Gemmotherapy Answers: Women DO Need To Have Periods!

September 22, 2015

Early in September an article claiming that women did not need a menstrual cycle circulated through multiple social media channels, so I am pretty sure you have seen it at one point or another. Because it was so incredibly off the mark I chose at first to let it go, but when the NYTimes included a reprint of the article from The Atlantic last week, I decided it was time to address this head on. While I honestly would rather be singing the praises of fall veggies to fill your fridge this week, it’s important to put that on pause and offer some honest counter arguments to this wildly popular article.

What the article says

In case you missed it or need a refresher, the article is titled; Women don’t need to have periods. Just on that statement alone I could fill a room with women from my practice who have suffered severe side effects, often for years, by buying into that line. All of whom I am absolutely certain would love to share their experiences that proved the opposite to be true.

The author, Alana Massey a writer from Brooklyn, has now gone 3 years without menstruating due to her use of a Mirena IUD. In the article she makes her case against the need to menstruate through quotes from an interesting array of professionals to support her argument. Through it all she sings the praises of the gains she has experienced and shares these opinions:

she was “inconvenienced and frankly resentful of the fact that I had to spend three to seven days per month bleeding. . .”

she didn’t “want the burden of buying tampons and avoiding wearing white.”

Believes that, “getting rid of women’s periods is a bonus that saves them time, money, pain, and stress, with no known medical downsides.”

Declares that “if they ever want their periods back, all they need to do is have the IUD or implant removed.”

She cites a study on the positive health effects of women using IUD’s from the New England Journal of Medicine. You would need to read the fine print of this study to see that the “health factors” accessed in the study included:

  1. practical difficulties
  2. social life
  3. psychological health
  4. physical health
  5. work and daily routine
  6. family life
  7. relationships

While I will not argue all of these are part of a woman’s well-being, they are secondary to her physiological symptoms that I believe this study chose to ignore. Nowhere do they look at what the effects the IUD had on the rest of the body, very likely because conventional medicine on the whole does not see the body in this way, choosing instead to look at each organ as a separate entity.

Here how I see it

What I’ve learned is though the uterus is thought of as primarily a womb, it actually functions first as another pathway of elimination for women. Monthly cycles are an extra way for women’s bodies to clean. This means that:

  1. You DO need your period and it should NOT be painful. Those painful symptoms are there to bring your attention to a deeper imbalance that likely began even before your menstrual cycles did. Read this post about what that imbalance looked like in your childhood. So this isn’t an either/or situation, it’s a clear cry from your body to fix the root of the problem.
  2. Using hormonal birth control to suppress menstrual pain is only exacerbating the inflammation caused by a sluggish lymphatic system and less than optimal elimination organs. This post on painful periods explains how you’re just shifting symptoms this way.
  3. Disruption of a regular cycle for any length of time will likely lead to overworked bowels and/or kidneys. This creates a build up of acidic wastes which will then produce any or all of these symptoms:
  • Digestive disturbances (Bloating, flatulence, acid reflux)
  • Changes in bowel movements (less than the optimal two a day, loose frequent stools)
  • Increase need to urinate or sense of an oncoming UTI
  • Nighttime urination
  • Skin disturbances (acne and/or eczema)
  • Painful breast swelling
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lower back pain
  • Irritability, Increased Anxiety, or Depressive Symptoms
    This post on inflammation and infertility discusses the approach I use in my practice.
  1. Finally, don’t forget there is a huge pharmaceutical industry out there whose livelihood depends on the sale of birth control devices that will ease your pain or stop your period. It’s an unfortunate fact that much of the research we rely on for our health information is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. This is not cynicism, this is the truth and we can no longer risk our health and that of the next generation because of our naiveté. The greatest source of truth is to listen to your body and recognize its natural healing capabilities. Learning to listen and taking proactive steps that work WITH our body’s innate ability to clean and heal, we can have it all—painless periods and a body in harmony.

This is a topic very near and dear to my heart. I have two grown daughters who I have coached through this approach and I work primarily with women’s fertility on a daily basis in my practice. I see day in and out the mis-service done to women and their bodies by conventional medicine, advice that does not take into account the integrated functions of the body, and highly accepted and promoted prescription birth control that is dangerous in the long run.

