How the Christmas, New year & Easter Festive Seasons Can Affect a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle

woman and doughnut

How the Christmas, New year & Easter Festive Seasons Can Affect a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle

-By Dr Andrew Orr (Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Specialist)

We have not long gotten over the Christmas and New Year period and we are about to embark on the fast train into Easter holiday and festive season. While many are getting ready for the sugar fest ahead, with Easter eggs and hot cross buns galore, we need to take the time to understand how this may affect our bodies afterwards, especially for women and their menstrual cycles. Worse still it could even affect pre-existing gynaecological conditions that women live with on a day to day basis, some of which impact women’s day life terribly

Christmas and Easter times always pose great problems for women and their menstrual cycle, and year after year many women never make the correlation why. Year after year I see women coming back to see me, after Christmas and Easter,  scratching their heads as to why all of a sudden their menstrual cycle has gone haywire and they are getting the worst PMS symptoms they’ve had since starting goodness knows

So why do so many women have problems with their menstrual cycle after Christmas and Easter?

The answer is blatantly obvious. Stress, Poor diet and Lifestyle factors!

The lead up to Christmas and Easter, is always a busy time and no matter how much people try to deny it, it is very stressful. People are rushing madly to meet deadlines before everyone goes on holidays and then the mad Christmas and Easter shopping rush that follows.

Then there is the stress of what to buy everyone, followed by the mad catering panic. People litrally go mad and one would think the end of the world is imminent, with supermarkets being emptied by the marketing hype of these two festive seasons.

Then the big day arrives. Everyone forgets the basic principles of a healthy diet and engorge themselves on any food they can lay their hands on. Basically it is a licence to eat as much bad food as we can put in our mouths, and then use the basic excuse of “Its Christmas” or “It’s Easter” and “It is only just one day and it won’t really matter and I had to do it”.

Then one day leads into two, and then this leads into a week and then before we know it, it has been more than just one day of bad eating, or drinking alcohol. The sad fact of that statement is that some people eat and drink alcohol like it’s Christmas and Easter every day.

With Christmas we can have many portions of baked dinner, crackling, seafood, Christmas pudding, chocolate and any other sugar substance that can be consumed it all had to be washed down with a nice alcoholic beverage, or two. Many bottles of bubbly, or choice of poison later, and we now have a stomach full of sugar, fat, cholesterol and alcohol all churning quite nicely. Diabetes and heart disease here we come.

Then approximately 1 week later it is New Years Eve and the licence, to drink like fish and eat like a ravenous bear, is pulled from the pocket and waived around once more. “But it’s Ok”, we say.

The New Year’s resolution will be to not do it again, until next year when all resolutions are forgotten. Meanwhile the system had short circuited, the gut has gone into melt down, the cholesterol levels are rising, the sugar levels have reached diabetes status and the brain cells have been reduced yet again.

Several months later when the system has started to recover, Easter arrives and the sugar binge begins; with Easter eggs and all manner of chocolate, sugar laden delight. The body short circuits itself again and will take until Christmas to recover and then it starts all over again.

Now, I wonder why the menstrual cycle would be affected?

Hmmm, I wonder?

There are only a few things that will affect a menstrual cycle and cause PMS, irregularities and pain. The trouble is many of them can be unknowingly self- inflicted. Yes, many monthly menstrual related problems can be unknowingly self- inflicted.

Let’s not forget that many people do have gynaecological issues that they suffer on a daily basis though. But even still, this high amount of burden on the system will exacerbate these pre-existing conditions and make them worse, due to the resulting high levels of inflammation. What I am trying to do is just make people aware of how conditions can be worsened and how these high levels of inflammation, from high levels of sugars etc, can cause havoc with a woman’s cycle. This is not about blame. It is about education and prevention. I am here to help, not hinder. Please remember this.

As I said there are only a few things that affect, or exacerbate, a woman’s menstrual cycle and I’m going to list them below. So that way if you are wondering why you can’t get enough Naprogesic into your body, when you get your cycle, please remember the list below.

Please also read my article on “What a proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like”. If it isn’t like the one I describe you better book in to see me soon.

