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How I healed postpartum anxiety by addressing my gut health

How I healed postpartum anxiety by addressing my gut health

I know what you’re thinking.

How can you reduce anxiety by addressing your gut health?

But…Does this sound familiar?
  • bloating
  • pain with eating gluten or dairy
  • skin eruptions
  • exhaustion
  • seasonal allergies
  • recurring yeast infections
  • achy joints and muscles
  • eczema

Imagine ….

….what if would be like to not have to worry about your digestion so much

…to feel at ease, when you eat out or at your mother-in-laws

…to not have to bring your own food to parties

The interesting part?

We are never taught how to heal our bodies after having children.

There is only one postpartum doctor’s appointment for you, yet there are several for your child.

Why is that?

So, what’s the answer? The 4R approach.

First… click below for your FREE gut health questionnaire.

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What is the 4R approach?

This method addresses the underlying causes of gut imbalances and restores harmony, helping to alleviate symptoms and maybe even disease.

The program suggests you: Remove> Reinoculate> Repair> Reintroduce

healing stomach lining

How do you heal your gut?

  • Remove all triggers: i.e. all allergens and cross reactors like gluten and dairy.
  • Get off medications (with Dr.’s approval and replace them with natural remedies ).
  • Reduce your stress with meditation, exercise, and botanicals.
  • Heal your gut lining with the 4R approach below.

1. Remove

Take out what ails you.  

The top allergens are:

  • wheat
  • corn
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • peanuts
  • soybeans.

Add in whole grains (like quinoa and rice), organic vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats.

  • Remove allergens for 4-6 weeks {or it may take up to a year to heal your gut if you have an auto-immune disease}
  • Encourage whole, organic foods
  • Consider shopping the perimeter of the grocery store

2. Replace

#1 After 2-4 weeks on the Elimination diet..

#2 Add in bitters

  • I like  Urban Moonshine Bitters
    • This will trigger the digestive system to produce digestive enzymes, secrete bile and balance HCI levels in the stomach.  
    • Take bitters 10-15 minutes before your meal.
    • If you have a lot of nausea with meals or when you take supplements, you might also need some additional stomach acid in the form of a supplement called Betaine HCl, or try 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar in water with your meals. {click on links above to see the companies I love}

3.  Reinoculate

Wait 2 weeks on the elimination diet or up to 6 weeks before adding in a probiotic.

  Adding in a probiotic can give you gas and bloating if you do not remove the allergens first.

  • Add a good quality probiotic to restore your gut flora.  I like Klair probiotics.
  • You want it to have a minimum of 5 billion CFU in each dose, and a good range of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species.
  • Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee can also be a helpful advantage to your gut, add it into your diet 3-4x week. Although very delicious, kombucha can be high in sugar so consider using sparingly.

4. Repair

Include the following supplement for 6-weeks or more to repair your gut.

The following supplements can be taken for up to 6 months to help to heal the intestinal lining:

  • Tumeric- I personally like to take turmeric in a blended tincture like Adrena nourish
  • Aloe vera
  • Marshmallow root powder
  • DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
    • They are best taken in capsule or extract form, though turmeric can also be added to foods.
      • Do you get heartburn?
        • DGL or diglyceride licorice is a great alternative to tums and does not raise your blood pressure. DGL licorice is available as chewable lozenges and thus may be the simplest one to give to kids.
        • Klair labs has one here or Pure encapsulation combines aloe, slippery elm, and marshmallow root together!
  • Zinc: 5-10 mg/day for children 4-7 years, 10-20 mg/day for children to age 12, 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults.
  • An antioxidant supplement
    • Look for one containing vitamins A and carotenoids, C, E, and selenium. 
    • These are often found in a multivitamin.
    • Pregnant women should get these from their prenatal vitamin only.

Conclusion

If you scored high on the gut health questionnaire, these herbal supplements will help you heal your gut and reduce unwanted digestive issues, along with healing anxiety.  Elimination diets alone will not work unless you add in the gut-healing remedies.

Have questions? Send me an email or book a women’s health consultation.

5 Steps To Stop A UTI Naturally, Even If You’ve Tried Everything

5 Steps To Stop A UTI Naturally, Even If You’ve Tried Everything

It’s frustrating when you feel urinary tract discomfort.

