How This Menstrual Cycle Went

How This Menstrual Cycle Went

Pages from my planner/journal

I love to keep track of how my menstrual cycle is going in my planner. This is because I am still trying to figure out my body and see how I can make my cycles easier.

This past cycle is an example of a bad one for me and I wanted to share it!

A reminder of what our hormones do

Our hormones fluctuate in different ways throughout our cycle. Here is a brief overview of what they do in a 28 day cycle and what we may feel because of it:

Days 1-7: On these days, estrogen levels are up. This is when we usually are bleeding if we do get our periods. For some, these days provide relief of symptoms that may have occurred leading up to their bleeding. For others, the uncomfortable feelings continue or get worse.

Days 8-14: This is when estrogen and testosterone are high. Many may feel great at this time-mentally and physically. Those that are really sensitive to hormonal fluctuations may report PMS-type symptoms.

Days 15-22: The first part of this time in our cycles has progesterone levels rising as estrogen and testosterone fall. Estrogen rises up again towards the end. One may have mild PMS pop up from time to time during these days. This is also when more fat is burned.

Days 23-28: Estrogen and progesterone plummet during this time. This is typically when one will have more intense PMS symptoms if they get any at all.

As far as PMS symptoms go, there are said to be 150 different ones. Here is a list of them: https://drlisawatson.com/150-symptoms-of-pms

My recent, 28 day cycle

Days-

1-2. A little bit on the sad side. No real physical symptoms aside from bleeding.

3-9. Happy and motivated. Bleeding ended on day 5.

10. Horrible GI issues including stomach burning/cramping, severe bloating and intense nausea. Also, moody throughout the day.

11. Still felt sick but better than the day before.

12-17. Happy and motivated for the most part.

18. Horrible issues early in the morning- crampy abdomen, pain in ovaries, nausea, bloating, gassiness, irritability, air hunger and increased heart rate.

19. Full on PMS symptoms- headache, fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea early in the morning, air hunger, increased heart rate and moodiness the whole day.

20. Happy, feeling slightly sedated and lightheadedness.

21. Calm and happy.

22. Horrible day- Insomnia, crying spells, bloating, nausea, headaches, post nasal drip and feelings of panic.

23. Feeling off-balanced, neck pain, focused, motivated and itchy.

24. Pink eye, neck pain, itchy, motivated, calm and really hungry in the evening.

25. Itchy, really hungry, sad and groggy.

26. Really hungry, mild body aches, smelling like blood and craving chocolate.

27-28. Feeling cute for whatever reason, forehead zit showed up and had a good amount of energy.

Why did I have so many physical issues?

I can not figure that question out for myself.

I did not change my diet, take new supplements nor did my sleep habits change (in a bad way). Stress was also not a problem during this cycle.

After looking this all over, my thoughts have gone to a possible COVID-19 reinfection despite a negative swab test (they can be wrong) during this cycle. I am unsure of this though.

I have continued to take vitamin B6 each day but I do not think it is helping that much. Also, I had been trying out hemp for nausea but I determined that it was causing stomach pains so I did not use it during the cycle.

All that being said, I have no idea what makes my cycles more severe seemingly every other month. *Shrug*

Health Journaling will happen daily

Although I have not figured out what to do to make my cycles easier on me, I will still write down how I am feeling each day. Hopefully in the near future I will be able to look at my journals and find a clear pattern(s) that will lead to a reduction in symptoms.

Do your menstrual cycles vary in their intensity like mine do? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

#menstrualcycles #periodproblems #pcos #womenshealth #hormones #sick #symptoms #journals

Fertile Window Flu: Yes, It Happens!

Fertile Window Flu: Yes, It Happens!

Feeling sick sucks! Especially when it is every month.

We hear a lot about PMS and the misery it can cause for some women. Less is heard about the hormonal misery that can occur during other parts of our menstrual cycles.

If you find that you feel sick around the time that you ovulate, you are not alone! We shall call this the, “fertile window flu”.

When our fertile windows are

The windows in time in which we may fall pregnant during our cycles, depends on the length of our cycles. This varies in every woman.

They say that our chances of getting pregnant are the highest about five days before and the day of ovulation. Many healthcare experts will throw out day 14 of our cycles as being when many women ovulate. This is based on a 28 day cycle which is considered average.

The shorter your cycle the earlier you ovulate. The longer your cycle, the later you ovulate. This puts us at the possibility of ovulation occurring on days 8-22.

Hormones during our fertile windows

Our hormones do different things at different times during our cycles. When we are in our fertile windows our estrogen and testosterone get higher.

