Common period symptoms affect many women in various stages of life, but there are steps you can take to manage them. We spoke to naturopath Georgia Borowski to help us understand what contributes to causing these issues, and how you can treat them.
From menstrual cramps to late or irregular periods, many of us experience some form of period symptoms over our lives. But how do you know if these symptoms are indicative of a more significant issue, and what can you do to relieve period pain or understand the reasons for a late period?
To get some answers, we spoke to naturopath Georgia Borowski, an expert in supporting women through hormonal changes, fertility, pregnancy and postnatal care.
In your experience, what are the most common period symptoms your patients have?
Period pain, heavy periods, late or irregular periods and no periods at all are the most common, as well as period-associated issues like bloating, hormonal acne and skin issues.
Inflammation can be a root cause for many issues in the body (and this is no different for menstrual issues), but it’s also important when assessing the causes of a late period, a heavy period, irregular periods and no periods at all, to consider whether there is good hormonal balance. For heavy and late periods, I’d look at what the balance of hormones is like, how efficiently the body is removing excess hormones, i.e. how the body is detoxifying these hormones.
When the balance is out, we see the body start to compensate in other ways. We can see these things come out through the skin with issues like hormonal acne where the skin is trying to help get rid of things we don’t need. These common period symptoms and irregularities are often such interrelated things – they’re the body alerting us to the issues that are going on, demonstrating what it needs to us, and ways we can recognise that things are not working to their best ability.
Are women more likely to experience any of these period symptoms at certain ages?
Generally, women will go through stages in terms of adolescence, then a shift towards a more established period and then of course peri-menopause and their cycle will change over that time. The winding-up and winding down of their cycle can come with different issues at different ends.
For adolescents and younger women, it is common to see acne-related hormonal issues or period pain. In contrast, in later years, you might see more anxiety and sleep issues that are associated with perimenopausal symptoms.
How do you help treat these issues, and what advice do you have for women looking for natural solutions to these problems?
Period symptoms are caused by a range of issues and by taking an integrative approach, I investigate what the problem might be for that person and whether it’s a straightforward fix or a broader issue that is best supported by myself as well as doctors or specialists. There are many cases where it’s just about getting the balance back in somebody’s system, and I help devise ways to reduce inflammation through diet and lifestyle, herbs and supplements and also look at improving the bodies digestion and elimination.
It’s about not just getting rid of the pain at that time of the month but looking at the broader issues and finding solutions that will help on an ongoing basis, and there’s no one size fits all for treatment.
Magnesium and Zinc can be a great place to start when it comes to improving many menstrual complaints and inflammation in the body, as is focussing on a healthy diet and exercise. What you do over your entire cycle is going to help when it comes to your period.
Does choosing organic products have any impact on these issues?
One of the things we know can impact significantly for period issues are problems caused by endocrine disruptors, so reducing those is important, particularly when you’re putting something in your body (like a tampon). Anything we can do to minimise that chemical load – whether it’s food or tampons – is better, as these are cleaner products. For instance, many conventional period products contain hormone-disrupting toxins, synthetics and additives.
It’s important to remember that period problems are representative of other underlying things that are going on, so the cleaner our environment is and the fewer chemicals we ingest will only support our body’s natural ability to do things on its own.
Supporting and educating women through all phases of life and fertility is Georgia’s passion, you can find her at Women’s Health Melbourne where she consults in person or online at naturopathgeorgia.com.au