What if you could stop it in its track and avoid antibiotics?

Think about this for a moment, when a woman uses antibiotics repetitively, she disrupts her gut microbiome.

This could cause a secondary infection – a yeast infection. Over time, food sensitivities kick in and you find yourself limiting dairy and gluten.

Let me show you how to change this.

But don’t forget, if you are pregnant or have a fever you need to see a doctor and grab those antibiotics.

Urinary Tract Infections (or UTI’s) are so common it’s estimated that several hundred million women will suffer from it annually.¹   

Herbal remedies can be an effective treatment for non-pregnant women with conditions like cystitis (bladder), urethritis (urethra), and even pyelonephritis (kidney) and may even help stop recurrent infections providing relief for clients who have suffered their whole lives.

If you’re pregnant, please consult your doctor or midwife.

What is a urinary tract infection?

UTI’s refers to the presence of microbes anywhere in the urinary tract, ranging from the distal urethra to the kidney. The infection is usually caused by bacteria, particularly E. coli, but may be caused by other bacteria as well.  

Botanical medicine can help reduce the duration of your symptoms, prevent progression to upper UTI, and prevent a recurrence.  Over 56% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetimes, and among those experiencing uncomplicated acute UTI, as many as 20% will have a recurrence within 6 months.  As the use of antibiotics may become less effective because of antibiotic resistance, herbal remedies can heal our gut and reduce re-infection.²

What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?

  • Use of oral contraceptives (doubles the risk of UTI compared with no birth control)
  • History of antibiotic use {disruption of the vaginal flora}
  • Pregnancy {the mechanical pressure of the growing uterus}
  • Age {declining estrogen levels}
  • Constipation
  • Incontinence
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • The occurrence of other disease and excessive catheter use

What are the symptoms of Urethritis & Cystitis {lower UTI}?

  • Sudden onset is typical
  • Dysuria or painful urination
  • Urge to urinate
  • No fever, chills, or nausea
  • WBC is normal
  • Pregnancy women may present with contractions and pelvic pain
  • Achy, crampy or just not feeling well
  • 40% of the woman present with blood in their urine

What are the symptoms of pyelonephritis {upper UTI}?

**Requires antibiotics

  • Gradual onset is typical
  • Symptoms associated with urination may or may not be present
  • Fever, chills, nausea
  • Lower to middle back discomfort- Flank pain
  • WBC count elevated
  • Requires antibiotics; please see your doctor.

What’s the magic formula to stop a UTI?

Consider these lifestyle changes:

  • void at the first urge to urinate
  • urinate after sex (to reduce introducing bacteria)
  • drink adequate fluids
  • avoid contraceptives associated with high UTI’s 
  • dehydration can increase bacterial growth and lead to a UTI
  • use full underwear instead of thongs
  • tampons show a decreased risk (compared to menstrual pads)
  • wipe back to front after a bowel movement
  • avoid bubble baths {irritating soaps}
  • avoid non-absorbent underpants
  • increase Vitamin C intake
  • Drink unsweetened cranberry juice

At first signs of any urianry discomfort, I take Garden of LIfe Urinary Tract+ , drink low sugar cranberry juice and increase my Vitamin C intake.Lower UTI in non-pregnancy women is often easily treated with this simple protocol.

 


5 Steps to decrease urinary tract inflammation and cystitis:

Step #1

Take 3 ml of Echinacea tincture every 2-4 hrs for an acute UTI and immune support.

Step #2

Take a daily probiotic for 4 days. (look for L. Rhamnous and L. fermentum strains.  Garden of Life Urinary Tract works wonders!)

Step #3

Reduce sugar intake & increase your greens!

Step #4

Take 500mg Vit C. every four hours.

Step #5

Add marshmallow root to your drink and sip on it.  Stir 1tbs. of marshmallow leaf and root powder into 4-8oz. of water, let it sit for an hour.  Strain and drink throughout the day.  An easy way to do this would be to sip on Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea.

    • Place the tea bag in a mason jar of cold water and let sit for four hrs.  Sip on all day.

