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Healthy Periods | Guide to a healthy normal period

 

From the middle school days to our late 30’s our periods come, on average, once a month, and they’re often unwelcome. Mood swings, hot flashes, period poops, blood, cramping, and a few headaches later, it’s no wonder why the majority of menstruating women hate their periods. But, what if someone told you that you don’t need to suffer during this time of the month? We know... You likely would not believe us and we can’t blame you. However, there is a path forward and a way to experience happy, health periods.

 

First, let’s go back to the basics; Why do we have a menstrual cycle? To get pregnant! Yes, our sole function as human beings is to reproduce, and that’s why we a menstrual cycle and reproductive organs. As part of the menstrual cycle, we experience a period. That’s what happens as a result of not getting pregnant.

The menstrual cycle can be broken down into 4 different phases (based of the average 28-day cycle):

  • Period phase - Cycle days 1-7 for most women.
      • This is when you’re actively bleeding - AKA shedding your uterine lining!
      • The contractions of the uterus are what cause the cramps during your period.
      • Your hormone levels are suppressed during this phase and not communicating - sort of like taking a nap.

 

  • Follicular - Happens post bleeding and before ovulation.

 

        • This is when your hormones wake up and start communicating
        • Estrogen levels rise as does FSH
        • FSH helps recruit and grow a mature egg which leads to the ovulation phase

 

  • Ovulation - Occurs around cycle day 14
      • A 48-hour window
      • A surge in Luteinizing hormone causes the mature follicle to release the egg from the ovary and travel down the fallopian tube.
      • The follicle sac that’s left behind is called a corpus luteum which secretes the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

 

  • Luteal - last 12 days of the cycle.
      • E2 and P4 are released by the corpus luteum in an effort to thicken the uterine lining and prepare for a pregnancy.
      • If implantation does not occur resulting in pregnancy then your cycle starts all over again with a period.

 

What’s a “normal” cycle?

It’s when ovulation occurs and your uterus preps to carry and support a pregnancy! The cycle usually happens every 28 days, however, lot’s of women vary between 21 and 35 days.  When you’re cycle is a normal length, it means your hormones are talking to each other and the feedback loop within the reproductive system is working!

 

What’s abnormal?

We get this question all the time! Here’s a graphic to help you out:

    • Start tracking/timing your cycle
        • You can do this naturally, you don’t necessarily need an app to help you track. This will help you figure out what phases of the cycle your body’s in and how you feel during each stage.
    • Pay attention to body changes
        • Pay attention to your discharge (think, thin)
        • Breasts
        • Do you feel your ovaries?
        • What type of foods are you craving?

What can help support a normal menstrual flow?

    • Listen to your body:
        • Are you stressed out? This can spike your cortisol levels which can impact your cycle. Try to stick to food that are lower on the glycemic index like proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats.

 

    • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet:
        • Fats, carbs, dairy
        • Eat a Mediterranean diet
        • Watch out for too much sugar!

 

    • Watch your weight:
        • Over/under can impact your cycle
        • Pay attention to your exercise habits.

 

  • Get your vitamins and minerals - how BINTO can help!
        • The B vitamins like B6 and B12. These help with fatigue, headaches, mood, and irritability.
        • DHA is great for helping you get in healthy fats. It’s an anti-inflammatory and may help you have less intense cramping while on your period.
        • NAC or N-acetyl-L-cysteine is an antioxidant that helps regulate promotes regular ovulatory function.
        • Probiotics are a must! These good bacteria stains help keep your gut flora in good health and the gut system is connected to your brain and reproductive systems. Probiotics help with bloating/digestion, mood, skin and they prevent against yeast infections and UTIs.
        • Magnesium is one of our favorite minerals. This is key in fighting stress and helps you relax during any phase of the menstrual cycle.

What about cramps?

Here are Nurse Suzie’s top tips for managing period cramps:

  • Watch your sugar intake - spikes in blood sugar and cause your cramps to be more intense and they can impact your menstrual cycle.
  • Get DHA! This healthy fat helps fight inflammation in the body.
  • Hot water bottles - Yes, I know they are old-school, but they do the trick. The heat helps decrease the muscle contraction of the uterus.
  • Sex. You did read that correctly. Orgasm also help relieve the uterine cramping thus diminishing our pain.
  • Working out
  • Good old Advil  - sometimes you just need it!

 

There you have it! Our guide to maintaining and finding a normal menstrual cycle. It's important to remember that your menstrual cycle tells you many things about your body; your fertility, your stress level, your diet, and if you have any underlying conditions that need more medical attention. BINTO's line of supplements are specifically formulated to help women have healthier, happier periods.

 

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