Recently, my girlfriend has been having particularly stressful menstrual cycles. As a man, I know that there is no way for me to understand what she is going through from a direct perspective, so I’m relegated to giving her a hug and lending her my shoulder on which to metaphorically cry when she is having a particularly difficult moment. I have heard, throughout the years, that women typically use either an estrogen or progesterone-based birth control pill in order to help to regulate the severity of their cycles; however, after proposing this to her, she told me that her doctor had told her the same, and after trying to do this that it had caused severe medical complications for her in the past, so this is not an option for her.
Personally, I find myself very frustrated. Maybe it is the male gender’s stereotypical need to fix all of the problems around them, for which I am definitely a poster-child, but I find this situation unacceptable. I cannot, in good conscience, tolerate my loved one suffering while I sit idly by and do nothing. As such, I have researched some methods by which she can regulate her cycle with all-natural supplements, and this is what I found:
According to an article entitled “Natural ways to regulate your menstrual cycle,” on the website DeliciousLiving.com written by Laurie Budgar, the key is to “Restore balance.1”
She adds that women can find menstrual cycle pain relief in the following five ways:
Reduce body fat through diet and exercise
Try meditation or a gratitude journal. “You can’t feel gratitude and stress at the same time,” Stanton says.
Consider vitex or black cohosh supplements
Or, if you prefer an Eastern approach, consult an acupuncturist for treatment, which may include traditional Chinese “blood-moving” herbs.
Apply warm castor oil
To stabilize flow, moisten a flannel pack (available at natural products stores; a folded, old T-shirt will do in a pinch) with warmed castor oil; place oil-side down on your lower abdomen with a hot-water bottle on top; cover with a towel. Do this daily for an hour (but not during your period) for a few months; then gradually reduce frequency to twice a month. Your period might initially become heavier or more painful, but that’s just stagnation clearing from the uterus, says Claudia Welch, author of Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life (Da Capo, 2011).
Before your period, do supported versions of standing poses like triangle and half-moon to create space and ease in the pelvic region, Clennell suggests. During your period, restorative yoga postures such as reclining bound-angle pose can restore energy and relax abdominal organs. The rest of the month, practice seated postures, such as seated wide-angle pose, to tone reproductive organs and relieve abdominal tension; and inversions, such as standing forward bends and supported head or shoulder stand, to stabilize hormonal output and regulate flow.
Listen, be supportive
I am not sure which, if any, of these, will help my girlfriend, but at least I can say that I tried to help. She has told me that some of her ex-boyfriends have been far more squeamish about the complications of her monthly cycle, and that, as a result, she just felt uncomfortable discussing it with them later.
I, for one, am glad that she feels that she can talk to me about such a personal matter without reservation. I have always found the female body, with all of its complications, to be a beautiful enigma. It is somewhat a staple for most comedians of both genders to exploit this biological fact for comedic effect. But, this matter should not be something with which we as a society stoke the fires of comedy. It should be assigned all of the respect and solemnity which we would give to any natural, bodily process.
Two genders, showing compassion
I suppose that I am luckier than most. Most women are known to be unpleasant during their cycles because of constant shifting in different hormonal levels. My partner, however, seems to be the same amount of pleasant as always.
She does tend to become more tired than normal, so I try to be more understanding of this. The other night she had come home from an 8-hour shift, and her feet were rather sore. She would have been happy just laying down on the bed and resting, but I took the liberty of getting out the massage oil and giving her a thorough foot-rub for which she thanked me profusely. Similarly, when I have not been well, she has taken just as thoughtful care of me. It just goes to show you that while we as two genders cannot really directly empathize with each other’s problems most of the time, it doesn’t mean that we cannot genuinely show compassion towards each other even if from a state of our mutual ignorance.
- “Natural Ways to Regulate Your Menstrual Cycle.” Natural Ways to Regulate Your Menstrual Cycle. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.