The menstrual cycle is a complex interplay of hormones that can be influenced by a number of biological and lifestyle factors. Hormones vary across different lifespans as they work to control our internal mechanisms and systems, dictating mood, metabolism, digestion, immunity, and reproduction.
These days, its as though some doctors will find any reason to prescribe women the pill. In the medical world, the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) is an appealing prescription due to its benefits in suppressing one's normal hormonal processes to reduce such clinical presentations such as irregular cycles, PMS or acne. However, a temporary mechanism exists which does NOT address the cause of the initial problem. Instead, a period on the pill is an artificial one, and you are back to square one after ceasing it. The synthetic oestrgoen and progesterone over time can cause lowered thyroid hormones, shutdown of the bodies normal hormone production, trigger PCOS, reduced serotonin and melatonin and many other side effects¹. Adding to this, the pill creates susceptibility to nutritional deficiencies, which can further add to the original problem. So if you’re on the pill or another hormonal contraception for a reason other than for stopping pregnancy, ask yourself: what was my initial reason for going on the pill, and what is my body telling me? It may take women years – even decades – to ask this question, until they're ready to try and conceive. By this stage, things can become difficult, and many women commonly experience ammenhorea (absence of a period) 3-12 months after coming off the pill due to the consequences the pill has on the reproductive system².
For us women, each month we are given an opportunity to embrace our bodies natural rhythm and the constant loss and revival within your body. This is a sacred process. Don’t be put off or shammed by symptoms. Every woman is unique, and as too is her menstrual cycle. Often our periods are a reflection of our current health and can range drastically in the manifestation of symptoms that are experienced over a cycle. Successful clinical management is the identification of the specific hormonal imbalances occurring and addressing any factors in one's life that may be influencing this – ie. Inflammation, sleep disturbances, blood glucose, stress, and detoxification.
A healthy period is usually absent from very painful periods, spot bleeding, irregularity (<28, >30 days), cravings, PMS ect¹. Maree is our in-house female and reproduction guru at the Sana Co, having a wealth of experience helping many women with the conditions previously listed. If you are experiencing any of these, book in with Maree to get your flow on.
Trickey, R. (2011). Women, hormones & the menstrual cycle (3rd ed. ed.). Fairfield, Vic.: Ruth Trickey/Trickey Enterprises (Victoria).
Petersen, K. B., Hvidman, H. W., Forman, J. L., Pinborg, A., Larsen, E. C., Macklon, K. T. & Andersen, A. N. (2015). Ovarian reserve assessment in users of oral contraception seeking fertility advice on their reproductive lifespan. Human Reproduction (oxford, England), 30(10), 2364-75.
Jade is a final year Naturopathy student at the Southern School of Natural Therapies. She is our online content creator here at The Sana Co so head back through our website and read more articles from Jade. She is currently seeing clients from the Student Wellbeing Clinic on their Fitzroy Campus.