If you do not feel better in 1-2 days, Additionally you can follow this protocol from Dr. Aviva Romm:

What is the natural way of healing Cystitis?

Days 1-2

  • Drink 6-8 oz. of water or diluted, unsweetened cranberry juice alternating every hour throughout the day.
  • Take 3 ml of Echinacea tincture every 2-4 hours.
  • Drink 1/4 cup of uva ursi, dandelion leaf, and marshmallow root infusion four times daily.
  • Take 500 mg vitamin C every 4 hours.
  • If necessary for a spasmodic bladder, take 3 ml of an antispasmodic tincture including equal parts of wild yam, cramp bark, and yarrow.  
  • Take a daily probiotic with  L. Rhamnous and L. fermentum
  • Avoid all sugar, including honey, maple syrup, and other natural sugars.  
  • Avoid sexual activity during treatment

Days 3-5

  • Repeat above but reduce all doses by 50% if feeling better.

It’s easier than you think and sometimes just the probiotic can make a huge shift in your health.

Could this work for you?

Want to stop UTI’s for good? Book a health consultation to learn more.


References:

¹Romm, A. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Churchill Livingstone, 2010; 290-298.

² Bone, K. & Mills, S. Principles, and Practice of Phytotherapy.  Churchill Livingstone, 2013;264-266.

6 Dangers Of Antibiotic Use

6 Dangers Of Antibiotic Use

You’ve heard the rumors… we are facing an epidemic of antibiotic resistance.

Wouldn’t it be great if your doctor had other suggestions when you visited them for your child’s symptoms?

Think about this for a moment, if antibiotics don’t always work and they are causing other health problems, what are we to do?

It all boils down to this.

  • Was your child born via c-section?
  • Have they had 1+ round of antibiotics?
  • Are they struggling with their digestion?
  • Do they have Atopic conditions like allergies, eczema, and asthma?

If you answered yes to one of the questions above, you may want to be concerned.

Reality is, our children may need a round or two of antibiotics while they build their immunity; especially if they are in daycare or the public school system.

But, what if you knew how to use natural remedies to reduce the amount of exposure your child is receiving from antibiotic use?

What if you knew how to heal your child’s gut, so they wouldn’t have these symptoms and fear of antibiotics not working?

Here’s my promise to you.

By the end of this post, you’ll understand why we need to rethink antibiotics and consider integrating natural remedies to boost your child’s immunity for years to come.

95% of clinicians prescribe antibiotics even when they are not absolutely sure they are needed. – Dr. Aviva Romm

 

6 Dangers Of Antibiotic Use

1. Antibiotic Resistance

One of the biggest threats to our global health today is antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization suggests.

“Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.” ¹

Bacterial infections need antibiotics and if you overuse them, they may not work when you need them most. According to the CDC, “Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die.” Source

We have to consider reducing antibiotics and integrating natural remedies.

2. Food Intolerances (gluten/dairy)

If you haven’t heard the word microbiome yet, get ready to learn more. These communities of gut flora run from our mouth to our anus and affect our weight, mood, mental health, and even our immunity. One of the ways we damage this flora is through yup, you guessed it, antibiotics.

And, children born via c-section are already compromised due to the one dose of antibiotics mom gets before surgery.

If you’re planning a C-section, consider Vaginal seeding to protect your child’s gut flora.

When your child’s microbiome is affected, they may have difficulty digesting gluten and dairy – some of the top inflammatory foods we consume.

One way around this is to try Goat’s milk formula or for mom to take dairy out of her diet if breastfeeding. Also, mom may want to take a digestive enzyme to help her digest the milk.

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3. Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the intestinal wall causing headaches, food intolerances, allergies and joint pain in our child’s health.

Medications that lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome In Kids:

  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids
  • NSAIDS
  • Acid reducing medication

If your child is taking these medications regularly, you may want to consider the 4R approach.  Read more about Leaky Gut Syndrom in kids Here.

4. Clostridium difficile

The leading cause of deaths in the hospital, Clostridium difficile or C. diff. is a bacterium that is normally present in the body in small numbers. When they are out of balance with the rest of your gut bacteria – due to antibiotic use or a compromised immune system, they may cause an infection and result in diarrhea.

