Period Problems: What your hormones are trying to tell you.

First of all, severe pain, mood swings, food cravings, heaviness, bloating and other period problems are NOT something you need to live with. They're a signal that something is imbalanced. A lot of women take birth control pills or use hormonal IUDs to manage painful periods or other PMS symptoms such as acne, mood issues and heaviness. This can work, but isn't always a long term solution, especially if you're looking to get pregnant, are breast feeding, or have a history of blood clots and you aren't a candidate for synthetic hormone use.

Some of the top period problems I treat in my practice are: Painful and/or heavy periods, migraines around menstruation and cyclical acne that shows up monthly. Each one of these is related to a hormonal imbalance that needs to be corrected. The cause of the hormone imbalance can be nutritional (fatty acids, b-vitamins), hormone elimination pathway errors (liver, bowel), or it could be a genetic cause aggravated by environmental, nutritional and lifestyle patterns. 

Painful and/or Heavy Periods: These are the most common menstrual complaints in my office by far. Many women are bleeding an excess amount each month which can lead to low iron levels, fatigue, and issues of avoiding activity, exercise and so on. Using hormone testing, we can determine the specific cause of the painful or heavy periods but often it is an issue of hormone elimination. If the bowels are sluggish or constipated, it can be difficult for the body to eliminate estrogens effectively. Optimizing digestion can help treat painful periods.

Migraines Around Menstruation: When a headache is severe enough to keep you from working, going to school or taking care of your kids, it's a huge problem. When that headache that debilitating comes on every month right before your period? That's just cruel. It's also not permanent. If digestion is in check and the bowels are working well, the next step is to consider the building blocks for healthy hormones such as B-vitamins and fatty acids. 

Cyclical Acne: Breakouts around menstruation are typical of the change in your hormones that happens around menstruation. Deep cystic acne lesions along the jawline, chest or back, can be a sign of issues with testosterone. If you have painful acne lesions that take a long time to heal, combined with an irregular period you may need to work on your blood sugar and testosterone levels to regulate your period and clear up your skin. 

The most important thing to know about period problems is that you don't have to live with them! Most menstrual issues are treatable including those I haven't talked about like mood swings, irregular periods, food cravings and so on.