And how to cure it with four (or five) simple steps
By Ariela Knoles
A few months ago, I paid out of pocket to see a somewhat renowned OB/GYN and functional medicine doctor here in town. We had a good telemedicine meeting where I expressed my concern regarding intense pain during ovulation. It was so painful at the time that it obstructed my ability to use the bathroom. I told her ovarian cancer runs in my family, and I'm scared. A few moments after we got off our call, I received her assessment and plan summary. Heart pounding and clammy hands from the mere thought she might express urgency to see me in person, I hurriedly (not reluctantly) opened the file and saw under "Assessment" a whimsical German word: Mittelschmerz.
The word stood lonely on the page.
If you already know what Mittelschmerz is, then you might think, "So what?" when I tell you that I let out a big guffaw after sounding it out in my head. All I could imagine was a grumpy, old German male doctor declare, "Mee-tel schmerz!" I didn't know what the hell that meant. So, of course, I googled it, and suddenly it wasn't all that funny anymore; nor was it as frightening as my inner Wednesday Addams had hoped. All it means is "middle pain." Which, medically, means ovulation pain. Yawn.
Fast forward a few months after much investigation and consulting from various professionals how to get rid of this mittelschmerz, it finally went away.
And now, I'd like to share the four (maybe five) remedies that worked for me, which also had a miracle effect of simultaneously regulating my entire cycle...
Professionally-administered Vaginal Steaming via Steamy Chick Institute
If adding four more things to your to-do sounds overwhelming, then look no further. Make a consultation with a Peristeam Hydrotherapist for your own personalized Vaginal Steam protocol, and you'll be amazed how quickly it'll clear up most of your symptoms. Unfortunately, the internet is racked with vaginal steam horror stories, but that's because a lot of novices don't know what they're doing. Seek a professional so you can tell her exactly what your body is going through and then she can provide you with the appropriate herbs and steam plan.
I swear, I'm not trying to convert you into a hippie. Seed Cycling actually has a mind-bogglingly amazing effect on hormonal balance. The practice is easy and the concept is wonderfully explained on Nourished by Nutrition. Basically, you take flax/pumpkin seeds from first day of menstruation to first day of ovulation then switch to sunflower seeds/sesame seeds or Evening Primrose oil from ovulation to menstruation. Do this along with vaginal steaming and you're golden.
The form of flax I take is Andreas Seed Oils' "Premium Flax Seed Oil." They even state on their site that it helps regulate menstrual cycles.
Herbal protocol prescribed by a certified Ayurvedic practitioner
Emphasis on certified. And while you're at it, do your research on who certified them. As you can imagine, this route is a commitment. You may be given lots of different herbs (a.k.a. rasayanas) and it may even be a journey finding a legit vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor). Feel free to reach out to me if you're on the search for one!
Decreasing most dairy products
I hate to say it, but decreasing my consumption of milk, yogurt and cheese does help. Is it the cow's hormones not vibing with ours? Is it the poor farming practices in America? The stress-chemistry from the cow? One must ask when Ayurvedic doctors encourage the consumption of milk and yogurt. Then again, cows are holy in India and they're treated as such.
Meditation and a good psychologist
Some people stop at meditation. Some people stop at psychology. If you're really committed to your mental health, you marry the two. Releasing stress and dealing with past traumas can have a revolutionary effect on your reproductive health. A dear friend of mine noticed a link between her friends with endometriosis and their past with sexual trauma. I would venture to say she's actually onto something. I know we're talking about mittelschmerz, but perhaps there's a link there, too. Our bodies are a print-out of our consciousness. When our female organs are suffering, it's evidence of trauma -- the defilement of something we possess that's sacred and life-giving; a failed sisterhood; a society that stifles the matriarchy that, in truth, lives in everyone's core. At the end of the day, we learn to take care of ourselves from the inside out. Then, the sisterhood is strengthened. And a spark reminds us all that Nature is in harmony when women are revered.