Italy is now offering three days a month for menstrual leave, being the first country in Europe to do so. Healthista talked to Emma Cannon, fertility and women’s health specialist on how to deal with your ‘time of the month’ naturally.
With the advent around menstrual leave, which started in China, Italy is the next country- and the first in Europe- to hop on the bandwagon. MP’s in Italy are working on a bill that would give women up to three days off a month for those who suffer from painful periods. Do you think that the UK should adopt this practice as well? Let us know on twitter at @HealthistaTV
Our bodies are incredible and go through cycles every month of growth, development and renewal. Deep inside you, a miraculous process happens time and again; in preparation for when you are ready to have a baby. Our amazing menstrual cycles what make us female and that gives us our fertility. Sadly, for many this is something that is not celebrated; either because you have never been encouraged to connect with it, or because it is a source of pain in your life. In my clinic, I always spend time taking a thorough history of the cycle and can tell a great deal about a woman’s health from her menstrual symptoms alone.
1. For moodiness
Start to keep a simple diary or journal where you record the days of your cycle. Begin with day one of your cycle, the first day that you get your period and mark it in your diary. Take note of how your emotions that day and all other days of your period. Record how you are feeling and what the triggers of those emotions were. Address those areas in your everyday life along with past issues that might be impacting your present. Once you have identified the patterns try meditation or affirmations to help calm and reaffirm the mind.
2. For exhaustion
Try the Post Period Tonic spoken about in my book. The tonic is based on traditional healing traditions from the East. In Asian countries, many women recognize the importance of eating certain foods, particularly post period, in order to bring balance back to the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is viewed as an important aspect of a woman’s health, and food is a valuable tool to help bring the body back into balance. I have witnessed many, many times how this simple tonic can transform a woman’s entire menstrual cycle.
In Asian countries, many women recognize the importance of eating certain foods, particularly post period,
Changing your diet during your period can have a huge impact on your energy levels. According to Tradttional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which I use in my practice, throughout your period it is best to eat foods that will help make your menstruation easier. For some, that is stuffing your face with sugar but these are much better options; add more of the following to recipes that you are already making:
- Darkened ginger root will warm and nourish the blood of the uterus.
- Black sesame oil (if difficult to find then use regular sesame oil) nourishes blood.
- Rice wine to warm (for all but especially those who are feeling hot).
- Eggs to nourish blood and ‘yin’ or female energy.
3. For irregular and/or painful periods
Acupuncture has been used for many years to help women manage minor and not so minor period problems. Acupuncture stimulates the hypothalamus; the part of the brain that controls hormones so it is effective at regulating the cycle. It is a proven treatment for period pain and PMS, with thousands of years history of safety and efficacy to support it. It is my number one recommendation for period problems.
4. For general menstrual relief
Most of the time general menstrual relief can be found by taking supplements. General period pains are caused by prostaglandins and your body’s increased sensitivity to pain. To lessen that pain, you need to introduce good prostaglandins (healthy fats that have a positive impact on your hormones) into the body. Start by taking Omega-3 fish oils which are a great source of prostaglandins. To ease menstrual cramping, you can take any B vitamins, magnesium (which is a muscle relaxant and also helps with sleep) along with vitamin D. Along with relieving cramps, vitamin D is also associated with helping to regulate your menstrual cycle. If you are someone who experiences a quite heavy flow during your period taking an iron supplement is beneficial and will help to boost energy. Vitamin C is great in helping the body absorb iron when taken in conjunction with iron supplements.
5. Menstrual bloating
A common mistake people make to avoid bloating is eating too much raw food, or replacing meals with juices in an attempt to get rid of bloating. But this actually makes the situation worse. Most people do not tolerate raw food very well as it is very hard to digest. Food tends to remain in the intestines in an undigested form and leads to fermentation and gas causing bloating and poor digestion. Adding warm foods into the diet and eating mainly cooked foods helps to reduce bloating.
Adding warm foods into the diet and eating mainly cooked foods helps to reduce bloating
Don’t flood the digestion with lots of cold fluids either and avoid drinking lots of water with meals. I have a golden rule which is ‘No raw food at all after 4 pm’.
Emma Cannon is a fertility and women’s health expert, registered acupuncturist, founder of the Emma Cannon Clinic, and a mentor and speaker. With over 20 years in clinical practice, from her fertility rooms she has helped countless patients achieve their dream of having a family. She is the author of four books including the best-selling The Baby-Making Bible.
Buy Fertile: Nourish and balance your body ready for baby making, Emma Cannon, £20 (Vermilion).