One of the things I was really looking forward to when jumping on the raw food and plant-based bandwagon was the promise of a natural cure to reduce menstrual cramps and get a shorter period, or even better >>> NO bleeding at all! While we can discuss whether bleeding is normal or not – and no, bleeding and ovulating is not the same thing and not connected to each other – I think we all can agree that any internal pain is a sign that something is very wrong in our body and not working correctly.
My Menstrual Background Check
I’ve been tracking my period since 2010, with the simple free app P Tracker Lite. In the past, I have used other tools to track my menstrual cycle too. For example, a friend of mine recently told me about ovulation test strips. Above all, if you want a comprehensive overview of your menstrual cycle, combining both tracking methods can be particularly useful so that you can compare your findings.
I have never in my life taken any hormonal or non-hormonal birth control or other drugs that obviously affects the hormones – except for consuming some dairy products and soy, antibiotics and roaccutan, if those counts.
My periods have often been “giving birth”-painful to the point that I can’t concentrate and need to take that day off. It’s not just the cramps as it is the gases and bloating I get the first day of my period. Laying in bed is painful and moving around is painful. This pain has always lasted about 24 hours, and been somewhat tolerable with drugs designed to help with diarrhea and strong migraine – but I haven’t consumed these tablets or any other drugs regularly for almost 4-5 years now.
My period has never been regular, actually, the only consistency it has is being irregular as seen in the chart above! And it’s always lasted 6-7 days.
So, I and my period didn’t start off as good friends. In fact, I remember crying the day at age 11 of the thought that I was now having to wear diapers again and having to browse menstrual health products. Like think about it, it’s kind of demeaning? I swap to have the feeling of blue balls any day, and I don’t think it can be even as half bad as the cramps I’ve suffered with throughout the years. And not just that, with the hormonal change, I suddenly found myself with acne at a very young age that I’ve had to battle until a year ago. So if you ask me, bleeding, bloating and pain once a month is not something any woman should be okay with or even consider as “normal”.
Switching to a Plant-Based Diet
APRIL 2013 | While you would think to change diet and eating lots of fruits and greens would have a positive effect on your hormones, you can imagine my disappointment when my new diet and lifestyle didn’t live up to the promise of at least lighter and less painful periods. If not to say, my pain was even worse! You could argue “detox”, and while I would agree that menstruation is a lot similar to a detox and carrying out waste, I can’t agree that I was supposed to still feel crap after almost two years on a new lifestyle – in every other aspect I felt amazing! But my period became even more irregular than it was after adopting a vegan plant-based diet (see chart 2013 after July).
It really depressed me, because all around on the Internet I would only find positive testimonials, where people would have the pleasant experience of lighter and shorter periods almost right away after adopting a whole foods vegan diet – especially a raw foods diet.
And here I was, experiencing worse and worse for every month that was passing.
The thing is, and as you can see on the chart. The first two months after going fully raw, my period became perfect, 28 days on the spot, but from my notes, it was still slightly painful and just as long, and it would get worse and then be all over the place being as late as 35 days. I tried everything at the time, low fat, high fat, trying to stabilize it, but nothing worked, and my skin was starting to get worse again.
Probiotics & Hormones
FEBRUARY 2014 | It wasn’t until I went on probiotics last year where I would see and feel the result that I wanted. Probiotics seemed to help balance out my hormones – it supports the Liver and the Liver is the one taking care of excess hormones – which didn’t just fix my acne, but also my abnormal periods. Right away in the same month, I started taking probiotics my period fixed itself, it became regular – 28 days on the spot! – less painful and shorter. It kept on being just lighter and better along with my skin getting clearer for every passing month, which made me jump to the conclusion that wow everything is fixed now! Until October last year (see chart 2014). Then it suddenly became very late and was intensifying painful.
OCTOBER 2014 | At the time, I went down to live with my mom for two months, and so I blamed that it was the switch of environment and routines, as well as maybe not eating enough that could have been the culprit of this sudden change. From past experience, I’ve noticed that my body is very sensitive to changes and mood, and even though I feel okay, my body could still have picked up on something.
But, even after getting back home and settling down to old and better ways, it still wouldn’t fix itself, which made me wonder if the probiotics had “worn off” so to speak.
SIDE STORY – DECEMBER 2014 | I went to a Past Life Healer. I know how that sounds, though, not in the intention to heal my period. While this is a whole other story in itself (which I’ve been beating myself up to write), it needs to be mentioned because right after going to this healer my period came to a close 28 days and I didn’t feel it at ALL! (see Januray 2015) It also lasted only 4 days in contrast to its regular 6-7 days.
The short story behind this was that I went through a trauma in my past life (the one before the one before this one), and as this trauma was now being fixed by the healer I was promised that my periods would become less painful after this. And what do you know, they actually did looking at the chart!
JANUARY 2015 | I had planned to take probiotics cure once a year around winter time for maintenance, but now I was curious to see if this round of probiotics would fix my period as last time. Also note, that around this time, my skin was starting to break out a little for no apparent reason.
So I went on a second round of two months on probiotics, but this time I didn’t feel like it had the same effect my hormones as last year where I would gain weight and such, nor did my skin get even clearer. But it did seem to do something right. On the second month of probiotics, my menstrual cycle got to a regular 28 days, which it hasn’t been since September last year and was also none to less painful than ever.
MARCH 2015 | But just as I was thinking, well it seems to have fixed itself to its regular cycle… BAM comes March and it’s 3 days late and excruciatingly painful. I had just finished my probiotics cure, but I was starting to see a different pattern, and after stumbling on a study I was starting to wonder if maybe, maybe it does not have anything to do with probiotics?
Because correlation does not imply causation…
Read part two: A Natural Cure to Reduce Menstrual Cramps Part II
What’s your relationship with your period?
Got any remedies for menstrual cramps?
Share in the comments below!