This bacteria produces a toxin that causes inflammation of the colon and results in varying degrees of diarrhea, sometimes a bloody stool, and could potentially lead to death. Often, children with a compromised immune system have the greatest risk of getting C. Diff. If your child has bloody stool, please have it checked immediately for C. Diff.

C. diff can go hand in hand with Celiac disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease; please have your child checked if you suspect they have C. Diff.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may suggest an antibiotic or to take the probiotic Saccharomyces Boulardi daily to replenish your gut flora. Read more here.

5. Eczema

An inflammatory skin condition, Eczema, affects 1 in 5 children and is increasing each year.  Known as ‘the itch that rashes’ typically begins with the itch and ends with red, scaly skin.  You may also have rough bumps, thick patches or bumps that leak fluid and crust over.

Those with Atopic dermatitis typically have a food allergy to wheat, dairy, peanuts or nuts.

Why is this happening? 3 reasons.

  • Their microbiome is out of balance – possibly due to medications either from mom or baby
  • Child or Mom has an inflammatory diet or a food allergy
  • Environmental toxins

What can you do about Eczema?

  1. Address any gut imbalances in mom or child’s diet.
  2. Consider healing you or your child’s gut with the 4R approach.  Read more about the 4R approach.
  3. Cover the skin with a botanical cream like Calendula.

6. MRSA

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections generally begin as skin infections. The bacterium invades the skin through an open sore, cut, or scrape. For children, the most common source of infection is a simple cut or abrasion.

MRSA is different from other staph bacteria because it has built up a resistance to most of the antibiotics doctors usually use to treat staph infections.

What can you do about it antibiotic resistance?

  1. Encourage your children to wash their hands with just soap and water, NOT antibacterial soap.
  2. Eat grass-fed, antibiotic-free meat, and dairy to reduce exposure to antibiotics.
  3. Consider eating less meat throughout the week
  4. Use the Get Smart website to know when you need antibiotics
  5. Learn how to use botanicals and homeopathy to reduce antibiotics.
  6. Consider having a doula at your next birth to reduce your rate of a C-section
  7. If you have a C-section planned, consider Vaginal Seeding or adding an infant probiotic when breastfeeding.
  8. Express your want to avoid antibiotics
  9. Learn how to heal your child’s gut with the 4R approach if they are presenting with Leaky Gut symptoms

**Ready to learn more? Get on the Home Remedies For Children Waitlist.  Click here. 


References:

¹ https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antibiotic-resistance

6 Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Antibiotics & Why You Should


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16 Herbs Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know About

16 Herbs Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know About

16 Herbs Every Breastfeeding Mom Should KnowIt’s frustrating to begin and continue breastfeeding for the suggested six months to a year.

  • Thrush
  • Cracked nipples
  • Too much milk
  • Too little milk

Wouldn’t it be great if breastfeeding was easier?

We know it is the best food for our child and the benefits extend to the momma as well, as noted by The American Academy Of Pediatrics and here.

But, here’s the thing.. it’s not always that blissful.

Trust me, I tried breastfeeding twins!

I lasted about three weeks and then rushed to Amazon to buy formula at 3:00 am one night.

Chances are you’ve tried breastfeeding and now struggling with one of the many challenges we face – along with sleep deprivation and the stress of raising a little one.

But don’t worry, botanicals can provide great support during this season of your life.

And don’t forget.. not all botanicals are safe while breastfeeding.

The greatest risk occurs 3-10 days postpartum as the child’s tight junctions of their gut may not be closed, and the newborn is the most vulnerable to chemicals ingested by the mother at this time.

It would be wise to wait to use medications, or even essential oils, before two weeks of age due to your child’s immature gut, liver, and kidney function. This kidney clearance capacity increases and becomes fully by 4-5 months of age, therefore as your child grows the concerns of safety and allergies decrease.

“1% of the maternal dose of any medication will enter the milk, and with some exceptions up to about 10%.”

So how can you make breastfeeding a little easier?

In this post, I’m going to share my favorite herbal remedies for moms who are breastfeeding.