Another hormone called the luteinizing hormone (LH), also gets higher at this time in our cycles. Its surge is what triggers ovulation to happen.

The fertile window flu

The same flu symptoms that can be caused by the hormones leading up to our periods, can happen during our fertile windows.

For women that also deal with PMS, experiencing the fertile window flu can make it feel like they only get a few days of feeling well each cycle. This can be really frustrating to them.

Another unfortunate thing about the fertile window flu is that it can be just as bad or even worse than the PMS symptoms one may experience. The following is a list of symptoms that can comprise the fertile window flu:

  • Chills
  • Brain fog
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Body aches
  • Bloating
  • GERD flare-ups
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sore throat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Insomnia
  • Elevated temperature

Sound familiar? It can be just like a real flu. In addition to these flu-like symptoms during the fertile window, women may experience ovulation cramps on top of it. Not cool!

Why the fertile window flu happens

Some women are just incredibly sensitive to hormonal changes which may cause the flu symptoms. Other causes for this happening can include actually being sick, experiencing stress, starting a new diet, changing/starting medication and starting supplements.

What to do if you experience this flu

If a woman deals with the fertile window flu and/or the period flu (let’s use this term to mean PMS here), there are some things they can try to eliminate or reduce the symptoms. They are as follows:

  • Birth control- Going on hormonal birth control may help balance out your hormones so that your body responds to them in a less harsh way.
  • Change up your diet- It could be wise to look at the food you eat and change things up. Some women have reported that they have had easier cycles after cutting out extra sugar and dairy.
  • Have better sleep hygiene- Getting a good amount of sleep (they say 8 hours a night) is important for our bodies. Crappy sleep can mess up our cycles.
  • Stress relief- A lot of stress can affect us physically in negative ways. It is important to practice stress relief techniques if you find it to be a significant problem. These techniques can include meditation, Yoga, listening to nice music and engaging in favorite hobbies.
  • Treat the pain- If you experience pain during these times in your cycle, there are some things you can do for it. These include taking pain relievers, CBD oil, hot packs, warm baths and slathering on Vicks VapoRub.
  • Treating nausea and GERD- There are quite a few OTC products that you can take to ease these types of symptoms. They include ginger (comes in many forms), chamomile tea, red raspberry leaf tea, peppermint (tea, candy, essential oil), vitamin B6, Pepcid and antiemetics (such as Zofran and Meclizine).
  • Treat bloating- Bloating can happen during both the fertile window and PMS. It can be treated by doing certain Yoga moves, drinking peppermint tea, drinking dandelion root tea, taking warm baths and possibly using Gas-X.
  • Treat sore throats- It may seem crazy that our hormones can cause sore throats, but it does happen. To treat a sore throat, you can use the same things that work for when you have an actual flu or cold. This includes sucking on throat drops, drinking hot teas (red raspberry leaf, chamomile, turmeric etc.) and putting Vicks VapoRub on your throat area.
  • Treating the chills- This sensation with or without a fever, is extremely uncomfortable. To deal with them you can rub yourself down with Vicks VapoRub, take Tylenol, drink hot teas, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
  • Treating exhaustion- If you are feeling utterly exhausted, the best thing to do is try to rest as much as possible if you can. Pushing through it may make things worse for you.
  • Treating nasal issues- To treat a stuffed up or a runny nose, there are a few things you can do. These include using a humidifier, saline nose sprays, breathing in peppermint essential oil and staying hydrated.
  • Treating diarrhea- Yes, hormones can cause this yucky symptom. To treat it you have to make sure you stay hydrated and you can also use Imodium (an anti-diarrheal medication). If you are actually sick though, Imodium is not recommended.

These are just some ideas and there are probably even more ways to deal with the hormonal flu.

It is also a great idea to track down the hormonal symptoms you have each day in your cycle along with your moods, diet and exercise. This will help you notice patterns in how you feel and to really see what helps or makes things worse. You can get yourself a nice health journal or just us a notebook.

Other things one can experience during their fertile window

There are other uncomfortable symptoms that some women have to deal with when they are in their fertile windows. They are as follows:

  • Acne and/or oily skin
  • Cravings
  • Worsening of mood
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Bleeding and irritated gums
  • Excess thirst
  • Itchiness/rashes

My experience with the fertile window flu

Ever since I gave birth, I have dealt with moderate to severe physical symptoms during my fertile window. It has been really tough.

The fertile window issues I deal with include horrible nausea, lightheadedness, gassiness, bloating and painful cramping. Sometimes these occur only two out of the six days and other times it lasts the full six days.

I have been through the gamut of testing which has never led to any answers. It was not until I began to track my cycles more that I realized my issues were hormonally related.