What Affects a Menstrual Cycle

  1. Poor diet – Foods such as high sugars and junk foods all cause inflammation in the body and lead to hormonal irregularities and pain with the menses
  2. Alcohol – Most alcohols contain high sugars and they also cause inflammation in the body. It also interferes with your hormones and affects the liver too. In Chinese medicine the Liver governs the menstrual cycle. Excess alcohol leads to SOL ( Shit on Liver) J
  3. Poor Sleep– Sleep deprivation leads to reduction in hormones such as serotonin and then effect the moods etc. Lack of sleep also stops the body from repairing and can lead to other health issues
  4. Trauma – Things such as surgery, a virus, cold/flu etc, or where the body has to repair, can lead to menstrual irregularities. The body shuts down the menses so that it can repair itself first
  5. Weight gain or weight loss– It is a well known fact that many athletes do not get a menstrual cycle because of lack of body fat. The same goes for people who are overweight too. Too much, or too little, body fat interferes with your fertility. All your hormones are made from fats and protein.
  6. Emotional Issues– Bottled up emotions such as anger & frustration cause blockages in the system & then cause pain. Emotional issues also cause problems with hormones. Emotions can be a major issue in any health condition, or can affect hormones.

What a proper menstrual cycle should be like

A proper menstrual cycle should be 26 –32 days in it’s length. It should be 4 days flow, 5 at the most. Any shorter than 4 days is too short and any longer than 5 days is too long. This isn’t good. You shouldn’t get any pain at all, you shouldn’t get clotting, spotting, breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention or changes to the moods such as teariness or irritability. These are all signs of irregularities and need to be addressed. Some of the things that exacerbate menstrual issues are listed above.

 

Rust Never Sleeps & Neither Does Endometriosis

Endometriosis

Rust Never Sleeps, and Neither Does Endometriosis

By Dr Andrew Orr (Reproductive Medicine &Women’s Health Specialist)

When rust gets into a piece of metal, it starts to slowly eat away and corrode its unsuspecting host. Nobody really knows where it will pop up next. At first the tiny implants of rust cannot be seen, but underneath the layer of metal, the rust is at work, slowly devouring and eating away at the core of this metal piece. It is like a weed. You can cut it out, poison it, and do whatever you can to prevent its return, but once it is there and those minute little seeds have shed and spread, not matter what you seem to do, it seems to just keep popping up everywhere.

It is silent and can often take years to take full effect and be visualised, but once it is there and it full swing, it causes weakness, corrosion, toxicity and all manner of havoc for the piece of metal it has now invaded. Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it is not there either. It is the master of stealth, but eventually is will rear its ugly head everywhere, all the while it is has been working its way underneath the surface and its endless tentacles and teeth reaching out and eating at the very core of its host. As the famous musician Neil Young once said “Rust Never Sleeps”. It is perfect assassin for it needs no sleep, and it has a mission of destruction and chaos to anyone who stands in its way.

While rust may never sleep, neither does Endometriosis. Endometriosis is just like rust. It is also like a pesky weed, with a never-ending lifecycle. It spreads; it drops seeds (implants) everywhere it goes. It causes pain, it can be silent and with stealth and at the same time, spreading without causing a single ounce of pain for a significant portion of the population. All the while it is causing havoc in other parts of the body, creating the illusion that there must be something else there. It is the master of illusion. It makes many think it is something else (IBS, Bladder issues, UTI etc). It invades without a trace and can even be the master of disguise, evading even the most notable physician, but all the while it is feasting and causing chaos under the surface, just as rust does.

Just like rust, sometimes you can cut out a small piece of it and get every single minute part of it at the same time. Other times you can cut it out, and then underneath the microscopic, undetectable implants just pop up somewhere else and starts its vicious lifecycle in another location. Sometimes it can hide altogether, yet still be there under the surface causing havoc. Other times it will present itself to be seen everywhere and scatter itself so far and wide, you will never ever catch up with all of it.

While sometimes the smallest amount of it can cause immeasurable pain, sometimes the largest amounts of it will go undetected and cause no pain at all. Actually, a significant portion of women affected with Endometriosis will have no pain at all. We only hear of the women with pain and this is totally understandable. But we also need to let people know, many have no pain at all. It isn’t until the person is investigated properly (via a laparoscopy), that they find that they may be riddled with it.

Endometriosis just isn’t in the endometrial lining. It is most outside the uterus, or embedded deep into the endometrium. It can get on your tubes, in your vagina, on your bowel, into your intestines, up into your lung, around your pericardium and heart, into your brain and they have even found it in people’s fingers. It is truly like a weed, like the rust we started talking about. It can spread everywhere and as said before, can evade even the most noted medical mind. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it will try and evade you forever.