2 Botanicals For Sore, Cracked Nipples

Some amount of discomfort will occur with breastfeeding, especially within the first week of latching. Nipples may become sore, cracked and may even bleed. Contact a lactation consultant or midwife if there is continued difficulty or infections due to latching.

#1 Calendula
Calendula is used topically for the treatment of minor inflammations of the skin. Typically used as an oil or salve. Apply to cracked, dry nipples to prevent infection and soothe inflammation. Caution: The oil or salve may stain clothing and although there are no known risks with minimal ingestion, wipe off your nipple before breastfeeding again.

#2 Chamomile
The German Commission E. approves chamomile for the use of skin inflammation and bacterial skin diseases. Chamomile Matricaria oil has demonstrated activity against Candida albicans at the concentration of .7%.¹

Taking preventative steps to support your immune system, rest and apply an herbal salve will prevent cracked nipples which increase your risk of mastitis.

Euphorical Herbals has amazing products for your time of breastfeeding. 

Additional tips to reduce cracked nipples

  • Ensure proper latching
  • If nipples are sore or cracked, gently rinse and pat dry after each feeding
  • Avoid the use of breast pads, when possible, and spend time without a bra
  • Wash nursing bras regularly to avoid infection
  • Treat oral thrush in the newborn with yogurt and probiotics to prevent the spread to the nipple
  • Apply an herbal salve several times a day after nursing and wipe off before nursing again
  • When there is an infection, use an antimicrobial – like Echinacea– to support the mother’s immune system

3 Herbs For Plugged Ducts & Mastitis

Milk ducts can become inflamed, tender and distended creating a ‘plugged duct’, In mastitis, the plugged duct is accompanied by infection.

#1 Phytolacca 30C 

Personally, I liked to take homeopathic medicine when I had mastitis.  Along with Echinacea, this helped resolve the inflammation within minutes.  If you are having these symptoms, consider Phytolacca as a remedy. Click here to purchase. 

Dosing: Take 2 tablets, wait 20 minutes, take another 2 and you should see improvement.

“For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu-like symptoms, or may have a breast abscess threatening.” ¹

#2 Echinacea Tincture

Boost your immunity with Echinacea tincture.  In Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years, Susan Weed recommends a dose of a 1/2 drop for every pound of body weight (so a 130 lb woman would take 65 drops). According to Kellymom.com, this dose can be taken up to 3-5 times per day. Susan Weed says even up to 12 times per day is fine and may be effective.

You can purchase the tincture here.

Dosing: 20-30 drops, 3-4x day

#3 Ashwagandha Tincture (Withania somnifera)

Known as a Category 1, safe adaptogen during breastfeeding, Ashwagandha can help reduce stress and ease the anxiety that may be causing the inflammation during breastfeeding. You can purchase a tincture here. 

Dosing: 20-30 drops, 3-4x day

Read more about natural treatment for breastfeeding moms @ Kelly Mom

5 Signs of Mastitis

  • fever as high as 104
  • local redness, hard tender inflamed area
  • chills
  • achiness
  • exhaustion

Diabetes, steroid use, and oral contraceptives may also increase the risk of candida mastitis.

 

Herbal Treatment For Mastitis

If you are experiencing recurrent breast infections, you may want to be evaluated for adequate nutritional intake.
Particularly see if you are low in:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Vitamin c

Along with good nutrition, consider adding an adaptogen to support your immune system during this stressful time.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) Tincture are considered safe adaptogens during breastfeeding.

Along with supporting your immune system with adaptogens, consider these tips to avoid mastitis.

  • Use compresses of hot water, ginger root or chamomile infusion.
  • Apply a poultice of freshly grated raw potato 2-3x day.
  • Take 1/2-1 tsp. of Echinacea tincture every 2-4 hours.
  • For high fever, drink teas of elderflower and spearmint.
  • To reduce muscle tension drink teas of lemon balm, chamomile, and catnip.
  • To relieve pain tinctures of crampbark, passion flower and hops tinctures can promote sleep and relieve pain.

Increase milk supply

Galactagogues are the main category of herbs that enhance milk production, but you’ll also want to address your stress with botanicals that soothe your anxiety in order to increase milk supply.

