Ep.16 Womb Care 101: Why tampons are not self-loving.

Tamra MerciecaPodcast2 Comments

Did you know that prior to menopause a woman’s womb cleanses itself once a month? You may know this as a woman’s ‘period’. Problem is, most of us ladies have learnt to adopt habits and behaviours that get in the way of this all-important ‘womb cleanse’. And when a womb doesn’t get the chance to cleanse itself regularly, we create a breeding ground for menstrual difficulties and gynaecological issues… some serious…

Today on I Love Me The Podcast, I’ll be sharing how your womb cleanses itself, and what you may be doing that could be getting in the way of that cleanse. By the end of this episode you’ll have the awareness and insights you need to start cleaning up your pelvis, so you can experience more easeful periods and vibrant pelvic health.

Tomorrow is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, and that’s why I wanted to talk about some simple, and powerful ways of supporting your pelvis, so you can experience a healthy, happy body.

Because if you’re a woman, it’s important to understand that your pelvic health – and the state of your menstrual cycle – it’s like a barometer to your overall health and fertility.

And caring for our bodies, is a core part of cultivating self-love.

How we treat our bodies really is an indicator of how much we love ourself.

And how wiling we are to love ourself.

So today, I want to talk about periods.

Once a month our womb cleanses itself.

This is what we call our ‘period’.

Other organs in the body also keep themselves healthy by doing cleanses.

For example, each night the liver cleanses our blood, our bladder empties and cleanses itself several times per day when we urinate, and the colon will clean out waste at least daily in a healthy body.

All of our vital organs have a way of maintaining their health through a self-regulated cleanse.

So what we know as the ‘period’, is actually a uterine cleanse, or a ‘womb cleanse’.

The ‘uterus’ is the anatomical name, for what women often refer to as the ‘womb’.

In a womb cleanse the uterine lining – which is made up of a think layer of mucous – is shed once a month, coming down the vaginal canal, and then we catch it.

Along with the uterine lining is an unfertilised follicle; the egg.

What we need to understand, is that menstrual blood is NOT held within the womb throughout the month and then eliminated during the period.

When it’s time for our period to arrive, the arteries in the uterus open to let blood – which is made in the liver and pumped by the heart – into the uterus to flush it out.

To help it do its monthly cleanse.

Now this is all good and well, until we start interfering with the womb cleanse.

Yes, we can actually do things – you’re quite possibly doing some of these things right now – that make it difficult for the womb to cleanse itself.

For instance, if you wear tampons during your period, it’s like leaving a rag in a sink and expecting the water to empty; the rag blocks the drainage.

The same thing happens if you use a tampon and block the outward flow of blood.

It makes it really hard for the womb to cleanse itself, because you’ve just blocked up the exit.

When this happens, the body does one of two things…

In the first instance, the body will think ‘Oh, I’m having trouble doing my cleanse, I need to turn ‘up’ the flow of blood to flush out this old residue because it seems to be stuck’ and then proceeds to pump more blood into the uterus to try and shift the blockage.

This is one of the reasons why many woman have heavy periods, because the body perceives there is something blocking the exit of blood – which there is, a tampon – so it pumps more blood into the uterus.

The second thing that can happen, is the body starts to contract – what woman call ‘cramps’ – the body contracts to try to get the stuck thing out.

Our uterus is a muscle that can contract.

That’s one of the functions of the uterus.

When a woman’s giving birth, the uterus contracts to move the baby out.

In this instance, we want the uterus contracting.

However, during a normal period there shouldn’t be anything stuck in the uterus that needs pushing out.

But… more often than not, woman are holding a lot of residue in their uterus – clots, old blood, last month’s lining – because their uterus isn’t getting its proper cleanse each month.

What I’m saying, is that if the body isn’t able to flush out the monthly accumulation, then it stays stuck in the uterus until the following month.

During the next period, the body tries to get out that old residue again, by turning up the blood pressure and/or contracting, in an effort to solve the problem.

To get a full cleanse.

So when a woman experiences cramping, heavy bleeding, clotting, brown or black blood… these are signs that there’s old residue in the uterus, and the uterus wasn’t able to get a full cleanse.

