Don't Stop the Flow

When I saw this piece in the New York Times, my reaction was just 'NONONO.'

Ladies, if your period/PMS is so severe that you are experiencing blackouts and migraines, can't get out of bed, and have to miss school or work SOMETHING IS WRONG. These are not normal symptoms of a healthy menstruating woman, they indicate some kind of endocrine disruption that needs your attention! Stopping your period may improve your quality of life for the moment, but it is not going to solve the problem. 

Now listen, it's your body and your choice, and I'm not saying that I wouldn't choose period suppression if I was an astronaut going into space, but I think it's pretty dangerous to promote the idea that eradicating your period all together is a good way to deal with these severe symptoms. NONONO. We need to address the underlying issues and correct them--not only to support your good health and happy life now, but down the road, too. Ignoring the signals your body is giving you through your cycle could land you with really severe fertility problems or other inflammatory diseases later on in life. 

It think this hit so close to home because that's what Viv is all about: we believe that every woman deserves a healthy period and we've worked hard to develop products to get you a better period, naturally. I don't want women to suffer through their periods every month, and I don't want them to have to deal with the lasting effects of suppressing them.

I want women everywhere to be empowered, educated, and supported in taking good care of their bodies, and I know that ignoring your body and shutting it down is not the way forward.

 

Period Cravings Don't Have to Take Over Your Life

Ever feel like you want to eat ALL THE CHOCOLATE followed by ALL THE PASTA before or during your period? Yeah, us too. It's because your main reproductive hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) along with serotonin (the happiness hormone) all have a big dip and remain low during your period, while cortisol (the stress hormone). If you're not paying attention, the changes in your body chemicals can leave you with an empty bag of chips in one hand, an empty tub of ice cream in the other, and one sick stomach. 

But it doesn't have to be this way! If you're a little proactive, you can actually beat the cravings while giving your body what it really needs before and during your period.  Here are a few tips:

Eat a good breakfast. And no, a bowl of Coco Puffs doesn't count! You want protein and you want some healthy fats to start your day right and keep your blood sugar level. Try avocado toast and an egg or a smoothie with almond milk and greens. 

Choose better treats. When you're jonesing for salty carbs, make some chipotle sweet potato fries and if it's something sweet, have a handful of dark chocolate covered almonds. These treats are guilt free, supportive of good health, and can satisfy your cravings.

Ease up on caffeine and alcohol. I know it seems brutal, but the dehydrating and depressing effects of caffeine and alcohol are only going to make your cravings worse. Stick to one cup of coffee or tea in the morning and try to skip happy hour for a few days when your cravings are at their worst.

Get some Magnesium. It'll help keep the bloat at bay and will support a good night's rest, which means you will be at your best throughout the day. Try bananas, pumpkin seeds, and beans to up your daily intake.

Listen to your belly. Your nutritional needs change quite a bit throughout your cycle and lots of women are extra hungry before and during their period. Pay attention to that! You should always eat when you are hungry--it will help keep your blood sugar levels even and stop you from having a hangry binge on garbage.

Get outside (and Take it Easy!). Being in nature is awesome for reducing cortisol and increasing serotonin levels and relaxing the mind and body, so taking a walk in a beautiful place or going for a gentle swim will make you feel great. When that serotonin is where it's supposed to be, your chances of overeating are radically reduced. Be mindful though; menstruation actually takes a lot of energy, so this is not the time to push yourself to your physical limits.

 

Period Products 101: The Alternatives

While pads and tampons tend to be the standard for women and girls who are menstruating, some women are shifting from the typical period products to the newer alternatives that have been made specifically to be reusable or more healthy (if not both). Every woman is different in her preferences and in what she wants for her body, which is why we’re here today to give you a look into a few more options that we hope can help you feel far more confident on your period, especially if pads and tampons just aren’t cutting it right now.

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3 Foods to Kill Cramping

We can’t deny that cramps accompanying your period suck. However, as with other symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances, changes in the way you eat can really help to alleviate the pain. Viv to the rescue! We’ve created a short list of three foods that are going to change the way you deal with your periods, lessening your cramps and the pain you’ve been experiencing.

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6 Foods to Zap Your Hormonal Acne

Let’s face it. Acne has never been our friend - not in our teens, not on our way to adulthood, and definitely not at the same time as our periods. Like we’ve talked about before, though, acne can be caused by hormonal imbalances. (Hormonal imbalances that we can seriously help.) Changing your diet, even a little, can have huge effects on the symptoms you’re experiencing, which is why we’ve compiled a list of a few foods to help zap away your hormonal acne accompanying your period.