12 Herbs To Increase Your Milk Supply

  1. Marshmallow Root  (Althea Officinalis)
  2. Dill  (Anethum graveolum)
  3. Oats (Avena sativa) A cup of oatmeal every morning may help soothe digestion and increase milk supply!
  4. Caraway  (Carum carvi)
  5. Blessed thistle  (Cnicus benefictus)
  6. Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
  7. Goat’s rue (Galega officinalis)
  8. Barley (Hordeum vlugare)
  9. Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  10. Anise seed (not Star anise) Pimpinella anisum
  11. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  12. Chaste berry (Vitex angus castus)

 

How can you increase your milk supply?

Mother's Milk Tea Blend

Ingredients

  • ea Recipe
  • MOTHER’S MILK TEA BLEND
  • • Chamomile Flowers 1 ounce
  • • Dried Catnip 1 ounce
  • • Fennel seeds 1/4 ounce
  • • Dried lavender flowers 1/8 ounce

Instructions

  1. Combine all the herbs.
  2. Put 1 tbs. of the mix in a cup and fill with boiling water.
  3. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain and drink plain or slightly sweetened. Dose; 1-3 cups/day.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
https://taragregorio.com/16-herbs-every-breastfeeding-mom-should-know-about/

Too much milk? Try these herbs to decrease your milk supply.

Conclusion

Botanicals can provide great support during this season of your life.  Particularly if you are getting recurring infections, antimicrobial can support your immune system and decrease your risk of infections.  To increase your supply, adding botanicals can help and then don’t forget to address your stress.

What botanicals do you use to support breastfeeding?

Leave a comment below.


References:

  • ¹https://www.homeopathycenter.org/breastfeeding
  • https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Breastfeeding/Pages/Benefits-of-Breastfeeding.aspx
  • https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/2/496.full
  • https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/herbs/fenugreek/
  • https://lllusa.org/
  • ¹Romm, Aviva, Botanical Medicine For Women’s Health
6 Steps To Reduce PMS

6 Steps To Reduce PMS

What if you never had PMS?

Would it change your monthly symptoms and improve your life?

Follow these 6 steps to reduce the monthly pain and feel free again.

What is PMS?

PMS meaning

PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome refers to the physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the one to two weeks before your period – usually days 14-28.

PMS Symptoms

Symptoms are cyclical and vary between women and often end 1-2 days after your period begins.

Common symptoms include

  • acne
  • tender breasts
  • bloating
  • feeling tired
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • constipation

👉And, PMS can be worse after having children due to hormonal changes.

Also.. there are 4 types of PMS!!

Amazing, right?
PMS

How long does PMS last?

First, it’s important to note, there is a wide range of variations of women’s cycles including timing, bleeding, and symptoms. It’s essential you discover what is “normal” for YOU.  {I LOVE the app My Flo, created by Alisa Vitti, to help you chart your cycle and get to the root of your symptoms.}

What is a ‘normal’ cycle?

Menstruation occurs between the ages of 12 and 50 years and lasts 3-6 days for most women,  arising once in a 25-28 day cycle.  More extended periods (>8days) are associated with anovulation or no ovulation.

The most substantial flow tends to be day 2 of the sequence; loosing about 30-80 ml of blood total.

And, If you are between 30-40 years of age…..

Due to a decline in ovarian function, women between the ages of 30-40 will experience a change in their irregularity, frequency, duration and amount of blood loss during their cycle.  Women in their 30s experience a shortening of their cycle due to increased production of FSH.¹

Then 2-8 years before menopause, the period lengthens again in preparation for the change, the average age of menopause in the US is age 51.

Factors that affect your menstrual cycle

  • Stress
  • changes in light exposure
  • sleep patterns
  • diet
  • travel
  • amount of exercise
  • illness can all affect the endocrine glands (these glands include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands) which determines our cycle.

Other factors affecting our cycle include; a woman’s nutritional status, body weight, attitudes and beliefs about menstruation and environmental and workplace exposures.

PMS Treatment in 6 easy steps

#1 Track your cycle

Use a new app or the calendar on your phone to chart your period.  The first day of bleeding is considered Day 1, Day 14 you may notice some cramping and change of cervical fluid during ovulation, Day 25-28 you may experience some premenstrual symptoms before your period arrives.

