Period Health 101: Everything You Should Have Learned in 6th Grade but Didn’t, Part 3 of 3

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By Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS, PHRC Encinitas

 

In our third and final post of this series we share hormonal alterations that people may experience. In case you missed it, check out Period Health 101, Part One  and Period Health 101, Part Two to best understand this post!

 

Symptoms of Hormonal Alterations

Hormonal birth control

 

Why should hormonal birth control not be your first option. I want to be clear, it may be a necessary tool for you, but it won’t necessarily fix what is going on and may cause additional issues. 

 

When you are on hormonal birth control – the pill, the patch, the ring, etc., you DO NOT OVULATE. The hormonal IUDs sometimes fall into this category but not always, with the exception of the copper IUD (Paragaurd) as this is not a hormonal form of birth control; thus you do not stop ovulation. For more information on IUDs, please see the resource list at the end of this post. If you do not ovulate you do not technically have a period.  Read about oral contraceptives and their impact on your body here.

 

I don’t have a period on hormonal birth control? 

 

But wait, you are thinking, I still bleed when I am on the pill? The bleeding that one experiences on the pill is called a “pill bleed.” Please do not confuse this with your real period. It is synthetically designed to “trick” your body that everything is normal. Hormonal birth control disrupts the communication of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and therefore you do not make hormones. If it is suggested to you to use the pill to “regulate your periods” it is not doing this at all, it is actually stopping your normal hormonal function altogether. This can lead to PCOS, mood changes, pelvic pain, low sex drive, gut issues, skin issues, and temporary infertility (Briden, 2018). This topic will be discussed in more detail in the upcoming blogs. Who has not been on the pill? Hardly anyone and these changes are affecting millions of women so stay tuned.

 

If you are curious about your period or are questioning if there is an underlying condition that is affecting your period, we suggest working with a specialist. It is important to note that your standard OBGYN may not be aware of the consequences that hormonal imbalances from synthetic hormones can cause and really are trying to help you with the tools they have.  Pelvic floor physical therapists are typically aware of these problems because they directly affect the same areas we are working with. Seeking help from an integrative provider, like myself, can help you to determine the root cause of your specific issues and help you create and implement a treatment plan.

 

If you are interested in learning more about period health and what to do about it, I highly recommend Dr. Lara Briden’s book “The period repair manual,” as it discusses all of this information and helps you understand where conventional medicine is lacking, and provides alternative options for common problems the pill is often used for. Additionally, she gives tips on how to talk with your doctor about some of these things to get more answers. 

 

If you are a pelvic floor physical therapist and are looking to learn more about period health as well as common conditions like endometriosis, follow us to find out about our upcoming courses in 2021 which will include managing the complexities of endometriosis!

Did you know that we are on YouTube? Subscribe for video resources and expanded information about our blogs!

 

References:

 

  1. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 651: Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(6):e143-e146. 
  2. Briden L, Prior JC. Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods. Place of publication not identified: Greenpeak Publishing; 2018. 
  3. Reed BG, Carr BR. The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation. [Updated 2018 Aug 5]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000
  4. Mihm M, Gangooly S, Muttukrishna S. The normal menstrual cycle in women. Anim Reprod Sci. 2011;124(3-4):229-236. 
  5. Knudtson J, McLaughlin JE. Female reproductive endocrinology. Merck manual professional version

 

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Are you unable to come see us in person? We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!

Due to COVID-19, we understand people may prefer to utilize our services from their homes. We also understand that many people do not have access to pelvic floor physical therapy and we are here to help! The Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center is a multi-city company of highly trained and specialized pelvic floor physical therapists committed to helping people optimize their pelvic health and eliminate pelvic pain and dysfunction. We are here for you and ready to help, whether it is in-person or online. 

Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. The cost for this service is $85.00 per 30 minutes. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page

PHRC is also offering individualized movement sessions, hosted by Karah Charette, DPT. Karah is a pelvic floor physical therapist at the Berkeley and San Francisco locations. She is certified in classical mat and reformer Pilates, as well as a registered 200 hour Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher. There are 30 min and 60 min sessions options where you can: (1) Consult on what type of Pilates or yoga class would be appropriate to participate in (2) Review ways to modify poses to fit your individual needs and (3) Create a synthesis of your home exercise program into a movement flow. To schedule a 1-on-1 appointment call us at (510) 922-9836

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