Many women experience symptoms such as bloating, mood swings, fatigue and painful cramps around the time of menstruation, and, while these symptoms are common, this does not mean that they are normal. These are some tips to help bring the menstrual cycle back into balance:
- Wrap up warmly in cold weather and avoid cold foods and drinks during menstruation - Being exposed to cold(including sitting on cold surfaces and swimming in cold water) during menstruation can constrict the free flow of Qi and cause cramps to worsen. Eating very cold foods and drinks is a further drain on energy and can slow down digestion, contributing to bloating.
- Find ways to manage stress - stress can very quickly send the menstrual cycle out of balance and change the length of the cycle. Yoga and meditation are great ways to help reduce and manage stress levels.
- The right exercise at the right time - during menstruation it’s best to stick with gentle exercises and stretches; later in the cycle, particularly in the week before menstruation, higher intensity exercises will be more beneficial.
- Minimise processed food and refined carbohydrates/sugars - a diet high in processed food and sugar will worsen and menstrual cycle symptoms, so it makes sense to cut these from the diet and focus on eating nourishing foods.
- Check for any nutritional deficiencies - supplementation of the following may help symptoms: Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and essential fatty acids. Check with a doctor before taking any supplements.
- Make extra time for rest during menstruation - this is a time when the body will require more rest, and taking rest at this time will help set you up for a healthier, more energised month ahead.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture treatment for irregular cycles and menstrual symptoms has been found to be effective and many women find it reduces or eliminates their PMS and cramps.
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