Your cycle is unique to you and by tracking it; you can see any changes that may occur and encourage some self-nurturing practices before your period to get back on track. This also can provide valuable detailed information for when you would like to explore a health consultation. 

#2 Eat Whole Foods

  • Overall you want to consume fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and cold water fish.
  • Add a good quality oil (like olive oil or walnuts) and essential fatty acids (think flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds to name a few) to each meal.
  • Stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day by eating often and adding good fats and proteins to each meal.

If you struggle with constipation, add 1 tbs. of flaxseeds daily from day 14-28.  Also, consider removing dairy and meat during the last half of your cycle; especially if you struggle with breast pain as well.

**I like to add mung beans to week 3 of my cycle, filled with B vitamins, they can decrease bloating and PMS symptoms. Alisa Vitti, creator of the Myflo app does a fantastic job of breaking down the foods we need each week during the month to reduce unwanted symptoms.

#3 Exercise

Moving your body most days of the week can improve your mood, reduce stress and encourage bone mineralization which supports a healthy cycle. As your mood changes weekly, your exercise should change too.

  • Day 14-28 you may have more energy and want to run, hike and bike.
  • Day 1-14 you may wish to do more yoga, dance or Pilates. Listening to your body will result in a healthy cycle.

#4 Reduce Stress

Reducing your stress can be very powerful and useful for women with irregular cycles.

  • Cutting out caffeine
  • adequate rest
  • learning to say “no” to events on Day 1 and Day 2 of your period can encourage a positive experience each month.

👉Herbal adaptogens and botanicals that soothe the nervous system can improve your stress response, promote relaxation, reduce cramps, PMS, and bloat each month.  Say bye-bye to Advil and hello to herbs to aid digestion, reduce pains, and ease PMS anxiety.

👉Try these herbal remedies to reduce your stress:https://taragregorio.com/7-natural-remedies-for-everyday-stress-anxiety/

#5 Your Attitudes & Beliefs

Our bodies’ pain creates unhealthy thoughts and poor self-image. By cultivating a sense of nourishment each month, you can begin to enjoy the rest that our cycle allows.  On day one make yourself a cup of tea, journal, go for a walk or curl up in bed with a good book.

One of the first books my mother gave me and I still own is; “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Christine Northrup, M.D. She says

“We can reclaim the wisdom of the menstrual cycle by tuning in to our cyclic nature and celebrating it as a source of our female power.”-Christine Northrup, M.D.

#6 Reduce Environmental Exposures

Chemicals in our environment can mimic estrogen in our bodies, and they are known as exogenous estrogens. Many of these compounds are endocrine disruptors that affect our cycle and also may contribute to reproductive problems and cancers.

To reduce your exposure to these toxins avoid foods that readily absorb the leached material from plastics like dairy foods. By removing plastic from our foods (think plastic-wrapped cheese) and reducing the number of water bottles that touch our lips; we reduce our overall exposure to these harmful chemicals.

You can also reduce your exposure to chemicals by purchasing..

  • organic tampons
  • pads
  • condoms
  • vaginal lube from companies like; organique or sustain.

Conclusion

PMS is common but not normal.  You don’t have to suffer every month and suppress the pain.  Getting to the root of your discomfort will help alleviate your monthly stress and possibly improve fertility.

Your diet, particularly removing dairy and meat, may decrease cramps and breast pain.  By improving elimination with an increase in fiber, you can reduce bloating and constipation and help your body eliminate excessive estrogens.

Tired of suffering every month? Book a health consultation with Tara to learn how diet and natural remedies can change your monthly PMS. 


References

¹Romm, A. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Churchill Livingstone, 2010

Don’t trust botanicals, here are 7 companies to love

Don’t trust botanicals, here are 7 companies to love

Do you want to trust and believe herbs will work for you, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking “is this going to harm me?”

Do you feel like your practitioner is selling you snake oil? That cure-all elixir with false claims.

Or do you have bottles of supplements, you’ve never used for fear of what is in them?

It’s hard to believe some supplements may work for you when you’re not sure what to look for.

One concern is the increase in lead or mercury in our herbal products.

