I started this blog with the intention of giving you an insight as to the various days of the 28 day(ish) cycle that every menstruator goes through. As I am writing this, it's Day 2 of my cycle, so I'm bleeding (YAY!). However, I wanted to write more in my luteal phase, but you know how it is when you have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder- you can get extremely fatigued, and also just get into "a mood". Since I wrote last, I got into TWO motorbike accidents in two weeks. I am okay, however, my second Bali kiss left me with a fractured ankle bone, so now I can't do anything but rest!
So what else has been new in the realm of my own Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder journey, the PMDD community, and riding the high of reclaiming my womanhood? Well, it's been a month since I had the removal of my IUD which seems pretty wild to me because so much of my life has changed since then. My luteal phase (the 2 weeks leading up to one's period) this time around has been mild (ish) so that's good!! I was really, really scared of what was to come from quitting birth control and starting this whole au naturel experience. I am aware that it takes a few months for the body to detox the progestin hormone, levonorgestrel, as I was using the Skyla IUD. I was anxious to see what symptoms would arise from this detox, and moreover what it would feel like to have my hormones be balanced without any help from birth control.
Since quitting birth control, I still have noticed that my skin would break out quite a lot as it did when I first got the Skyla IUD. Cystic acne has never been an issue before in my life, but since the Skyla IUD had been introduced to my body, it has been a difficulty! Appearance is not everything, and I have to remind myself of this constantly, however, when you're used to not wearing makeup and your skin being pretty decent as is, it's a low blow. At first, I was prescribed a topical cream that totally dried my skin out, but it helped immensely. Fast-forward a year later, after quitting birth control, I decided to call up my dad for advice on what to do now, as I wanted to have a functional medicine approach. Surely the humidity here in Bali makes my skin even more oily, but I knew it was the result of saying goodbye to the T-shaped device in my uterus.
So here's something that worked for me and might help you in your hormone-related acne! Get out your favorite nighttime cream, and one high-quality probiotic supplement capsule. Open up said capsule, and mix in about a fourth of it into your nighttime cream. And let the magic work its wonders! Again, I am not a medical professional, but I do know that there's a connection between your hormones and your gut, and probiotics are a great way for your body to get back into the swing of things. It's been working well for me, and I do hope that in a couple of months I won't see any more acne pop up, but only time will tell, right? Your body reacts to the environment you immerse yourself in, so who knows how this Bali life will affect mine in the next few months!
BLEEDING IS COOL
As I am bleeding now, I noticed that I definitely didn't have enough menstrual panties or period underwear available, so today I ended up ordering more period underwear, and got some plastic-free disposable pads while I waited for my cute and comfy menstrual products to be delivered. I felt bad that I wasn't exclusively using reusable menstrual hygiene products, but also, I realized that you gotta do what works for you! I wasn't the biggest fan of the reusable menstrual pads I had purchased in preparation for my bleed, but let me tell ya, period underwear is a game-changer. It's so easy, and I think it's also a cool way to #celebrateandmenstruate . It reminds us that yes we bleed, our blood is not gross, and that we are CYCLICAL!!
Being a cyclical creature is so cool. It basically means that we have these superpowers where instead of just being linear, we shift every single day in our cycle, and every day brings us a new gift. Now would I call Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder a gift? Hmm... that's a tough one. See, instead of considering PMDD a gift, I would say that PMDD starts a necessary conversation with our bodies, as it's a manifestation of perhaps some trauma that has happened in our life or something that has gone askew at some point in either our timeline or the generations before us. What I am getting at here is there is a root cause to virtually everything. Remember, a symptom is your body telling you: "Hey, look at me! Give me some attention- I'm trying to talk to you here!!"
MAKING SPACE FOR MY PMDD
So yesterday I could have surely written a bit about my Day 1, but as I already had a full day, I chose to rest. I chose rest over doing more productive things. I chose to rest instead of crossing off more to-do's; because it's better that I live cyclically, not just for the fun of it and to increase productivity, but because I do want to overcome my PMDD once and for all, and I know that it's possible. My PMDD has been pretty mild, but there were also days this past week that I became so aggravated, and I had such intense headaches. I had brain fog, my relationships were a bit harder to upkeep, and I just felt really overwhelmed at times, while also feeling sad, and feeling alone. Unfortunately, PMDD doesn't have just one solution. But that's okay, because it's brought me to an entire mindset shift as well as a state of health that I never thought was possible!
DID YOU KNOW?
Chocolate is amazing for reasons I do not need to explain, however, did you know that chocolate is actually fermented cocoa beans. I was always trying to figure out why I would get headaches to chocolate baked goods and drinks, but I never understood why. When I got a Dunwoody Labs food sensitivity test, I noticed that cocoa was listed under the aspergillus mix- meaning that cocoa powder contained high levels of histamine in it. So alright, cocoa itself didn't show up on my food sensitivity list as something I needed to eliminate, yet chocolate did? I was confused. Big time. It wasn't until I came to Bali that I realized you can actually get fresh cocoa beans, and many places here offer super delicious beverages and treats with raw cocoa in it. Food for thought (no pun intended) as you want to reduce the foods that are high in histamines during your luteal phase!
If you want to check out more about holistic approaches to food, check out the instagram live series: functional medicine + PMDD, where my father, Dr. Jose R. Fernandez, M.D., goes through his 5 Pillars of Health, which includes a big topic- being food!