But like rust, with the right treatment, Endometriosis can found, captured, seen for what it is, have its true colour exposed, have its weakness exploited and be vanquished to the nether regions of the destructive world it appeared from. Yet, many fail to explore, or implement the right treatment, choosing to mask it, or pretend it has gone, and all the while it is being allowed to inflame, fatigue, cause pain, play with your emotions and basically wish that life as you know it would magically just end. This can be the life of many who unknowingly trust that just cutting out the rust, or trying to mask the symptoms of it, without destroying and preventing the tiny implants of it underneath the surface from appearing and taking hold again.

Like any disease, prevention is the key to treatment. Take away the fuel, and the fire can never take hold. The same goes for endometriosis. You need to take away the foods and substances (alcohol, smoking, chemical is the environment) that are fuelling the endometriosis to grow in the first place.

If the endometriosis has taken hold and is causing issues, you need to then have it cut out and removed. There is a point where no matter what medications etc you take, nothing is going to settle that inflammation and pain down and well and corrective and investigative surgery. The only way you can diagnose endometriosis is through a laparoscopy. Scans and blood test do not diagnose it. Even sometimes with surgery, endometriosis can be invisible to the naked eye, but make no mistake, it can still be there. This is why biopsies are taken to see if the microscopic implants are there causing pain and havoc, underneath he surface. But even then, it can infiltrate deep into the muscles and around the nerves to remain undetectable, even via a biopsy. But make no mistake, at some stage, it will rear its ugly head to be seen and to be heard. For those that know the symptoms, they will know it is there, when all other measures of investigation fail.

Once the visible disease is found, it needs to be removed and then you need to prevent its return. The only way you can do this is suppress and then destroy the microscopic implants and the very thing they feed off. Never make the mistake of thinking that surgery is where all your treatment ends. It isn’t. This is where the real work begins.

While estrogenic response is a know factor, we also know that insulin feeds inflammation and also causes problems with estrogen and hormone metabolism and distribution. If you get the diet under control, reduce the inflammation through lack of insulin and sugars, then you also help regulate the hormones and starve the endometriosis. You need to eat as clean as possible and this means grain free and no refined foods at all. Lots of proteins, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, good oils, pre and probiotics and water.

Herbal medicines and other natural medicines and supplements, can also help control and diminish the microscopic implants of endometriosis and also help prevent its return. They can also help with hormone regulation and help with insulin resistance and also help with reducing inflammation. They are a must and now why the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend herbal medicines and acupuncture and part of the overall treatment plan for the guidelines of treatment of endometriosis.

You also need to look at stress and emotional factors that are driving the inflammation in the first place. Learn some coping skills, learn to relax, find that quiet time, do some yoga, or some form of relaxation. Do whatever it takes to find that stillness in your daily life. You can’t treat a disease without looking at the emotional and lifestyle component of it as well.

So, before you go and try and mask the symptoms of endometriosis and the actual diseases itself, with the pill, Mirena, or other current medical approach, ask yourself this. What are you doing to prevent the cause of the disease in the first place?

Endometriosis requires and multi-modality approach to get rid of it and prevent its return. If you don’t take this approach, then it will nearly always come back. Yes, you need to surgery, but, you still also need to prevent and treat the actual cause of the disease in the first place. This will then treat the microscopic implants from ever coming to life and causing more misery for everyone concerned.

Having just had a loved one riddled with endometriosis, I am going to do everything possible I can to help prevent the return of this horrible disease for this most cherished and loved individual. A multimodality approach will be used and I know that eventually I will take control and vanquish this terrible foe into oblivion where it belongs, like I have done for so many other people in my years of practice. But, with any disease it also requires compliance of the patient too.

What are you doing to control your endometriosis? Do you want to just mask it, or fix it for good?

If so, you need to implement a multimodality approach that I mentioned above and help boot endometriosis out of your life forever.

Just remember, rust never sleeps and neither does endometriosis.

Take care and remember there is always hope and help if you listen where to find it.

I am always here to help you find that help

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

 

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In addition to Fertility, Gynaecology, Pregnancy and Women and Men’s Health, which is looked at on a medical level, we also use Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Nutrition and Holistic medicine, to treat the cause of many other disorders. This integrative medicine modalities work on several levels to:

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