Friday, October 12, 2012

Female Endurance Athlete but Still Female Once a Month

Athlete or not, female have to deal with a monthly roller coaster of hormone levels. While we often forget about the previous month's mood swing and uncontrollable tears, each period comes with it's own thunder and storm. Before we have time to realize what is physically the cause of our anger and sadness, things can get a bit out of control on an emotional level.  Add to that a regimented training schedule and the roller coaster just got scarier!

So this is a little piece on my own experience that I hope can help others. I usually keep the blog posts really general but this one is a bit different.  

-Very low energy just before the start of the female cycle ( making it hard to exercise)
- Strong sadness and mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating on daily tasks
-Strange sleep patterns 
-Cramps and discomfort

Typical Action Reaction:
I got my blood tested, I got all the levels checked,  I started to take supplements... 
The results came back from the lab and of course everything was normal! Western medicine told me that if I refused to take pills, I just had to deal with things the way they were.... well I was not happy with that answer and decided to search a bit further. 

I decided to look towards Chinese medicine. I was thinking at that point, I had nothing to loose. I really wanted to be able to control a little better the emotions but more importantly deal with the energy level changes throughout the month before a busy racing season. 
I went to a first visit at Jade Mountain Wellness and Acupuncture and spent some time with Erin Potter going through a really thorough questionnaire. I was really surprised and amazed by the different approach between Western and Chinese medicine. From the initial assessment,  Erin explained to me what she though was the issue  (Spleen Deficiency in my case) and proceeded to advice me on a list of things to do and some food to integrate in my diet. It was pretty simple! In addition to acupuncture,  Erin gave me a Chinese blend of tea to take multiple times a day to help regulate things out. All the ingredients were quite mild and she took the time to check that it did not contain any performance enhancement herbs therefore would not test positive in any doping test. At first, weekly treatments were set but as things were improving, we reduced the treatments. After 3 months, things have greatly improved. 

Jade Lake,
 Mt Revelstoke Provincial Park
Of course not everything is perfect but  I would say they are under way better control! 
The biggest changes I have seen are no more cramping and discomfort and no to very little mood swings. I can tell when things are just about to happen but no more emotional roller coaster. Energy wise, the difference between the weeks is not as dramatic anymore and by keeping track of the date of the anticipated start of the period, I can plan for a recovery week and hit two birds with one stone! 

I am not saying that Chinese medicine and Acupuncture would work for everyone but if you have been struggling with similar issues and are tired of the "take a pill and you will be fine" response, maybe you should consider an alternative. There are plenty of really qualify, professional and knowledgeable Chinese Doctors our there and in Revelstoke, we are lucky to have Erin Potter and Jade Mountain Wellness & Acupuncture! Endurance Athlete or not, there are ways out there to make the monthly crisis easier to bare!


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