Warning…this post is for ladies only. I’ll be discussing hormones, fertility, birth control, and that time-of-the-month. I don’t think I have many male readers, but wanted to give you a heads up anyway. I got some questions relating to these topics so I figured I’d write about it once and cover everything!
This can be an awkward topic. I know there are a lot of blogs that discuss this stuff, but its a little out of my comfort zone, so bear with me as I try to tactfully tackle this subject and pass along valuable info! 🙂
As you know if you’re familiar with my blog, I’m dedicated to making natural and healthy choices for everything in my life from food, to beauty, to health care. I began researching natural options for feminine hygiene, hormone balancing, and birth control a few months ago, and the things I found were a huge success and changed my life! At least this little part of my life..So I had to share them with y’all. If you’re interested in taking control over your hormones, understanding fertility, and having an easier time-of-the-month by making more healthy choices for yourself, read on!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that earn me a small percentage if you purchase through them! They don’t cost you a dime, and as always, I only recommend things I actually use and genuinely love.
Consider Switching To a Menstrual Cup– I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that tampons aren’t perfectly healthy. We’ve all heard scary stories of toxic shock syndrome. More than that though, tampons contain chemicals that I’d prefer to stay out of my body, especially near my reproductive organs.
“Toxic ingredients found in tampons today include aluminum, alcohols, fragrance additives and hydrocarbons. Worst of all, tampon bleaching processes leave behind dioxin, […] a toxic chemical (chlorine-compound) linked to cancer (and perhaps now to endometriosis).” (source)
Awful, right? Regular pads contain these chemicals as well. One of the worst things about them is the fact they they disrupt our hormones. If you want to read more in depth about this check out this article from The Huffington Post. Initially I started researching cotton tampons. I saw some questionable research about those, plus they’re a little pricey so I ruled them out. (They’re still a better option though if you want to stick with tampons.) Another option I came across was reusable cloth pads. Haha…That was not going to happen. No offense whatsoever to the ladies that use these, I just don’t think I could do it. Finally I came across the menstrual cup. These intrigued me so much just because of the raving reviews online. I ultimately ordered this one to try it because the more popular brands are pricey. I didn’t want to spend $50 on something if I wouldn’t even be able to use it. (I had major doubts about it, despite the reviews.)
The verdict? I LOVE IT! I can’t recommend it enough; it makes that time-of-the-month a breeze! Sometimes I even totally forget about it. I would never ever go back to tampons. My favorite things about the cup?
•Its so economical! You buy it once and you’re good. So much money saved, which I’m all about.
•You change it far less than pads or tampons. You can leave it in up to 12 hours on light-medium days, so you’re only messing with it a few times a day instead of every few hours.
•Shorter periods! Yes, its actually true. Most women report that their periods are slightly shorter using a cup. I’ve experienced it too. There are several theories why this may be which I won’t to get into, but I encourage you to read about it if you’re curious.
•Less cramps! There are also a few theories why this may be, including the fact that your hormones are not affected by the cup where they are affected with pads or tampons.
•Its more sanitary than tampons or pads. Believe it or not, you’ll be and feel a lot more clean using a cup versus pads or tampons.
•They’re much healthier- The cups are made from medical-grade silicone that don’t leach any chemicals into your inner lady parts. I did quite a bit of research, and couldn’t find anything that gave me red-flags about them.
Use Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for Birth Control (or Pregnancy Achievement)– When I got married, I started taking the Pill. I was hesitant about it, knowing they came with risks and potential side effects, but I decided to use them anyway. Horrible, but I just didn’t know of a better and effective option for birth control until I came across FAM from the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I HIGHLY recommend reading this book even if you choose to use some other form of birth control. This book taught me so much about what goes on in my body and what’s normal for women. It really is unbelievable that they don’t teach any of this stuff in schools. So many women are completely in the dark about their cycles. My pre-teen to adult life up until I read this book, I had no idea what happened in my body each month.. Or why it happened.. Or what was considered normal or abnormal.. This book teaches about every aspect of this and really opens your eyes to be able to easily understand yourself. After all, your hormones affect just about every aspect of your life, so its really important.
The Fertility Awareness Method is actually an old method of birth control which uses different fertility signs to let you know whether or not you’re capable of getting pregnant on any given day. You track your fertility signs by self-examination, and recording your basal body temperature. I initially thought it would be time consuming and confusing to learn, but was surprised at how simple it actually it is, and it only takes about a minute out of my day to do. Whether you want to avoid pregnancy or get pregnant, here are the benefits of charting your cycles using Fertility Awareness Method:
•You are always aware of what’s going on. Charting takes the mystery and guessing away, so you’ll always know when you are or aren’t fertile, what specific day you ovulated, and what day you will start. This might sound weird, but it really is empowering to know what’s going on in your body and to have all this information about yourself handy. Once you know what’s normal for you, you can easily pinpoint anything strange or out of the ordinary if you need to.
