want to grow in a cold environment either. It needs warmth.

So eliminate Acai bowls and any cold breakfasts and see how your menstrual health and your fertility changes.

I always love hearing from you, so if you want to let me know how you went with making these changes, please let me know!

 

Registered Acupuncturist and Owner of The Point of Wellbeing, a Gold Coast acupuncture clinic focused on improving women’s health, fertility and pregnancy…naturally.

Acupuncture Relieves Period Pain

Acupuncture relieves period pain…

I need to start this post with a sentence that might shock many women.

Period pain is not normal. It might be common, but it is not normal. 

Pain of any kind is a type of body signal, telling you something is wrong.

If this was understood more clearly, it wouldn’t be taking on average 11 years to diagnose endometriosis, a pelvic pain condition that is characterised by period pain.

The thing is though, period pain is not usually fatal. Women can and have lived their whole lives with period pain.

Unless you’re quality of life is severely diminished or you are having trouble conceiving, there aren’t a lot of mainstream treatments available to you, other than pain medication or the oral contraceptive.

Both have side effects and aren’t ideal if you’re trying to conceive.

 

From a Chinese medicine point of view, the arrival and the flow of your period occurs due to a number of carefully orchestrated blood and energy movements.

Anything that affects these blood and energy movements can result in pain.

There are a number of patterns of period pain we treat depending on your pain presentation.

For example, a cold, twisting type of period pain that comes on with your period, which is alleviated by a warm shower or wheat heat bag is a cold type of period pain. The cold constricts blood vessels, causing pain when blood tries to move.

Another example is a type of dropping, severe ache type of period pain, which worsens a day or two after your period. You have a blood deficient type of period pain. Your body doesn’t have enough vital essences and is aching in pain with the loss of more blood.

Last one, a stabbing, severe fixed pain that comes and goes even starting the day before your period is due is a type of blood stagnation pain. Blood is not moving as it should through your pelvis and so when it needs to move for your period to arrive, it gets stuck and causes pain.

There are others, but these are the main patterns I see. There are treatment methods for each of these type, depending on the rest of your presentation.

Acupuncture, used with a type of warming herb can warm the pelvis, alleviate pain, improve pelvic blood flow and circulation to alleviate period pain.

Some patterns respond really quickly and some take time. Dietary factors make a big impact too, as does your level of exercise and emotional wellbeing.

Research has found that acupuncture and moxibustion are effective, safe and cost effective treatment options for period pain with long term health changes.

Besides acupuncture, there are a couple of natural things you can do to treat period pain:

  • Warmth – a bath, wheat heat bag, hot water bottle
  • Keep your feet warm – warm feet helps pelvic blood flow
  • Keep your abdomen and low back warm (avoid midriff tops and layer up with singlets)
  • Take a good quality, practitioner brand magnesium, zinc and fish oils – all show great results in reducing period pain
  • Eat really good quality, warm, cooked nourishing foods
  • Castor oil packs
  • Eliminate cold breakfasts, cold smoothies, ice cream, juices and sorbets from your diet for at least 6 months
  • Eliminate dairy – dairy has been found to cause inflammation that worsens period pain

Keep in mind that your period acts as a kind of report card for your month of health.

If you’ve been eating a sugar loaded, alcohol filled, fatty food filled, dairy filled diet, sat on the couch all month and neglected your health, you will experience a worse period.

Give the healthy tips a go. If they don’t make a change within three months, get in touch with me and we’ll start making some more specific changes.

You may in fact have endometriosis, which could require surgery. You can still implement these health tips and seek acupuncture treatments for pain management and support as well as seek medical care from a medical specialist.

Don’t accept that you will forever experience period pain.

With love,

Registered Acupuncture and Owner of The Point of Wellbeing, a Gold Coast acupuncture clinic dedicated to supporting women’s health, fertility and pregnancy…naturally!

 

The Yin and Yang Balance of the Menstrual Cycle Part 1

The easiest way to understand the menstrual cycle in terms of Yin and Yang, is to compare the body to day and night.

Yin is night time. The cooling, resting, nourishing part of the day.

Yang is day time. Energetic, warming, increased metabolic energy part of the day.

The menstrual cycle is the same, but over a longer period (no pun intended!) of time. From your period until ovulation or your follicular phase is your Yin time.

This is when an egg is being nourished, your lining is growing and your body is being nurtured to produce a good quality egg for possible fertilisation. 

Your body temperature is actually lower, your body needs more rest, increased nutrition, more meditation and less stress to nourish your Yin and fertile energy.

From ovulation to the end of your cycle, is your Yang phase or your luteal phase. This is where progesterone, your warming hormone takes over.

Your body temperature noticeably increases. This energy helps a fertilised egg expand and grow.

If no fertilisation occurs, you move back into your Yin phase, ready to start the Yin/Yang dance again.

The very cool thing about this ebb and flow of energy, is that each phase is dependent on each other.

If you don’t have enough Yin (high stress, poor diet, poor sleep, increased age), it is hard for the body to switch from Yin to Yang. Ovulation may not occur and your development of progesterone (or Yang) may be impaired.

You end up with a very long Yin phase while the body tries to nourish an egg. This can happen in women with PCOS.

Imagine having too much night and not enough daylight…plants don’t grow, we don’t warm up, we would lack nutrition from the sun and have less access to nutritious food. We’d be like a poorly nourished egg!

When something upsets this important Yin and Yang balance, women’s health can suffer and not just in regards to falling pregnant.

Yin is needed to nourish all of your organs, not just your uterus. Yin supports all of your body fluids, blood and mucous membranes.

