If you are experiencing a particularly painful period, know that it may be due to an imbalance in your hormones. They may feel uncomfortable, but do not disregard your period pain as normal symptomology. There are other ways of relieving period discomfort that do not require a pill or IUD.
Estrogen and progesterone are the primary hormones in the bodies with uteruses. They are two hormones that vastly change throughout your lifespan. They are inextricably linked to menstruation, with the onset of estrogen and progesterone production at the start of puberty, and a dramatic decrease starting at perimenopause.
Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and the adipose (fat) tissue. An estrogen imbalance leads to bloating, fatigue, hair loss, low or high blood sugar, and fertility difficulties. Progesterone controls the lining of the uterus. The lining of the uterus is thicker, thinner, and completely shed based on the stage of the menstrual cycle. If there is a progesterone imbalance, it might produce headaches, mood swings, mental health disorders, or menstrual irregularity.[1,2]
Estrogen-mimicking hormones can be found naturally in several different foods, such as flax seeds, soybeans, and sesame seeds, which have been loosely found to benefit those experiencing a decrease in estrogen production. However, there have been considerable arguments made for the ingestion of certain vitamins to ensure that whatever estrogen is naturally produced in the body will be optimally utilized.[1,2]
Vitamins such as B-12 and boron are thought to help in estrogen absorption. Vitamin D and DHEA have been found to aid in estrogen production. Magnesium and calcium help with cramping and other menstrual effects. DIM, found in foods like broccoli and cabbage, and Chrysin, found in foods like carrots and honey, help regulate estrogen and reduce negative symptomology of a hormonal imbalance, but these plant nutrients have also been found to reduce the risk of estrogen-based cancers.[1,4]
Ayurvedic medicine has accumulated several natural herbs and minerals that help provide natural relief of the negative effects of menstruation and menopause, through increasing estrogen and progesterone in the body. There are multiple natural remedies to rebalance hormones, such as Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, raspberry leaf, and Chasteberry.[2,3]
Dong Quai and Chasteberry aid imbalanced hormone symptomology because of premenopausal, like PMS, hormonal acne, and infertility. Raspberry leaf helps to relax blood vessels, which provides relief from menstrual cramping, and it sometimes is used to help relax the blood vessels in the pelvic and pubic regions during labor in order to experience an easier delivery. Black Cohosh, on the other hand, aids menopausal people’s negative symptoms, like hot flashes, mood instability, unpredictable sweating, etc.[2,3]
There is no wrong way to approach periods and menopause. Birth control and other hormone supplementation has been found to provide great relief, as well as comfort, for some people, while others prefer a more natural approach. It is important to note that not all the herbs and minerals previously mentioned are safe to ingest during pregnancy. You should consult your doctor before trying any of these ayurvedic techniques.
1. Lockett, E. (2019). 12 natural ways to boost estrogen in your body. Healthline.
2. Krista (2020). 8 herbs to balance female hormones. Composed nutrition.
3. Mayo, J. (1998). Black cohosh and chasteberry: herbs valued by women for centuries.
Clinical nutrition insights. 6(15).
4. Brady, D. (2020). FemGaurd + Balance. Designs for health.
Author: Katrina Peavy
Editor: Lauryn Agron
Health scientists: Rashda Saima and Jonn'ea Williams