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5 Foods to End PMS

As we’ve said plenty of times before, hormonal imbalances tend to be the root of a lot of symptoms associated with the ‘normal’ period. While the symptoms of PMS do seem common, they can easily be minimized with a few diet changes, including the introduction of these five awesome foods.

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Our Top 7 Period GIFs

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that GIFs have the potential to make everything feel more relatable - from awkward moments to quotes from your favorite TV show. With period problems and periods in general already being so common, it only makes sense for period GIFs to be our type of thing.

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Why Tweeting Your Period is SO Important

One tried and true way people have been working to destigmatize periods is the idea of tweeting about them. No filter. No embarrassment. Just acceptance of what’s going on in our bodies. It’s hard to not be excited about people embracing their periods, especially when the people talking about them are hilarious (I mean, good luck reading some of these and not cracking up.

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Why The Worst Part of Your Period Isn't Normal

It seems like it’s almost impossible to know someone on her period without hearing of the horror that comes with each menstrual cycle. While the uncomfortable parts of your cycle are actually highly avoidable (the cramps, bloating, moodiness, ALL OF IT), many people don’t realize this fact, leaving them stuck in a new type of cycle - one of pain and frustration.

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5 Women Changing the Way We Look at Periods

Let’s begin with the obvious. While every woman gets their period, not everyone is willing to talk about it, leaving periods as taboo and shameful as they’ve been for years.

However, there are more women taking a big step towards taking away the stigma of what’s natural and normal for more than half of the world’s population.

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Better Periods. Period.

It really kills me. For almost 20 years, I've run one the biggest natural health clinics for women in the US, and everyday women walk through my doors and say, "But, I thought that cramps and PMS, those are things that we just have to deal with, right?" or, "Well, I miss two days of work a month when my period comes because my cramps are so bad, but my doctor says that's just normal." 

Ladies, it's not. Stop believing that it is. 

While a terrible cycle may be the norm for you, it's not "just normal" and it isn't the sign of a healthy reproductive system. The good news is that all that can change. 

As a whole, women have been sold this "you just have to suffer through your period" line for years, centuries. We've been told that by doctors who don't even know what having a period is like, by our friends and family that meant well, but didn't know any better, we've been told that by bosses, and boyfriends, and even the bible. But it's a bunch of crap and you don't have to buy it. I'm here to tell you that it's time to start a new story about periods.

Periods can change, and they do. A lot. Maybe you've even noticed that your period is better or worse depending on things like sleep, stress, and diet. Our bodies are constantly adapting, changing, and, when we take care of them, improving. Why do we think that we can't change our cycles for the better? 

In our clinical practice, we looked not only at the current medical research, but also at the menstrual cycles of 1000’s of patients. This experience allowed us to analyze the characteristics of crummy cycles and of really optimal ones. We even saw that women with better menstrual cycles were healthier overall.

To me, that's the super-exciting part: that your menstrual cycle is a barometer of your overall health. When all your systems are working well together — digestive, hormonal, circulatory, immune — and systemic inflammation is at healthy low levels, your menstrual cycle will improve, with increasing regularity and fewer uncomfortable symptoms. 

So what does a really healthy cycle look like? An optimal (and achievable!) cycle features:

  • A 28-day, regular cycle

  • Ovulation occurring on cycle day 14 without pain or spotting and with abundant stretchy, clear cervical discharge

  • No PMS symptoms whatsoever—No mood changes, headaches, low back pain, spotting, gas or bloating.

  • Bleeding that lasts four—and only four—days with fresh, red blood

  • No cramping, clotting, cravings, or other annoying symptoms

You might be thinking — no way, not my period. Like I said before, so many women suffer with menstrual issues like severe cramping, long or short cycles, clotting, and crazy PMS, that it's hard for them to believe that their periods could be any different. But they can be different. 

Over the last 20 years, we've developed a system that can dramatically improve your menstrual cycle, and lead to lasting change. We've combined thousands of years of herbal tradition, with some of the best modern research to create a line of products that have literally changed thousands of lives. In the past, these custom formulations were only available to our patients, but we couldn't stand knowing that so many women needed our help, and didn't have access to an affordable, natural way to ditch the pain and suffering that came along with their period.

I started Viv Wellness with a simple mission: Better Periods. Period.

Viv's all about periods without pain or shame, empowering women to be their best, every day of the month. 

I encourage you to subscribe to our blog, "The Monthly", where we'll be taking a deeper look at periods, and how you can have a better one. Also, don't forget to follow us on facebook and twitter, and if you like what we're saying, make sure you share it with your friends. And above all, don't take your period laying down. Stand up for change, and for healthy periods for women everywhere. 

 

Kirsten Karchmer

Founder, Viv Wellness