After removing the IUD or discontinuing the use of any hormonal birth control, a full body detox is in order to restore a regular cycle, and address menstrual pain, endometriosis, and all inflammatory conditions at their source. In my office this is accomplished by applying the Living Well 4, utilizing the therapies of Gemmotherapy, Homeopathy and a Plant-Based Diet to ease the body into harmony. The length of the process is dependent on how long the birth control methods were in place, inherited traits, and commitment to the protocols.

I’d love to hear from women who have personally experienced the negative side of eliminating a monthly menstrual flow. I’m hoping, too, that women who have worked with me to heal their menstrual symptoms and harmonize their bodies will share their experiences.

I hope I’ve given you pause to question this No Periods movement at least a bit more. I know much of what I say here is counter to what’s being reported from these generally reliable sources, but I feel very strongly that there are better, healthier ways for you and your loved ones.

Please do share your questions or experiences in the comments section and read what others have to say. Together we can start a broader conversation about this underexamined women’s issue.

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8 Comments

  1. Melissa on September 22, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Of course… commented on blog too, but want to send you some photos too.

    As a woman who used to sing the praises of Mirena- I can absolutely tell you that you NEED to have a cycle. I first got my IUD in 2006, when I was 24 and for the first few years, like the author, I was in love… I sang its praises and convinced any woman that would listen to do the same. Unfortunately for several of my friends, it was not a good fit. One friend had a UTI after UTI after UTI and had to have it removed. Another kept developing ovarian cysts and so it was a no go. I honestly felt sorry for those “poor” girls and felt so lucky I had no side effects. But guess what ladies hormones change and by the time I turned 29, I was in an all out battle with my IUD. Every month for two weeks I would get massive breast tenderness and I mean massive, need a bigger bra, strap ice packs on every night to help with swelling.. I was miserable.. what happened to being care(pms)free. And then came the acne.. and not just a blemish here or there, but cystic acne and even worse… backne! I was miserable and I had to do something. As luck would have my friend’s sister was being treated for horrible acne that had turned into a staff infection and do you know what the medical doctors tracked the source back to.. .you guessed it Mirena. As I heard the story, I knew I had to do something. I had been seeing Lauren for a couple of years, and she had advised removing the IUD for a while but I wasn’t ready. Now I was. I removed it in Oct. of 2013 and contrary to the author, it is not just a simple remove and go on with your life. I had literally been surprising my natural hormones for YEARS… and you go into a crash. There are actually books and support groups about the Mirena Detox! That says something! (https://www.facebook.com/themirenadetoxprogram ) Lauren’s protocol made my transition so much easier than other’s I read about. I actually returned to a cycle in a one month and my face cleared up in about a month. Some women took months or even up to a year to actually start menstruating again and when you are in your mid-to-late thirties you become more aware of time and your level of fertility.

    Honestly, this experience made me completely reconsider my stance on birth control. As I began to read more and more the effects of birth control, I started seeing more and more side effects in my close friends. Girlfriends that had been on the pill since their early teens that not only experience major infertility problems when they got off but major digestive problems.

    And if that isn’t enough to convince you, did you know that birth control suppresses your natural pheromones and can actually effect the type of men you are attracted do. Research it!!! And from someone who dated the wrong guys for YEARS, and then two months of getting after getting off birth control meet the right guy, I have to say, I think there is something to this period thing! 🙂

    • Lauren on September 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Melissa thank you so much for giving others an opportunity to learn from your story and personal research. Your case was really landmark in my practice. I still find it as such an astounding example of how when the body is supported to clean itself it can and will heal. Your commitment to eating clean and taking your gemmos has really paid off!