My doctors have prescribed me birth control pills and anti-depressants. The problem is that birth control makes me feel even worse (I have tried several) and I am not interested in taking anti-depressants.

Since there really is nothing else a doctor can do for me, I have taken my health into my own hands. This involves me taking antiemetics, staying hydrated, using hot packs and taking Tylenol (does not always work that great unfortunately).

From now on I will also be drinking red raspberry leaf tea everyday to see if it helps anything.

You are not alone

If you find yourself feeling physically miserable during the mid-point of your cycle, know that there are many other women who feel the same. It is really unfortunate that some of us have to go through this as it can really get in the way of life.

Hopefully, the ideas to help get through the fertile window flu will be of use to anyone that is reading this and has to deal with it.

Thanks for reading!

#periodproblems  #womenshealth  #menstrualcycle  #hormones  #sick  #symptoms  #supplements

Is This PMDD? I certainly Think So!

Is This PMDD? I certainly Think So!

This is my mood certain days of the month.

Something sure is up with me. My menstrual cycle symptoms in general are just ridiculous.

In doing one of my many Google searches for other’s experiences with severe hormonal issues, I came across a condition called PMDD. I decided to look into this more and talk about in this post!

What is PMDD?

PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and is considered the severe form of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). It is said to affect about 5% of women.

Here are some symptoms of PMDD:

  1. Extreme mood shifts- Changing between different moods
  2. Extreme moods- Intense depression, aggression, anxiety, paranoia etc.
  3. Physical symptoms- Heart palpitations, fatigue, cravings, breast pain, bloating, GI upset etc.
  4. Brain fog
  5. Sensory sensitivity

Some of the things listed above can occur with PMS but the difference is that they are more intense and disrupting of life with PMDD.

Doctors diagnose women with this condition if they experience at least five symptoms that are intense and get in the way of their daily lives. The following is an example of a PMDD diagnosis profile:

  1. Severe depression
  2. Feeling like people in their life do not like/love them
  3. Lack of interest in things that they normally like
  4. Binge eating
  5. Quitting jobs suddenly based on temporarily heightened emotions
  6. Bad insomnia

If one is wondering whether they have PMDD, it is a great idea to keep track of the symptoms they experience each day of their cycle. A health planner would be wonderful for this or just a regular notebook.

The cause of PMDD is not well known. It is postulated that women who fit the diagnosis criteria are just extremely sensitive to hormonal fluctuations that occur each menstrual cycle.

The current PMDD treatment options are as follows:

  1. Diet- cutting out caffeine, excess sugars, and alcohol.
  2. Antidepressants
  3. Birth control pills- Examples of some that may help PMDD more than others include Seasonique, Amethyst, Mirena and Lo Loestrin FE.
  4. Getting good sleep
  5. Supplements- Some have had success with calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium and fish oil.
  6. Meditation

There have been some reports of women with PMDD having success with micro dosing psilocybin, CBD and weed to treat their symptoms. It is important to look into these three things before trying them out.

My hormonal issues

Like I said before, my menstrual cycle symptoms are bad! I have always had discomfort at certain days during the month but ever since I had a child, things have gotten much worse.

Here are all of the lovely things I deal with during my menstrual cycle:

  1. Intense bouts of sadness during fertile window and before my period starts.
  2. Massive cravings
  3. Quick to anger
  4. Extreme Irritability
  5. Feeling like I am worthless and dumb.
  6. Can not stop thinking about the sexual/emotional abuse I endured at 14-15 years old.
  7. Severe GI upset and bloating
  8. Panic attacks and anxiety
  9. Trembling legs
  10. Severe itching

These problems have definitely disrupted my life in that they have led me to quit jobs. I find it so hard to work when I am dealing with all these things going on.

If having severe menstrual cycle symptoms were more common than it is, I do not believe that many women would be able to be successful in the workforce. Feeling extremely upset, enraged, mentally fogged up, panic stricken, like you are going to throw up all the time and more is not conducive to successful days at work.

I have PMDD

I am just going to go ahead and diagnose myself with this condition. There is no use having a doctor’s appointment for it because they will not help me at all.

I have been trying for a long time to fix my hormonal issues and I am still searching for the right thing (or things) that can help. I would say that the physical symptoms are the worst part of all this for me so I need to find something that will address them better.

