One of the first challenges women are thrown as we enter puberty is regulating our menstrual cycles. However, most women are not well educated on how to balance their cycles and are simply pushed on “the pill” at a young age to “regulate” it for them (Let me know if you would be interested in a post all about birth control pills in the comments below!)
Despite the lack of practical advice out there on how to regulate your menses, there actually are effective ways to balance your menstrual cycle and the hormones involved within. Read on to discover 6 simple ways to naturally balance your menstrual cycle.
Become aware of hormone disruptors + learn how to avoid them
What are hormone disruptors exactly? These are chemicals, additives, and other substances which can disrupt our delicate hormone balance. As you might already know, our hormone levels dictate many aspects of how our cycle plays out each month.
A simple way to start clearing your life of hormone disruptors is heading to your natural food store to buy your cleaning, beauty, paper products, and food from there instead of the general supermarket. Generally, products obtained from natural-based stores are free from the major hormone disruptors so you can purchase products with less stress.
However, even natural stores can carry products with hormone disruptors as well. So when you are ready to take your practice to the next level, write down the ingredients to avoid before going to the store and reference while shopping. Contact me for a free handout I made on hormone disruptors, listing the most common ones we encounter organized by category and my recommended brands to swap them out with.
2. Start taking a biphasic formula
Formulating client-specific herbal biphasic formulas is one of my go-to methods for helping women balance their menstrual cycles. A biphasic formula is essentially a formula taken in two phases.
In this instance, the client would take one formula during the follicular phase and another in the luteal phase. Our menstrual cycle wants to operate on a consistent rhythm month to month (hence why we use the word “cycle”!) Taking a biphasic formula to promote our body’s natural hormone levels during each phase can help re-stabilize this rhythm faster and more effectively.
Curious to learn more about biphasic formulation for menstrual support? Contact me for more information, customized herbal formulations, and dosing strategies.
3. Keep your blood sugar levels balanced
This suggestion might seem a little left-wing but it is truly essential for maintaining menstrual balance! Knowing that our hormone picture guides our menstrual symptoms, cycle length, and fertility, consider what happens when your blood sugar levels get thrown off. Moving glucose to the brain is one of our endocrine system’s core functions. If we poorly manage our blood sugar every day, then the rest of our endocrine system, including the hormonal cascade affecting our menstrual cycle, will be thrown out of whack.
For example, pretend you start your day with a coffee and sweet pastry then continue to follow the waves of highs and lows all day until you crash into sleep again. Following this pattern of spikes and dips in our glucose levels is read by the endocrine system as a stressor. Ideally, our glucose levels would be riding a steady even line, not one filled with tumultuous waves. When we ride this “blood sugar roller-coaster” day in and day out, our entire endocrine system can become thrown off. Our adrenals start producing excess amounts of cortisol and adrenaline as a response, creating a long stress-induced hormonal response to follow.
So how do we keep our blood sugar levels balanced? It can be a tricky process that takes some time! Mindful eating and food selection can make a huge impact. Here are my top 3 tips for getting your blood sugar levels stabilized:
Eat a balanced breakfast every morning within 1.5 hours of rising. This should include carbs, fat, and protein.
Eat 3 meals per day at relatively the same time each day. This daily consistency can work wonders for achieving the blood sugar balance you seek.
Lunar gazing is a practice I personally adopted years ago and have seen beautiful results with clients, friends, and other women I encounter who practice it. The ritual is simple and refreshing. Simply go outside every night for at least 1-5 minutes (longer if weather and time permits) and gaze at the moon (or the dark night sky if the moon is new). If you live in an area with a lot of artificial light at night, try blacking out your room completely at night and turning on a nightlight for 3 days around ovulation. The light at night triggers our pituitary glands to begin the hormonal cascade of ovulation, just like gazing at the full moon would.
Since the lunar cycle is a consistent rhythm, and the moon itself is pulled by the watery tides of Earth, by gazing at the moon our predominantly water-based bodies can mirror the moon’s rhythmic cycle. There is a reason our menstrual cycles are also called our “moon cycle.” Traditionally women’s menstrual cycles have synced with the moon and women would use the phases of the moon as a sign for telling them how fertile they were, when they could expect their bleed, or when they would give birth.
Your cycle does not need to be exactly 29.5 days long to be balanced or “regular.” But the length should be relatively consistent month to month and fall within the range of roughly 25-32 days long.
5. Get your nutrient levels in check
Oftentimes when we are deficient in an essential nutrient, this can display in our symptom and menstrual pictures. How this displays is different for every woman and the type of deficiency they are dealing with. While I would recommend booking a private consultation to help determine what your specific nutrient deficiencies are, what patterns they present in the body, and how you can bring them back into balance through your diet and supplementation, there are a couple places you can start on your own:
Try taking a high-quality multivitamin. If you have any minor deficiencies in your vitamin and mineral intake, a good quality multivitamin can help fill those in.
Supplement with Fish Oil and Magnesium. For women who experience intense cramping at the very onset of menstruation, a prostaglandin (a group of lipids in the body which modulate inflammation) imbalance can be the cause. Fish Oil and Magnesium can offer amazing support to help rebalance your prostaglandin levels and thus regulate your premenstrual symptoms.
Focus on eating a diet abundant in fresh fruit and vegetables.
Source adequate protein for your body weight and activity level every day from good-quality nuts and seeds, sprouted legumes, and fish or lean meat protein.
Incorporate healthy fats at every meal, ensuring you only use high-heat oils for cooking.
6.Get a new professional opinion!
If you have tricky, long-lasting, or concerning symptoms on the table, be sure to consult with a medical professional for evaluation. I always recommend my clients to focus on building a “health team” they can draw from and choose who to consult with whenever needed. In this way, you can go to your Gynecologist or MD to receive a proper diagnosis or evaluation, then consult with your Clinical Herbalist or another alternative health practitioner for guidance and direction on how to work with your concerns from the root.
If one of your practitioners is no longer serving you or you intuitively feel wrong about a diagnosis (or lack thereof), get a second opinion! Try switching practitioners and/or introducing a new type of practitioner into your health team. At the end of the day, you want to feel supported by those on your health team and in your healing process.
I hope this article offered you new insight on how you can start balancing your menstrual cycle naturally and effectively starting today! I have experienced many struggles with my menstrual cycle and want to offer support for all the ladies who struggle out there too. Feel free to contact me directly or comment below with any questions you might have. And please share this article with any other women out there you know could benefit from these suggestions and information.