This is what they call ‘stagnation’ in Chinese Medicine, which is essentially poor circulation that causes a build up of old residue.

Yet there are easy and natural things we can do to support our body in carrying out its womb cleanse… so we don’t have to experience cramping, heavy bleeding, clotting and brown or black blood.

So let me share those things with you now…

Firstly, when we bleed we need to to rest.

This is the BIG one!!!

When a woman is pregnant her body is producing a lot of extra blood, so she’s advised to rest more.

Well, it’s the same when we have our period!

In order for the body to do the womb cleanse it needs to produce extra blood to flush the womb clean.

Producing this extra blood requires a lot of energy and extra resources and nutrients from the body.

So if a woman is busy running around doing her usual non-period workload, mentally and physically active, engaging in normal exercise routines, and all that jazz, the body isn’t able to do what it needs to facilitate a full womb cleanse.

It’s so busy allocating energy and resources to the tasks the woman is doing, that the body doesn’t have enough energy to go round and support the womb cleanse as well.

Some women who don’t take time out during their period experience blood deficiency because they’re so depleted that they don’t have enough nutrients to create the extra blood needed to flush the uterus clean.

This can lead to scanty or non-existent periods.

Which is a sign that the woman’s body isn’t as healthy as it could be.

On the other hand, one of the main culprits of long periods – so periods that last longer than the healthy four days – is that the uterus becomes so fatigued, due to the woman staying active during her period, that it doesn’t have the energy to close the artery, and thus end the period.

The period keeps going, further depleting the woman.

She pushes through it, only to feel exhausted by the end of it.

Yet if she’d just slowed down for a couple of days, chances are the period would be finished far earlier.

This was certainly the case for me in my 20s, before I knew all this about women’s health.

I would run around like superwoman, having heavy seven day periods, and then getting sick regularly, because I’d depleted myself through all the blood loss.

Yet, when I started resting during my periods, they got lighter, and shorter.

Now my periods are just 4 days.

My body has the energy it needs to close the artery to end the period.

This is why women on their period need more rest.

LOTS more rest.

I like to consider the period as a mini monthly vacation.

If you schedule time to chill out during your period – work less, sleep more, only engage in super gentle exercise – then you’re essentially giving your body a monthly reset, so that you have more energy for the month ahead.

If you stay active during your period, then you’ll feel like you’re running on empty for the rest of the month, because you didn’t get that necessary break to sustain you until your next period.

And chances are, you’re now carrying around a whole lot of residue in your uterus, which isn’t healthy either.

Our period really is our monthly opportunity to reset.

To reboot our system.

And if you make rest a priority during this time, you’ll find you’re far more productive once your period ends.

Your month will flow with so much more ease, and you won’t experience the PMS you usually do, in the lead up to your next period.

Because PMS is essentially your body screaming at you to slow down, so you can support your body in doing its womb cleanse.

‘Rest’ really is one of the keys to bringing the menstrual cycle into balance.

And I share more about this in episode 5, Take a monthly self-care vacation. Menstruate.

This is a really insightful look at menstruation, and how it can be used as a tool for self-love.

The second way we can support our body in having a really good womb cleanse, is to stay warm when we bleed.

As I shared, the arteries in the uterus open during our period, to let blood come in and flush out the uterine lining and follicle.

But in order for this blood to even be able to enter the uterus, we need good circulation.

How do we get good circulation?

By moving and staying warm.

Blood is mostly made up of water, so when we get cold the blood moves slower.

If we think of water, when it freezes, there’s no movement at all.

It’s similar to how it works in the body.

We need to stay warm during our period, and we especially need to keep our abdomen warm.

So if you like wearing mid-riff tops, save them for when you don’t have your period (or don’t wear them at all), as this can contribute to stagnation and cramping.

You want to avoid cold weather when you’re bleeding, or if you have to go out, make sure you’re properly rugged up.

Even at home, unless it’s summer or a super hot climate, pull out the thick socks and slippers and nice warm shawls.

Hot baths, showers and heat packs are all great to support your body in staying warm during your period.

You also want to avoid drinking cold drinks or eating cold foods like smoothies or ice-cream.

For the most part you want to be eating warm foods – think soups and porridge – and drinking warm teas or broth.