I will continue doing/taking these things for PMDD:

  1. Vitamin B6
  2. Getting good sleep
  3. Intermittent fasting for 16 hours and watching my carbs
  4. Anti-nausea supplements that take the edge off

I may consider the following:

  1. Adding in magnesium into my routine- The magnesium spray I had been using was giving me bad stomach cramps and insomnia which made me stop taking it. I need to find one that does not make me feel like that because it is an important nutrient.
  2. Reducing my caffeine intake- Right now I take 500 mg of caffeine a day which is considered over the recommended amount. I might try to get this down to 200 mg a day to see if that helps anything.
  3. Adding in calcium into my routine- I had planned on doing this a while back but never ended up doing it.
  4. Meditation- I keep reading about how much this can help different ailments so I may start trying it.

I feel for anyone who deals with horrible hormonal symptoms

PMDD sucks for sure. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

I really hope that one day, I will be able to overcome my severe hormonal issues or at least reduce them by a lot.

Do any of you have tough menstrual cycles, too?

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/expert-answers/pmdd/faq-20058315

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pmdd

https://iapmd.org/about-pmdd

#pmdd  #pms  #pcos  #womenshealth  #periodproblems  #menstrualcycle  #health  #supplements  #mentalhealth 

Be Careful with Supplements: My Experience with Evening Primrose Oil

Be Careful with Supplements: My Experience with Evening Primrose Oil

If you have read my other blog posts you would know that I am definitely not opposed to taking supplements. The unfortunate thing is that they are not always good for me.

A couple years ago, I tried taking evening primrose oil and I found out the hard way that it was not the right thing for my body. I wanted to share what happened to me.

About evening primrose oil

The evening primrose plants are native to North America. Needing full sun, the plants grow quickly and easily. They can produce yellow, pink, lavender and white colored flowers which may have a lemon scent to them depending on the variety

These plants are edible. The roots have even been used like vegetables in cooking.

The evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds. It contains fatty acids that includes gamma linolenic acid, linoleic and omega-3. This oil is said to help certain health ailments which are as follows:

  1. PMS- Taking the oil by mouth may help with some symptoms women get before their periods.
  2. Diabetic neuropathy
  3. Osteoporosis
  4. Eczema
  5. Acne
  6. Dry eyes
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Asthma
  9. Psoriasis

Evening primrose oil is sold in softgels to be taken by mouth and in the oil form. The dosage by mouth is between 1-8 grams.

It is important to note that ingesting this oil may cause the following side effects:

  1. GI issues
  2. Headaches
  3. Seizures in people with epilepsy or a general seizure disorder
  4. Adverse interactions with anticoagulant medications, anesthesia and anti-psychotics
  5. Making PMS symptoms even worse.

Why I wanted to start taking evening primrose oil

My physical PMS symptoms have been pretty severe for the past 5 years. The dread that I feel each month for certain parts of my cycle, is horrific. I hate it.

A couple of years ago, I had been on one of my many searches to find something that could help make my PMS easier to handle. I came across evening primrose oil on a forum and was really interested due to the positive experiences people were posting.

When I looked up evening primrose oil on Amazon, the reviews I read sounded great too. I became sold on it. I ended up buying a bottle of softgels from Sports Research and was excited for it to come in the mail!

First and last time taking it

I was in the midst of horrible PMS when my order arrived. Knowing that it would need time to build up in my system if it was going to work at all, did not deter me from taking it a few hours after I got it out of the box.

The dosage on the bottle has three softgels as a serving size. Since I am sensitive to things, I decided to take just one the first time and then work my way up. I made sure to take the softgel with a snack as it said to do on the bottle.

About thirty minutes after taking it, I noticed a warm feeling come over me. The warmth quickly changed to hot. It was like my skin was burning. I then got really dizzy and had severe nausea. Those feelings together were all too familiar to me.

I was feeling like I was going to have a seizure.

Seizures were something that I used to experience in the evenings. They went away once I started on medication thankfully. The fact that I felt I was going to have one again terrified me.

My husband was around to help me that night and tried to call me down.  I woke up the next day with no memory of what happened after my husband came into our bedroom and sat with me.

I did not know at the time if I definitively had a seizure or not. After reading recently that it is not good for someone with a history of seizures to take, I am leaning towards the idea that it did cause me to have a seizure.

Evening primrose oil was not good for me at all. It was a scary experience that I never want to have happen again.

Make sure to do research the supplements you want to take

If you read a blurb about a supplement and it says it may help with a health issue that you have, look into it as much as you can. This is important so you know whether or not you should take it.

I really should have looked at the adverse effects of evening primrose oil instead of just focusing on the positive things that people were saying about it. Things just do not work for everyone. I am really glad that it works for others though.

Still searching for something that will help me

My hormones are completely out of whack. They may be even worse than they were back when I tried the evening primrose oil.

