Your period is irregular, insufferable, or generally loathsome. Your doctor suggests you go on a birth control pill, or some other form of birth control.Your symptoms go away and you begin to see the semblance of a “normal” period. Sweet! Until you start experiencing a plethora of other symptoms. Sound familiar?
It also sounds familiar to Nicole Jardim, otherwise known as “The Period Girl.” As a teen, she dealt with irregular periods, and at the time thought it was awesome. No period pain? No worry about bleeding? Sounds great. Except it wasn’t great; something was wrong. So she went to the doctor and was put on a birth control pill. She became like many pill-popping teens, easing menstrual symptoms, and having regular periods. Until she began experiencing hair loss, melasma, UTIs, yeast infections, and an influx in gut health issues. She even had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic intended to treat a UTI, which landed her in the ER. Like most of us, she knew something was wrong but shrugged it off.
She eventually shared her list of symptoms with an acupuncturist. He told her, “I think it’s your birth control pill.” That’s when the first switch flipped. She stopped taking the pill and led a pretty symptom free life. That is until an intensely stressful work environment put her body in turmoil. She began experiencing a resurgence of symptoms, and the second switch was flipped. She enrolled at a nutritional institute to study hormones and become a health coach.
Women have an unhealthy relationship with hormones, according to Jardim. “Women in their 20s, 30, even 40s think of hormones as puberty, menopause, hot flashes, and period problems and they don’t relate it to what’s really going on with their overall health and menstrual cycles,” she says.
MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PERIODS
Jardim explained to us there are two major myths surrounding periods and your menstrual cycle:
MYTH #1: YOU CAN GET PREGNANT EVERY DAY OF YOUR CYCLE.
“This is something I’ve continuously had to debunk,” Jardim told us. Many women are under the impression you can get pregnant at any point during your cycle. But fertilization doesn’t happen randomly, and there’s actually a quite short window of time (about 1-2 days within a cycle, according to Jardim) in which you can actually become pregnant.
“It’s important for us to recognize this, because [when we do] it creates a kind of paradigm shift,” she continues. “The pressure of preventing pregnancy is often pushed onto the woman. After all, it’s our egg, right? Well yeah, but we are only able to fertilize it for a few days of the month. Men, however, are fertile every day of the month. Yet the burden of birth control is thrust upon us as women.”
The goal of Jardim’s programs and teachings revolve around women learning the ebbs and flows of their own cycles. She teaches women what their bodies should be doing during each stage of the menstrual cycle, because once they understand their own bodies, they can begin to take control.
MYTH #2: PERIODS ARE PAINFUL AND IT’S NATURAL TO SUFFER THROUGH THEM.
Periods suck, sure. But you’re not meant to suffer. “The normalization of women’s pain across the planet is astounding,” Jardim professes. Doctors are quick to push band-aid medications and solutions to mask problems women often face during their periods instead of getting to the root of the problem. “I call your period symptoms ‘Period Red Flags’. Something along the way broke or malfunctioned, and your period is the first thing telling you something is wrong.”
Bottom line: It’s not ok to be agonising every day, bleed through your clothes, or loose your mind. We’re desensitised to PMS and period symptoms so much, that we don’t take ourselves seriously when we exhibit these symptoms. But it’s not normal, and you don’t have to put up with it.
NICOLE’S KEY TIPS TO HORMONE BALANCE
There are no quick fixes to balance your hormones, however, Nicole did share a few of her top tips to get things on the right track.
BE AWARE: Figure out what your symptoms are and what may be causing them. She recommends tracking your cycle, but also to go further. When do symptoms occur? What does your period blood look like? When does your period come, and how long does it last? Pay attention to your cervical fluid—Does it get wetter as you approach ovulation and begin to dry out after? If it doesn’t, you may be dealing with estrogen dominance. the observation and figured out what your period and cycle looks like, then you can take action to begin fixing the problem.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH YOUR DIET?: Everyone’s favorite advice: eat better. We want fast results, but getting your hormones balanced takes serious effort. Integrate more veggies into yourdaily diet. It’s a very basic thing to do but very beneficial. Jardim also let us in on a secret: Our perception of gut health is wrong.
Digestion is a critical factor in our hormone health. She suggests chewing your food 25-30 times, to ensure your gut isn’t put under stress and has energy to absorb all of the good nutrition it’s getting. Also, supplements aren’t an enemy. Hormone imbalances are usually caused by a nutrient deficiency of some sort. A few she suggests considering are Magnesium, a multi-vitamin, and zinc, iodine, or selenium, as well as a possible B-Complex or multi-mineral supplement. However, she urges to fix your food intake first, and then see if you’re deficient.
GET YOUR STRESS UNDER CONTROL: And lastly, balancing your hormones requires getting your stress levels under control. Our brain tells our gut to do all sorts of things throughout the day. But when we’re under immense stress, it tells our gut it’s not needed, thus throwing our hormones all out of sync. Do what you can to relax.
Take Nicole’s FREE period quiz to get a custom report based on your unique physiology, and discover what’s up with your period — in less than 10 minutes.