Perhaps you will get a visit from Aunty Bertha this holiday season, who always tells you that your turkey is undercooked and she’s afraid she may get salmonella. Or maybe Aunty Selma may visit, and you can guarantee she will ask you why you’re still single. Or, lovely Aunty May, who always lets you know that your kids are unruly or points out your new zit at the dinner table. Or you may get a visit from an Aunty like me, who gets your kids all hyped-up and then goes home to her glass of wine. When you hear your three year old say, “Aunty, can you do your armpit fart again?” you know it’s time to send me packing.
I can guarantee I will be getting a painful visit from Aunty Flo. She will visit with terrible, debilitating cramping to my side, along with bloating and lethargy. Aside from pain, I tend to get moody and emotional too. Classic example, the end of the movie Jack and Jill starring Adam Sandler made me cry buckets. Since about the age of 16, I have suffered from gripping menstrual pain. The pain was so intense, I had to go on doctor prescribed pain-killers. At times, I had to miss school and would lie on my bed in tears, cradling my knees to my stomach in a fetal position, praying that the pain would go away. As dramatic as that sounds, this was my reality.
Throughout the years, the pain each month subsided. In my twenties and thirties, a couple of doses of extra strength Tylenol and a heating pad would do the trick. Since turning 40, the intensity of my menstrual cramps have returned to what they were in my teen years. I have read that this can happen in the peri-menopausal stage of life. With age, comes a little wisdom and taking better care of myself, I have found ways to alleviate the pain without harsh medications that at times don’t agree with my stomach. I have a list of do’s and dont’s.
1. Don’t: alcohol and coffee. These two pleasures cause nothing but pain. When I drink wine or coffee, I have noticed an increase in cramping.
2. Do: non-caffeinated herbal teas, such as green and ginger. Soothing and relieving.
3. Do: Using a heating pad. This has served me well. The heat really relaxes those tense muscles.
4. Do: clean eating. Since I have altered my diet to less processed foods and an increase in greens and fresh fruits, I have noticed a decrease in pain, as well as bloating.
5. Do: Light exercise. During this time a light walk or restorative Yoga is what I need. I find child pose, camel pose and deep Kundalini breaths work best for me.
6. Don’t: heavy lifts, intense exercise such as Tababta or HIIT. It is better for me to get back to my usual routine once the pain is gone.
Before any pain hits, I always try to think of what food or drink can help me. Am I lacking water and dehydrated? Am I getting enough vitamins and nutrients? The power of the right foods can be very healing. Finally, Do avoid the end of Jack and Jill.
Did you get a visit from any special Aunties in your life lately?
Did you see Jack and Jill?