A study published in the August 27, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), demonstrated that one-fifth of U.S.-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic products bought on the Internet contained detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.¹

Purchasing online from a reputable company is important to your health. You want to know exactly what is in the ingredients you are ingesting and if you can trust the company from which you are purchasing.

How to trust your herbal products

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) was created in 1982 and is the voice for the herbal product industry.

When purchasing herbal products look for products that have full labeling. Look for the following on the label:

  • The company notes the full name of botanical on the product.
  • They have an expiration date. Keep in mind, herbal tinctures or tonics that have alcohol can be preserved for years beyond their expiration date. If your product smells bad or you have a gut feeling it is not good, throw it away.
  • The company offers dosing suggestions on the bottle. Herb Pharm has a whole line of products dedicated to children’s health and has the dosing on the bottle.
  • Watch for any ‘red flags’, companies claiming for weight loss or extreme health declarations that seem impossible.
  • Even if they have perfect labeling, you want to look for these additional concerns when consuming botanicals.

Concerns when using herbal medicine

The company you purchase from:

  • Ensures quality control in each product
  • Three companies I love: Herb Pharm, Herbalist & Alchemist and Moutain Rose Herbs offer this information online to their consumers.
  • They use certified organic or pesticide-free plant products that are sustainably harvested.
  • The plant is vibrant, tasty, potent, and consistent
  • The product is proven safe through laboratory analysis.
  • Tests each product to ensure there are no molds or contamination
  • Does not practice product substitution – using another botanical as a substitution
  • Is considerate of temperature control, freshness, and monitor’s quality.
  • Can provide you with an organic certificate, kosher certificate, certificates of analysis, pesticide residue tests, GCMS printouts, and MSDS forms documents to ensure your safety.

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Consumer concerns when using herbal medicine:

  • Watch for potential allergic or idiosyncratic reactions, this is an abnormal sensitivity to a drug which may result in:
    • severe skin reactions – look for skin rashes, itching, or hives
    • anaphylaxis – along with skin rashes, the throat will feel like it is closing up and you have trouble breathing. Take a deep breath, this rarely happens.
    • blood dyscrasias – a disease or disorder of the blood.
    • hepatotoxicity – liver damage.
    • fever or joint pain

Who is at risk for idiosyncratic reactions?

  • Women who are 50 or older
  • Those who are currently using medications
  • If you have:
    • hepatic disease
    • renal ideas
    • If you are malnourished and/or decreased weight
    • If you consume alcohol regularly
    • If you have possible enzyme deficiencies

The most prevalent source of adverse effects is with clients who are currently taking medication. If you are taking the following medication, please check with your doctor and community herbalist before ingesting a new herbal product.

Are you taking these medications?

  • anticoagulants
  • barbiturates
  • insulin
  • cardiac medications
  • NSAIDs
  • oral contraceptives
  • anti-depressants

Please check with your doctor before consuming a new herbal product.

Idiosyncratic reactions occur very infrequently and are independent of dose, and are highly unpredictable. Herb/drug interactions present a higher risk than allergic reactions.  But, if you or your child’s partner has an allergy to the Asteraceae family, it would be important for you to keep this plant away from your child until they are older.

Other concerns when using botanicals:

  • Watch for the timing of use – stop taking botanicals two weeks before surgery for fear of too much bleeding or a bad reaction.
  • Dosage – always check for correct dosing when using any medication.
  • Duration of use

Herbs to avoid with your children (and ages)

  • Basil herb <2
  • Coffee seeds <12
  • Coltsfoot leaves <2
  • Comfrey leaves and roots (externally)<2
  • Eucalyptus <2
  • Jamaica dogwood
  • Lobelia plant
  • Mate leaves <2
  • Oregano leaf <2
  • Peppermint leaves & E.O. <2
  • Senna leaves <12 {ok for kids 2+ for 1x use}
  • Tea leaves <6
  • Uva ursi <12
  • Valerian root <3

For a complete list see: Herbal Contradictions and drug interaction

Who are the 7 herbal companies you can know and trust?

To search for a company you love, head over to the American Herbal Products Association directory of members.

Who is your favorite company to use? Let us know in the comments below.


References:

¹ https://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm050798.htm

Additional resources:

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