Yang is needed to maintain your digestive metabolic energy as well as your progesterone. Yang drives your digestion and your elimination of wastes. It looks after your water metabolism in the body and your daily energy.

So it is important to balance this Yin and Yang energy. Every single women’s health complaint comes down to an imbalance in this cycle.

It is as simple and as complicated as that!

Falling Pregnant in 2017

If you and your partner have been ‘kind of trying’ for the last couple of months or even years with little luck but have now decided that this is your year to fall pregnant, listen up…

  1. Stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet – get off the forums and get in to see a real live person who can give you individual advice and treatment.
  2. Stop making excuses about your diet. No matter what anyone tells you, your diet and the nutrients you and your male partner absorb are incredibly important for your fertile health.
  3. Get some basic blood tests done, sperm testing done and pelvic ultrasound to eliminate serious causes of infertility so you can either seek natural treatment or move on to another cause.
  4. Start charting your basal body temperature and show it to the real live person you are seeking treatment from in step 1. Learn how to tell when you are fertile and when you are not, learn about your body and start building a better relationship with it
  5. Exercise – get your body moving! Walking or yoga are two great options that everyone can do. Moving blood around your body helps deliver nutrients to your growing eggs or developing sperm for the males.
  6. Sort out your ‘minor’ health complaints – if you suffer from bloating, poor digestion, frequent headaches, tiredness, skin complaints, low libido, insomnia, painful periods, short or long menstrual cycles, get these treated. They may be related to your difficulty in falling pregnant.
  7. Seek emotional support – either through a great group of friends or with a professional, surround yourself with people who love and support you.
  8. Drink water – the simplest tip but for some reason, the most difficult. Keep hydrated. You want full, luscious reservoirs of eggs for ovaries, not dried out raisins
  9. Relax. Falling pregnant can take time. Stress can negatively impact ovulation and your ability to conceive so do the things that bring you joy.
  10. Have lots of sex! The biggest cause of infertility is not enough sex. Knowing when you’re fertile (step 4) can help target the best ‘window’ but regular intercourse is your best chance at conceiving.
  11. Lastly, get acupuncture. This incredible therapy has the ability to help with all of the above – provide individual and holistic advice and treatment, help you relax, improve your blood flow, treat a myriad of health complaints and provide emotional support especially when given by a practitioner experienced in fertility.

Best of luck in your pregnancy goals for 2017. I’d love to hear from you if you have any specific questions about your individual fertility concerns – info@thepointofwellbeing.com.au

Paige x

How to Support a Friend Through IVF

It can be really hard to know what to do to support a friend going through IVF. If you haven’t been through the process yourself, it’s difficult to understand what support a friend may need. I find many people avoid being too involved because they don’t want to upset their friend or put too much pressure on them. However, I often hear from women how upset they feel that none of their friends have offered any support and this can feel isolating.

Keep in mind, that if someone has told you they are going through IVF, they most likely consider you a valuable friend. Many people (couples, singles and families) go through IVF without telling anyone often due to fear of failure.

The most important thing to remember after someone has told you they are going through IVF is, doing or saying nothing can never be better than doing or saying the wrong thing with the right intentions.

A few ways you can support a friend during IVF

  • get informed – find out what your friend will be going through and what dates are important. Websites for the fertility groups are helpful – Queensland Fertility Group, Monash or City Fertility
  • be curiously interested
  • ask how they’re feeling
  • ask about important dates
  • offer to be there for them to just listen
  • send an encouraging text message on important dates like egg pick up, transfer day and the day of the blood test
  • ask your friend what support they need if you’re unsure
  • be the reasoning voice when they tell you they read on an online forum that said eating 5 pineapple cores after transfer improves implantation (talking to your specialist about baby aspirin would be a better idea)

In the instance of your friend receiving bad news through their IVF cycle, including a lower number of eggs collected than expected, the delay of transfer due to over stimulation, a reduced number of fertilised eggs, embryos not growing or the final result of a negative blood test, offer them your support. Just give them a giant hug and listen.

I often find the offer of food very helpful too ;-)

It’s a really tough journey and they’ll be so grateful to have you apart it!

Female Friends

Acupuncture for Period Pain

Period pain in Chinese medicine can generally be caused by two things; stagnation or deficiency.

Stagnation is the easiest to understand as it is when the blood or energy in your body slows down or stops completely. It causes pain because blood and energy cannot flow freely. You will get symptoms of clots in your bleed, extreme focal type pain or stabbing pain on the first day of your period (because blood is trying to move and this causes you more pain) and increased mood and energy after your period has finished. That is, until your lining starts to build and the blood stagnation worsens before your next period. This is often how we diagnosis for endometriosis in Chinese medicine.

Deficient pain can be understood by thinking of a river run dry. There is not enough fluid, blood or energy to fill and nourish your body. Then, when your body needs to eliminate more blood at menstruation, it aches in pain at losing important substances. Symptoms of deficient type period pain includes feelings of ’emptiness’, dropping pain, a dull but persistent low abdominal ache or tiredness and muscle weakness during your period. This is often diagnosed when a woman suffers from thin lining.

So what can be done? Acupuncture is great, especially at moving stagnated pain. Treatments leading into your period can really help with reducing pain naturally by moving blood and energy in your lower abdomen. In the case of deficient pain, a well balanced diet including good fats and protein, along with some acupuncture and warming moxibustion to build your system of energy and blood will reduce your pain. This will take time though…but will be worth it. Other things you can do to help is yoga or stretching, light walking, anything which reduces stress, add in some supplemented magnesium support and keep your abdomen, low back and feet warm.

Remember that period pain is not normal, you don’t have to just ‘put up with it’!

Period pain