•Affectively avoid pregnancies (Without invasive procedures, pills, chemicals, devices, and other unnatural methods that can give you a vast array of side affects, and in some cases, could inhibit your future fertility.)
•Get pregnant quicker when you’re ready! By knowing exactly when you’re fertile, you’ll know when to try to conceive a child- no guessing, buying ovulation tests, or going by when the calendar says you might be fertile. This greatly increases the odds of you getting pregnant.
•Narrow down issues you may have– If you do have issues conceiving, it will be incredibly helpful for your doctor if you’ve already been charting your temperatures and fertility signs. It will considerably narrow down what impediments you may be having and give your doctor the best information to move forward with any treatment.
•Know when you’re pregnant quicker– If you’re charting your temperatures every day you’ll know very quickly if you’re pregnant based on your temps! Most women who’ve been charting will realize they are pregnant before a pregnancy test will register a positive.
•Its fun- Okay maybe I’m a weirdo, but I actually think its fun to chart. I thought it would be a pain, but I enjoy it, and its fun to guess when my temperature will go up. Its also reassuring to chart and know that everything is right on track with how it should be.
If you do decide to start charting your cycles, here are some of my must-haves!
•Basal Body Thermometer– This is made specifically for basal body temping. Its accurate because it only records normal range body temperatures, unlike a thermometer you use when you think you have a fever. You take your temperature first thing in the morning, so it beeps quietly 4 times when its done recording your temperature, which is loud enough to get my attention, but quiet enough so it never wakes up Ryan. It only takes a minute to register which goes by quickly.
•OvuView– This is an app for your smartphone that I use for charting. It lets you track all of your fertility signs and creates the chart for you. You can track any secondary symptoms too like your mood, PMS, headache, cramps, your weight, and more. I tried several apps and this one was by far my favorite! And its free.
Clary Sage Essential Oil- This essential oil can be very beneficial when it comes to helping all of your female issues naturally!
•Control PMS symptoms- Clary sage oil promotes the release of dopamine in your brain and therefore is great for getting rid of moodiness and those over-emotional tendencies that come with PMS. It is great for stress in general or just when you’re feeling irritable or annoyed. (Here is a really interesting study on this.) The other day I was feeling easily annoyed and emotional for no good reason. It wasn’t even my “time” yet but I grabbed this essential oil and just inhaled it right out of the bottle in a few deep breaths. After a few minutes, like a miracle, it was like the fog lifted and I was back to my normal happy self! I don’t know how it works, but I love it!! I told my sister to try it and tell me if I’m crazy, and she said it worked for her too! She called it a miracle. Haha! Inhale it from the bottle, put some drops on a cloth to smell, on your wrist, or use it in a diffuser next time you get upset, angry, or annoyed.
•Cramp relief- Massaging a little diluted clary sage over your abdomen can be very helpful in eliminating cramps! (Here is just one of many studies that’s been done to prove the effectiveness of essential oil massage for menstrual cramping! They used a few extra oils too you could add if you have them.) I don’t get bad cramps much anymore, but the last time I had some mild cramps, I did this and it actually worked. I can’t testify to how effective it may be for severe cramps, but I’d be curious to hear other’s experiences!
•Menopause– I obviously don’t have any firsthand knowledge about this, but thought it was worth mentioning for any readers who may be dealing with this. Clary sage is supposed to be incredibly helpful for women going through menopause, helping with hot flashes, pain, and tension associated with it. Applying the diluted oil topically to the bottom of your feet or wrists, or inhaling the aroma are both said to be very effective for lessened symptoms. I’d love to hear from anyone who has used clary sage to help with menopause!
•It may help to balance your hormones- This one is debatable. There are many blogs/websites that claim “clary sage helps balance hormones” because of of its estrogen-like properties, yet some blogs/websites challenge this statement saying that the hormone balancing effects of clary sage have never been “scientifically proven”. I couldn’t find any research based evidence to back up this claim, but many women have shared their personal testimonies in which clary sage did help their hormone issues. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about it, but because so many women swear by clary sage for hormonal health its definitely worth mentioning and trying for yourself! If you’ve just come off hormonal birth control, have intense PMS symptoms, or just feel like your hormones are out of whack, clary sage might just help. I read that it takes most women a few months, or in some cases years before they start ovulating and having regular cycles again after they stop taking the Pill. When I stopped taking mine, I immediately started using clary sage topically in hopes that it would help bring me back to normal quickly. Luckily for me, everything resumed to normal right away! I don’t know if the clary sage had any part to play, but its a definite possibility.
Do you use any other natural/holistic remedies for feminine issues? Do you have any tips I should know regarding FAM or hormone balancing? Let me know in the comments!
I hope this info is as helpful for you, as it was for me to learn. I realize that parts were vague, so feel free to ask questions, or grab the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility to learn all about it for yourself!