25 May 2010

Fluid retention all over right now

Well I have some fluid retention most noticeably in my breasts and stomach. I can tell because my stomach is a bit more bloated and less flat (which is how it normally is) and my bra feels like it's too small for my breasts, whereas a few days ago, it was okay.

I haven't got much pain in my breasts from the fluid retention, which is good. Today I noticed that my bra feels quite small, like I need to get a bigger bra to accommodate my breasts, whereas yesterday, it didn't feel that way. My breasts also feel really heavy, much heavier than they did yesterday - as if the fluid has added a few grams of weight to them.

I have been doing a little exercise most day, but not very much at all.

I have been taking a liquid iron supplement (to build up my iron stores), some psyillium fibre and acidophilus probiotic powder. I think the iron is helping quite a lot. I don't feel as tired as I normally feel and it may be helping in other ways too - by topping up the iron in my body, I get more oxygen flowing around in my blood and this gets to my cells and helps to give me more energy. I no long feel like totally lethargic and sleepy every day, I have a bit more energy. That is something positive. I guess it means I need to finish this bottle of iron and maybe buy another one to take after my next cycle has ended.  I really don't eat much meat and don't eat enough other foods rich in iron and then I bleed heavily during my monthly flow, so it means my iron stores get a bit low.  I have to review the foods I eat and start eating an egg and some spinach every day, both of which have high levels of iron.

I have also been eating organic chocolate every day - some days more than others. If I get upset, I tend to eat more chocolate.

23 May 2010

Officially in PMS mode for the month

I just checked my calendar and it has been three weeks and two days (23 days) since my last period started, which means I am well and truly in PMS mode.

There should be less than a week before my next menstrual cycle starts, if it's going to be on time, otherwise, it may be a bit longer than that. Still, I am very much in PMS at the moment.

When I had my jeans on today, I noticed some bloating in my stomach - it was not as flat as it normally was (and even not as flat as it was just yesterday). At first I thought maybe I had eaten too much of something (probably chocolate), but then I realised that my stomach couldn't have gotten  bloated that much in one day, all of a sudden from eating something and besides which, I didn't eat a lot of anything yesterday. That's when I thought that it must be because I am in PMS mode that my fluid levels are a bit wonky and making me retain more fluid in certain areas than others (my thighs and legs feel a little bloated too). So when I looked at my calendar to find out when I had my last periods and that's when I realised where I was in my cycle. It all made sense - PMS!

I have been keeping track of my of my menstrual cycle for a few years now, to try to make sense of the actual length of my cycle. It helps, because it means I can work out when my periods are about to start (give or take a few days), especially lately when my cycle has been a lot more regular than normal. And that is nice.

I have been taking a liquid iron supplement again, because of my heavy menstrual flow and lack of meat in my diet means I tend to get a bit low in iron and iron stores and tend towards iron-deficient anaemia. I can feel that this second bottle (I took some last month too) is making a difference as I have been feeling less tired.  I am supposed to get a blood test done in the next few days to determine levels of iron and a number of other things, so that should tell me if this iron supplement has been working.

11 May 2010

More exercise and massage every day

I have been massaging my legs quite diligently the last two days (since my periods ended), for about five minutes each leg, about twice a day. The massage I have been giving my legs has been over my clothes and it's more of a rub-down, vibrational one, where I do a motion with the sides of my palms vertically down on my legs, all over. This has the effect of stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic systems to function better.

I have also been doing quite a lot of leg exercises and leg stretches, but I have also been doing other exercises and stretches for other parts of the body too, because any exercise program should include your whole body (or at least certain parts on certain days, but all the body to be exercised throughout the week).

I have been trying to make sure I massage my legs as they seem to feel the worst effects of the fluid retention when I get my periods and also prior during PMS, so I'll have to monitor my progress when I get into PMS mode and when menstruation starts to see if this has any effect.

09 May 2010

Cous Cous and Quinoa Prawn Delight

This recipe is one that I have made before and is really delicious! You can just use quinoa only to make it totally gluten-free.