This keeps the circulation going so there’s red flowing blood, which helps the cleanse to happen without old residue getting stuck in your uterus.

OK, number three is NO PLUGS.

When we get our period, our womb is trying to cleanse itself, so it makes sense to keep the vaginal canal as free as possible.

Everything is trying to drain out, so it’s really important not to plug it up.

Putting a tampon in your vagina will make it harder for the womb to clear out, so much so, that it can stop the uterus from completing its cleanse, meaning that your uterus will have old residue build-up.

The uterus is already flushing blood to perform the cleanse, but if the body suspects there is something blocking the cleanse, like I said earlier, it may flush extra blood to try and ensure a full cleanse.

This is why using tampons can make periods heavier.

Or the uterus may start to contract to try and get that stuff out.

Tampons work against the cleanse in every single way.

Sure, they allow some stuff to come out, but not everything, resulting in old residue build up.

You’re far better off using period panties or chemical free pads, even eco pads, which is what I use, because they’re better for the environment.

Menstrual cups, in some woman, can still trigger extra unnecessary blood flow, so even these should be avoided where possible.

The sea sponge is still a plug.

So even using something with all natural products will still impede the cleanse.

You don’t want to put anything in your vagina.

Let everything just flow out naturally.

Number 4, when it comes to supporting our womb cleanse, is nourishment.

Because the body is producing more blood, we need to eat more.

When a women gets pregnant she’ll usually feel the need to eat more.

This is so she can get the extra nutrition required by the body to support the creation of more blood.

It’s the same during our period.

We want to aim for five meals a day; so three main meals with a couple of snacks between.

And we want to stick to warm and nourishing foods that are easy to digest.

Soups, porridge or hot cereal are really nice for this time.

You definitely don’t want to do any detoxes or fasts during your period.

You also don’t want to go for long lengths of time without eating during your period as well.

Unhealthy eating behaviours can lead to imbalances in the body.

If you do cleanses or fasting during your period, this can cause uterine fatigue which can lead to blood deficiency – so your period goes missing – or ongoing bleeding – so the bleeding is a lot longer than it should be.

Hydration is the next way we can support our womb cleanse.

So we know the body makes extra blood during our period, to flush out the uterus.

Blood is mostly made up of water.

Extra blood means the body needs additional fluids at this time.

We need to make sure we stay well hydrated when we bleed.

Drinking herbal tea is a great way of helping the body stay warm AND giving the body the fluids and nutrients it needs.

Herbs that are really good to infuse and drink during your period are Motherwort and Mugwort – they both help to clear old residue.

Dandelion Root, Dandelion Leaf, Hibiscus, Cinnamon, Mint, Ginger… these are great… and one of my big favourites, because it’s so packed full of goodness, is Nettle.

Finally, when your period arrives, you want to avoid inversions.

That means don’t turn upside during your period.

Think of it this way… water can’t flow up a hill, right!

You want to work with gravity, not against gravity.

The types of things you want to avoid are handstands and other yoga inversions, or exercise machines that hang you from your feet.

Going upside down works against the womb cleanse.

You can get right back into them once your period ends!

OK, now you know why tampons are not self-loving, and why it’s so important to rest, hydrate, stay warm and eat well during your period.

I invite you to explore some of the Womb Care 101 tips I’ve offered here.

And if any of them feel a little scary – a little ‘out of your comfort zone’….

Next week we’ll explore how sitting in your comfort zone may not be serving you.

And how being willing to try new things, to stretch into a new way of being and doing, might just be the magic you’ve been looking for on your path of self-love.

Thanks for listening, and if you’re loving what I’m sharing on I Love Me The Podcast, and want to dive deeper into self-love, take a peek at my online school gettingnaked.com.au where I teach you how to strip off the layers of childhood conditioning, so you can fall in love with YOU.

Sign up for your free Self-Love Starter’s Kit there, and if you do enrol in any of my programs, know that a percentage of profits go to planting trees, so together we can re-robe Mother Earth.

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2 Comments on “Ep.16 Womb Care 101: Why tampons are not self-loving.”

  1. Thank you for this much needed reminder of self care during a very special time of each month…even during peri-menopause. I am turning 50 this month so I have been reflecting and this came to my in box at the same time as my flow!

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