I am currently on the hunt for a supplement and or dietary changes that will help me have better menstrual cycles. Living like this is tough.

Have any of you tried evening primrose oil before? If so, what was your experience with it?

Thanks for reading!

#supplements #hormones #womenshealth  #periods  #pms #pcos

This Is How My Last Menstrual Cycle Went! How Did Yours Go?

This Is How My Last Menstrual Cycle Went! How Did Yours Go?

Yay for vagina shaped fruit!

It is always interesting to me how our hormones fluctuate which in turn affects the way we feel physically and mentally. While everyone is different in how they respond to hormones, there seems to be many people who have similar experiences throughout their cycles.

I decided to keep track of how I feel each day of one of my cycles and I will be sharing that in this post.

First, what are our hormones doing day-to-day in our menstrual cycles?

There are general ideas of how and which hormones change during the days of our cycle. This cycle of events leads to the possibility of getting pregnant. We still have to deal with the feelings that can come with the changes even if we do not want to be pregnant.

Here is what our hormones do in a 28-day cycle-

  • Days 1-7: This is the time in our cycles where women typically bleed. Estrogen rises during these days which may cause some relief in regards to PMS symptoms (if you get them). Some women still experience aches, pains, fatigue etc. throughout their bleed though.
  • Days 8-14: On these days, estrogen keeps rising along with testosterone. For many women, this means that they are in a good mood and have a good amount of physical/mental energy. Some women are sensitive to high levels of estrogen though so they may experience things such as bloating, breast pain, headaches, mood swings and decreased sex drive.
  • Days 15-22: These days are when progesterone rises. Testosterone and estrogen then drop with estrogen rising again towards the end of this time period. The higher progesterone level may make women feel calm and have an increase in hunger. It also causes us to burn more fat. If women are sensitive to progesterone they may experience rashes, hives, acne, nausea, bloating, fatigue, extreme hunger, anxiety, headaches and depression.
  • Days 23-28: These are the days when estrogen and progesterone decrease. Many women feel varying intensity levels of PMS but also have a little more energy than days 15-22 because of the progesterone being down.

Everyone is different. While many women have a 28 day cycle, there are many women who do not. They can have shorter or longer cycles. Also, some women do not get their periods regularly due to medical conditions (PCOS!).

My last cycle

I documented the cycle I just finished up. Some of my cycles include pretty bad symptoms and other cycles are mild all around. This one was on the milder side.

Here is what my days were like:

Day 1: Period starts with a moderate flow. Felt like my organs were going to fall out of my vagina and my back felt achy. Happy mood with a good amount of energy.

Day 2-3: Moderate flow. Happy mood with a good amount of energy. Decreased appetite.

Day 4: Mild flow. Weepy for some reason.

Day 5-7: Period ended on day five. Sad and bloated these days.

Day 8: Gassy and irritated.

Day 9-13: Happy, self-confident, motivated and had lots of energy.

Day 14: Stabbing pain in my left ovary but still happy. I took 40 mg of hemp (watch out for a post on that!) to reduce the pain.

Day 15: Very nauseated.  

Day 16-18: Happy mood, appetite and energy increase.

Day 19-20: Insomnia, very motivated and happy.

Day 21: Really hungry and mellow.

Day 22-23: Quicker to irritation, chin zit showed up and felt really hungry.

Day 24-26: Insomnia, happy mood, lots of energy (mentally and physically) and bloated. Craving chips and orange chicken with basmati rice.

Day 27-28: Chills with no fever, random body aches, mild headache, happy, mellow and bloated.

In documenting this cycle, I can see that I had post-menstrual syndrome (days 5-8). This means that I did not ovulate the cycle before this one.

I always experience one day during the month where I feel really sick to my stomach. My documentation shows that it occurred on day 15 of my cycle. This is the day when a women’s progesterone rises. I am thinking that I am sensitive to this hormone rising sharply which triggers the nausea.

Also, day 27-28 may look as if I was getting sick (flu or COVID-19) but it is actually normal for me. Some other women have those kinds of “flu feelings” before they start bleeding too.

I plan on keeping track of each day during the cycle I am on now just out of curiosity and to see if there are any patterns.

This was really interesting to me

It was not very hard to mark down what I was experiencing each day and it was interesting looking back on everything. Hormones are crazy things!

I love to read about how hormones effect other women so do not hesitate to share!

Thanks for reading!

Good Sources-

https://iapmd.org/hormones-and-pmdd

https://www.pmscomfort.com/pms-pmdd-symptoms/

#hormones  #periodproblems  #womenshealth #menstrualcycles  #periods  #pms  #pmdd