Cous Cous and Quinoa Prawn Delight

Makes: 4 portions
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins 

200g wholewheat cous cous
100g wholegrain quinoa
300g prawns (you can use more if you like), peeled, leave tail on
3 carrots, cut into 2-3cm thin sticks
1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
1 red (Spanish) onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped finely
12-16 snow peas, cut julienne
4 tsp sesame seeds
4 tsp pine nuts
1 vegetable stock cube (use an organic one)
Olive oil
Fresh coriander leaves

  1. Finely chop the garlic and onions and to a pan with some olive oil.
  2. Saute the garlic and onion at medium heat until they are transluscent.
  3. In a pan, add 3 cups of water to the quinoa with a pinch of salt and a small amount of olive oil and boil until the quinoa opens a little (about 5-7 minutes) with the lid on, checking on the quinoa to see when it is finished.
  4. Meanwhile, add 200g cous cous with about 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil, the stock cube and 300ml of boiling water and let simmer uncovered for about 1 minute, after which you need to turn off the heat and place a lid on the pan. After about 4-5 minutes of this, fluff the cous cous with a fork and set aside.
  5. Add the carrots to the pan with the garlic and onion and saute for a few minutes.
  6. Add the eggplant to the pan and sauted a little more. Add a little olive oil and/or water if there is not enough liquid to get the eggplant cooked properly.
  7. Drain the quinoa and add it to the pan with the cous cous.
  8. In a large serving bowl, add the quinoa/cous cous, then slowly add the vegetables and then the prawns and mix through thoroughly.
  9. Serve immediately, topped with the snow peas, some chopped coriander, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and pine seeds.
Use organic ingredients as this will be much more tastier and healthier. This is a very filling, but nutritious recipe healthy for all the family and very quick to prepare. This recipe is high in fibre, low in sodium and high in iron.

Recipe was taken from: Cous Cous Quinoa Prawn Delight - Vital Health Zone

PMS and Menustration Update

I haven't updated this blog in a while and I will try to be more diligent about it from now on, at least to post something every month, around the time of PMS and just into my menstrual cycle, to try to post how it's going with me.

The intervening months since I last posted, my periods have been quite regular, more than ever, with my periods coming usually every 28-30 days almost every cycle, other than one or two which were very irregular and my periods not starting for almost 38 days after my last one, but they were the exception rather than the rule.

In addition to this, I have been experiencing milder period pain most months. Sometimes though, I still get really painful periods for say two cycles and then mild pain for several cycles and then again the severe pain for two cycles. It's been this way for as long as I can remember, so that is normal for me.

The PMS/PMDD symptoms have been fluctuating up and down, mainly depending on a number of factors:
  • what I have been eating in the preceding month
  • how much I have been exercising in the preceding month
  • if there have been any emotional conflicts in the preceding month
I have found that if there have been a lot of emotional conflict (especially if I am keeping in or repressing emotions) and I haven't been exercising enough in the preceding month, those two factors are enough to cause severe PMS/PMDD and cause me to have very painful periods too. So it's like a double whammy - not just the emotional symptoms, but also the physical ones too both prior to menstruation and during menstruation.

I think the emotional aspect is really an important one as it has quite a major bearing on how my body deals with the hormones that are fluctuating during PMS time. If there are many negative emotions that have not been released, this can be enough to cause PMS/PMDD symptoms to be quite severe and the more negative emotions there are, the worse the PMS becomes, more like PMDD.

Eating properly and exercising adequately are normal for me to do, as I eat really well, I dont eat much that is not good for me and I do some exercise just about every day. So for me, it's the emotional aspect that is the issue with my PMS symptoms.

PMS Not So Bad This Month

This past month, I have not had such bad PMS nor did I have really bad period pain either and my periods came 28 days after the previous month's menstruation. This menstrual cycle was one of my more nicer ones, so that was a great relief.

I think it was because I didn't eat much of anything that was bad for me - I think I had only one packet of chips (and they were made with all organic ingredients) and I generally ate mostly healthy things every day, lots of vegetables and fruit (all organic of course), some protein, some nuts and seeds most day (pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, almonds) and every meal I had for lunch and dinner was home made from scratch by me. The only junk food I may have had was chocolate, always dark and mostly always organic (or at least European). But as we all know, chocolate is actually good for you, especially dark chocolate and definitely organic, so it's not a bad thing to eat chocolate.

I also did some exercise every day, just a little and that helped to ensure my circulation was working properly.

In addition to that, I did some affirmations most nights (and some days) as well as proper breathing and some meditation, plus I did a little bit of massage on my legs - both upper and lower parts - on a number of days, so that also helped with circulation.

The only part of my periods that was a little annoying was that my stomach got bloated and my ankles hurt (from the fluid retention) for a few days. The bloating though, stayed throughout my whole period, but as soon as it was over, my stomach went back to being flat again. The other thing that is really annoying about my periods is that I get excessively tired (hypersomnia) for 2-3 days just before my periods, during PMS and all through my periods. I think it is because of the iron loss in the blood so I am replacing it with an iron supplement this month to prevent this next month, as I know that I am slightly anaemic.

The PMS I had was less severe and didn't affect my ability to function, so it was quite bearable. I only felt it at certain times on a few days, but it was not anything severe so it was nice. I can only wish my cycle was this good every month with little PMS and basically no menstrual pain.