Let’s talk periods. We get ‘em. We don’t usually like ‘em. End of story? Maybe not.
Turns out, even as a human who’s been menstruating for 23 years, I had things to learn. My big motivation was a recent endometriosis diagnosis from my OBGYN. She kindly didn’t put me through any invasive testing as I had all the textbook symptoms and was very supportive of my alternative medicine approach. Everyone’s journey is different, but I wanted to heal and reverse the damage using a non-traditional approach so I could avoid meds and surgery. Cue me rushing off to my acupuncturist whom I trust with my life and who has helped tremendously.
In addition to my monthly acupuncture appointments, I decided to pull out all the stops. I’m determined to get to a point where my hormones are balanced AF and my periods are no longer torture. And because we’re friends and I’m obsessed with sharing things that have made my life easier/less painful, I’ve got some tips for my sisters. Here are the products that haved saved me over the last few months:
Thinx - this period underwear is the best invention in life. For real, I can’t say enough good things about this line. They are super comfortable, thin but absorbent. I bought the black Cheeky a few months ago and recently made a purchase for three more: another black Cheeky, one black Hiphugger, and one beige Thong. Best decision of my life.
Depending on my flow I wear them as a tampon backup or straight up if it’s light. I love them because I don’t have to worry about leaks and wasting so many disposable pads and liners. Using them has made my period so much easier to deal with.
To clean, I give them a good rinse in my bathroom sink or in the shower and then let them soak for a bit in warm soapy water (Dr. Bronner’s rose, always and forever). Rinse again and hang up to dry. Easy, I promise.
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Cramp Bark Tincture - you know I like to be as all-natural as possible. So when cramps hit (and let me tell, they hit HARD), I don’t take any pain meds. As things got worse with my developing endo, I knew I needed help surviving. Enter this magical tincture. Warning: it does not taste good, but make the sacrifice. I do a full dropper in a little bit of water about 4 times a day in between meals. This helped so much and made the pain very manageable. I usually have numerous episodes where I’m doubled over in excruciating pain, but this cut that number down to only one or two total. It also eased that consistent ache that likes to hang around as well. This is huge, babes. Give it a try.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - did you know red raspberry leaf is considered “the woman’s herb”? Me neither. Turns out it contains the alkaloid fragrine that helps to strengthen and tone the uterus to ease cramps (even the sharp, knock-you-down kind). There’s some really interesting info out there about its benefits for pregnancy too, so I encourage you check it out for yourself too. Anyway, I like to drink a cup a day a few days before my period starts and a few days into it. Makes a difference, I swear.
Not Pot - I’m a sucker for fun branding and heard good things about this brand, so I had to try their CBD gummy bears. Did I mention they’re GUMMY BEARS? I just got them my last cycle and while I’m not sure how much they helped ease my pain, they did ease that period anxiety and irritability. I took a couple a day the first two days, then one a day for the rest of my cycle, letting them melt in my mouth a bit before chowing down. Now I take them as needed when I need to focus, calm down or need a little extra help chilling out at night because GUMMY BEARS!!
Peppermint Oil - this wonderful little plant helps with b l o a t ! I combine a few drops with a carrier oil and rub it on my stomach. Within about 15 minutes, the bloat has decreased so I no longer look 6 months pregnant and can zip up my high rise Madewell jeans. Yeah, high rise jeans during my period. Miracle, right? Also works when you’ve eaten something that doesn’t quite agree with your stomach, so basically a life necessity.
Flo Period Tracker - if you’re not already tracking your period, you should. You can add symptoms and flow so you know what to expect each month. Also you know how sometimes you’re in a real gnarly mood and are not sure if you’re PMS-ing or turning into a monster? This helps with that too.
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Ok, girls, these are my tricks. Have you tried anything on my short list? Anything else you’d suggest? Please share - we gotta help each other out.