Last weekend, I got my period. Due to the stress of COVID-19, my pain levels have creeped up a little lately. While I was worried, I was also looking forward to it.
A woman with endometriosis looking forward to her period?
Actually, it’s not as strange as it sounds. Many of my previous and current clients are now in the same boat. We’ve reduced their pain levels, and now that they’re not blinded by crippling cramps, they can actually take some time to make their periods a more pleasant experience. Even if your periods are still blinding, there are things you can do to make the experience, maybe not pleasant, but better.
Perhaps this concept is totally alien to you. If you’ve spent most of your life with painful periods that cause heavy bleeding, clots, nausea, and diarrhea, I get it.
Yet, there is a wave of people with periods embracing their cycles to make better use of their energy levels and the various benefits of rising and falling hormones. The approach is generally known as cycle-syncing. I’ve explored it in previous columns here and here, and interviewed Maisie Hill about the topic on my podcast.
But how does this result in looking forward to my period? Because it’s the only time of the month I actually slow down a little and recharge.
During menstruation, our hormones are at their lowest levels. This usually results in reduced energy and the need for alone time. Most people will at least feel less social, but we’re all different. Our bodies are doing a lot of work and we’re using up a lot of nutrients while bleeding, so we’re focused on rest and replenishment.
Therefore, for many of my clients and me, the menstrual phase and the week leading up to it are centered around spa-like, self-care moments that allow us to restore both body and mind in small ways.
If I’ve had a busy month (which we all do, all the time), I can look forward to that period of time. I do my best not to book anything social and push any non-client meetings to either side of my period. When I’m not with clients or writing columns, I can rest a bit more, even if it’s just a little.
The knock-on effect is that these small acts of self-kindness can actually result in lower pain levels, especially when introduced the weekend leading up to our period. So, if your curiosity is piqued, following are three ways you can make an at-home spa retreat for your period:
Teas and lattes
The few times I’ve been to a spa, they’ve always made me a lovely tea with soothing and medicinal properties. We can mimic that at home by utilizing teas such as turmeric, ginger, and dandelion.
Ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory that’s been proven to be as effective as mefenamic acid in relieving period pain. Be sure to use ginger root powder rather than tea bags in your tea for a stronger effect.
Turmeric is another powerful anti-inflammatory that’s shown promising results for endo, while dandelion root tea helps the body eliminate old and excess estrogen, which can lead to painful periods.
Magnesium helps relax muscles and can ease cramping and pain, but it’s also been found to aid with painful periods and sleep. Studies have shown we need two to three baths per week with about 500 to 600 grams of magnesium per bath for optimum results.
If you don’t have the time or energy for a long bath, even making time for a 10-minute bath (or a foot bath, for that matter!) twice a week before your period can help.
Yoga tailored to easing tension in the pelvic area can actually lower pain, and it is often recommended by pelvic floor physiotherapists. But you have to choose carefully — not all yoga is right for people with endo, so opt for a type that is specific to period pain or chronic pelvic pain.
There are many more ways to create an at-home spa experience for your period, from nutritious meals to self-massage, to taking time out with a good book or movie. Choose rituals that feel replenishing for you.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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