After about a year and a half, I finally wised up, rather than trying to figure this out myself, along with the encouragement of my husband, I decided to seek help.
I am studying nutrition and with my new knowledge, perseverance, and persistence, I have already used food to heal myself from a variety of symptoms. These include: suppressed immune system evident with recurring colds (one winter I got eight colds), bowel distress including constipation, bloating, heartburn, and stomach pain, also, acne and stress are immensely improved. My hair is thicker and fuller, nails stronger, and skin more luminous.
Even with the improvement of so many symptoms, still, once a month, when Aunt Flow came to visit, during the first couple of hours of my period, I experienced intense cramping and pain, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and fatigue. I would have to spend a few hours in the bathroom, of which half of this time was spent in a fetal position on the floor while I breathed through the pain that made time stand still. Even though, I was doing everything that I could think of to alleviate these episodes, for over a year, once a month, horrible symptoms persisted.
In October of 2016, I finally had enough and sought help. Since I had not had a pelvic exam in a couple of years, this was the first place to start. The mid-wife, compassionate and motivated to help me resolve this issue shed a little light on the issue. She said that clots were occurring when my uterine lining was shedding resulting in cramping and excessive blood flow. However, I did not think my blood flow was excessive, but clots, I could agree with. Through the pelvic exam and PAP smear, everything seemed normal and healthy. The mid-wife offered some advice consisting of taking an anti-clot medicine prior to the start of my cycle or oral contraceptives. These were the exact substances I had been working hard to detox from body. I could not succumb, there must be another way to resolve my issues. Working with my diet to resolve so many of my other issues had instilled in me that diet and lifestyle is the ultimate means to a healthy soul. I sought an alternative, holistic means to support my body while it balanced itself back to health.
Acupuncture. This Traditional Chinese Medicine practice called out to me. I sought a local practitioner, where through reviewing her website, which had an emphasis on food, led me to an initial consult. After a review of my symptoms, she said I had a damp spleen, which is common among westerners. Westerners heavy reliance on simple carbohydrates, fried foods, rancid oils, and processed foods combined with over-use of antibiotics, antacids, and NSAIDs, many Americans have weak constitutions which leads to bowel distress. This is evident in the increased incidences of IBS and IBD that are occurring in modern, industrialized nations.
Through diet and lifestyle, I had a massive decrease in problematic bowel related symptoms. However, once a month, when hormone levels decrease which stimulates an increase in inflammation that encourages my uterine lining to shed, it irritated my gastrointestinal tract too. The solution for damp spleen is consistent acupuncture treatments to stimulate Qi along with diet adjustments. Already free of gluten, dairy, eggs, most other grains, and a few other food allergies that I had discovered through elimination diets, my acupuncturist recommended “no raw food”, also limit fruit, sugar, alcohol, tomato, and chicken. This was a 180 from how I was used to eating. My daily meals consisted of at least one raw salad and a raw smoothie with chicken eaten around five times per week. Immediately, I started sauteing my salads while I thought about how I could incorporate more cooked vegetables into my diet. Slowly, making these dietary changes, while persistently maintaining my acupuncture appointments, I have experienced a tremendous improvement in symptoms.
My acupuncturist is full of positive energy gently and consistently reminding me to keep my diet on track while offering other lifestyle modifications that can benefit my condition like meditation and hydrotherapy.
Now, my periods start slowly. There is no more vomiting or fetal position once a month. Bloating, cramping, and diarrhea have lessened. I am hopeful these symptoms can be diminished even more through personal effort, but more importantly, with help.