  2. Janice on September 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for writing this Lauren! Here’s a bit about why I completely agree with Lauren’s post. Two months ago I had my Mirena IUD removed after having it for 2 1/2 years to combat the growth of my endometriosis. I’d had a low dose regular birth control pill for two years before that for the same reason. I’d been suffering from weight gain, irritability, intense bloating and abdominal pain and no period since having the IUD. Two days after removing the IUD I had my first appointment with Lauren to begin Gemmotherapy and homeopathics. I have had three periods since starting the gemmos and homeopathy and have had zero menstrual pain and no more abdominal pain. I’ve ALWAYS had extremely painful periods and the abdominal pain I’d had for 7 years. Now I feel a huge relief every time I have a period. I can feel the strain on my body lessening. I feel cleaner, lighter and happier. I actually am looking forward to having my full cycle every month now. What a pleasure that my body is able to begin to work properly. We have only begun the process and there is already so much progress!! I think back to when I chose to have the IUD and what I felt was that it was the only option. The easiest option. No period meant no growth of endometriosis. It seemed daunting to try anything else. I wish I had known about Gemmotherapy then. I wish I had been advised to embrace my period and the gift it is to my body.

    In addition to the Gemmos and homeopathic remedies I also have been eating a healthy plant-based, low to no gluten diet for 4 years (and the IUD still caused me to gain weight) and Lauren tells me that because of my diet my body is able to respond quickly to the protocols.

    • Lauren on September 24, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      It is really important to note that Janice gets a great deal of credit for the dramatic shift in her symptoms. While I gave her the right tools to do the job unless she was committed to using them the progress would not occur. Many of my clients struggle with making dietary changes to reduce their inflammatory state and in some cases I am able to only barely keep up draining off what they are putting in. In my observations dairy, alcohol and sugar and the greatest culprits followed by grains with gluten and meat. Every body is different and so much depends on what organs are being affected. I say kuddos to Janice for being fed up enough to make the changes needed and start enjoying a symptom free life!

  3. Diana on September 24, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I resisted birth control for a very long time, and only began taking one that (supposedly) completely stops menstruation after the doctors had to remove a 10 cm. endometrioma from my gut. I’ve never suffered pain from menstruation nor from the endometriosis, but I’d rather be on constant birth control than have to undergo another surgery, and I’m not at a point in my life where pregnancy (a sure-fire endometriosis cure) is an option. I’m exploring alternative medicine: acupuncture and herbal remedies. I just wanted it out there that sometimes the choice to shut down the menstrual cycle is for reasons other than menstrual pain.

    • Lauren on September 24, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      HI Diana
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I can certainly understand your not wanting to undergo another surgery. There is however an alternative that has proven successful in my practice. Endometriomas grow in women who’s lymphatic system and the elimination organs are not performing optimally. By activating the natural cleaning systems of the body with Gemmotherapy, Homeopathy and a Plant Based Diet to rid the body of waste, what caused this condition can be healed. Not having a period is only a temporary measure that only adds to the “perfect storm” that encouraged the growth of an endometrioma in the first place. Here is a blog post that explains my method and another on opening elimination, the first stage of healing. I’d be happy to answer any further questions as I know this is a complex issue.

    • Janice on September 28, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Hi Diana. Just to give you some hope… I too had surgery, ten years ago, for endometriosis that had accumulated on one of my ovaries and was pushing out my L5 every time I would bend over, which I did a lot because I worked with young children at the time. I was put on birth control afterward as well. It curbed the symptoms for a while but brought on new ones. Also, I’ve since had a child and continued to have endometrial issues, so pregnancy, although wonderful, is not a cure for endometriosis. Before learning about Lauren and her work I had ultra-sounds, a colonoscopy, an IUD all to try to find out what could stop the feeling of the endometriosis growing again and the pain I was having. I was preparing myself for another surgery. I was shocked when the symptoms diminished almost completely with Lauren’s treatments.

  4. Michelle on September 25, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m 50. I think that i may have used ‘the pill’ for a cumulative 3 year between 18-35. It never felt right, and having monthly pain did feel right. (Not bad, just a ‘hello, we’re busy down here” most of the time.)

    Not being much of a science-type, and not being much of a conventional girl, I have instinctively honored the marvel of evolutionary biology. If this is how we develop optimally for the continuance of our species, it seems to me that monkeying with the procreation aspects is dangerous. In an eastern sense, don’t mess with the flow. In a spiritual sense, don’t denigrate that which has been created so beautifully.

    I’ll admit that I have not suffered as some do with their cycle. But I can’t see massive benefits from shutting off a huge portion of the hormonal balance the is tied to so many other functions of our healthful being.

    Thanks so much for this, Lauren!

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