Tools to manage your flow (yes, THAT flow)
Past attempts to manage the monthly flow looked like a pile of tampons of every absorbency, pads on pads on pads, a stack of backup underwear and pants in the car “just in case”, a bottle of Midol, ibuprophen, birth control, and a hot water bottle.
Can you relate?
Why do we go through this every month? It’s absolute torture some months.
Let’s first address some of the myths we have been told that actually contribute to more cyclic trouble in the long run.
Myth #1 – birth control helps you “control” your period. You get to decide when you have your period and it seems lighter and less painful. What could be better?
Busted – birth control actually shuts down your entire reproductive system and provides synthetic hormones instead of allowing your body to naturally cycle through the estrogen-progesterone waves which actually control your menstrual (bleeding/period) phase.
The bleeding that occurs while taking birth control is actually breakthrough bleeding (your body trying to purge what it doesn’t need) and not a true menstrual bleed that is beneficial to the body.
Long-term use of birth control has been linked to varying degrees of infertility, weight gain, blood clots (DVT and stroke), thyroid dysfunction (hello, because we told our endocrine system “we don’t need you, I got these synthetic hormones now”), moodiness, elevated PMS symptoms, and many more negative side effects.
Solution – It’s comes down to knowing what your reproductive cycle is supposed to look like and leaning into the signals your body sends. How do we lean in? We manage food and exercise for starters.
- Eat a whole food diet low in gluten and dairy
- Cycle carbohydrates – focus on heathy fats and protein a few days before your flow and during your flow. Eat plenty of whole food carbohydrates the rest of the month to help with healthy hormone production.
- Intermittent fasting helps smooth out insulin spikes. Take a break from food for 12-14 hours every 24-hour period. This can look like finishing dinner by 8pm and having breakfast anywhere between 8am and 10am. It’s really pretty simple.
- Manage your exercise routine. Refrain from HIIT workouts and very heavy weights a few days before your flow and during your flow. Instead, do steady state cardio, light weights with high reps, barre, pilates, yoga, and walking during this time. The rest of the month, enjoy your HIIT and heavy weights!
Myth #2 – My options for flow management are tampons or pads
Busted – You have more choices! I was terrified to use a menstrual cup for the first time but once I got the hang of it, I’ll never go back to a tampon or conventional pad. Why do I dislike these conventional methods of handling flow? So many reasons… check these out.
- They add to landfills and might never biodegrade because of the plastic woven into the fibers. Items that get flushed down the toilet cause problems at sewer/water reprocessing sites.
- They can cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The body recognizes a tampon as a foreign object and calls in a response to reject it. Women have been hospitalized for TSS; please protect yourself.
- Tampons and pads are processed with hundreds of chemicals that I would NEVER recommend coming into contact with – so tell me why we want them touching us *there* for 24-hours a day, 5-10 days a month. The chemicals in tampons and pads can exacerbate menstrual symptoms like PMS, moodiness, menstrual cramps, headaches, backaches, and abnormal bleeding.
- The bottom line is, conventional tampons and pads are bad for your body and bad for the planet.
Read more about the history of feminine products HERE (National Geographic article).
Solutions – There is a SIMPLE way to avoid all of that stuff. Thinx period underwewar and a menstrual cup for the heaviest flow will get you through the menstrual phase with confidence and ease.
Thinx period panties are not what you think they are. I’ve been using them for months and I can testify that they are comfortable, don’t smell bad, and actually work. They truly absorb the flow and don’t cause any embarrassing mishaps. They do require an investment up front; they range in price. The website makes it easy to bundle different undergarments to make your own discount pack and it’s really worth the money. Talk about the ultimate hassle-free period hack!
After you’re done wearing Thinx for the day, rinse them out until the water runs clear, then toss them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. Hang dry for best longevity.
Use this link to save up to 20% on your Thinx custom set! I recommend creating your own pack and picking 2-3 light pair and 2-3 heavy pair to handle the whole week. They wash up perfectly, don’t smell, and will last for a long time.
*BONUS – period care products are reimbursable under HSA rules. If you have an HSA, check with them on reimbursement for your Thinx or menstrual cup.
The second part of this solution is a menstrual cup. If the concept of catching your flow and discarding it later makes you squeamish… get over it. It’s your body, it’s totally natural, and the color & consistency of your flow can give you a ton of information about what is happening in your body.
There are numerous menstrual cups to choose from so you have to do a little bit of research to determine which will be best for your body. You can take a quiz HERE.
You may have heard of the more popular cups like the Venus cup, Diva Cup, Saalt, Flex, Lena, Peach, or Merula. But the cup I found most suited to my body and I highly recommend is the FemmyCycle cup (I know the name is terrible but the product is great).
Warning: we’re about to get personal. This works for me because I have a short height from the vaginal opening to the cervix, is a larger capacity for heavier flow, and has a flexible ring for retrieval instead of a stem.
Seriously though, grab some Thinx and a cup. It will change the way you feel about your period and it will take the stress out of bleeding. Thinx has a 60-day guarantee so you can’t go wrong.
Myth #3 – pharmaceuticals are my only way of managing period pain
Busted – Pharmaceuticals cover up the pain, true. They can give relief in the moment, however NSAIDs, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can damage the kidneys and cause high blood pressure so they are not a good long-term solution to any problem.
Solution – manage the cycle naturally by proper diet and exercise (see Solution #1 above), ditch the chemical-filled tampons and pads (see Solution #2 above), and use essential oils to manage the pain. There are several oils incorporated into my cycle management.
- Dragon Time EO blend
- Clary Sage EO
- Progessence Plus serum
- PanAway EO blend
- Lavender EO
- Sclaressence Vitality EO
- CortiStop supplement
- PD 80/20 supplement
- EndoGize supplement
- FemiGen supplement
Want to find out my exact schedule for using these items? We cover it over in the VIP members group because, really – it won’t make much sense if you aren’t using this stuff.
Use the form below to let me know you want the menstrual cycle protocol and we’ll get you into the VIP group to learn from it.
I sincerely hope this was helpful for you. I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching this topic because it affects half the planet every single month so we really should know what the deal is. Will you do me a favor and let me know how this helped you? Leave a comment below and have a great day.