The Myth Of Menstruation: Why We Should Stop Accepting Painful Periods

6min read

Most women think that painful periods, PMS, excess weight and low energy are apart of the slew of hormonal issues that accompany our monthly experience. It's just the way it has to be, there is no solution. There are only pain pills, birth control and heating pads. Apparently 90 percent of people who have a period experience some type of pain, while only 15 percent seek any sort of professional help.

However, a woman's nutritionist says that this doesn't have to be the case. When I asked Alisa Vitti, holistic health counselor, nutritionist and founder of the FLO Living Hormone Center, if it's possible to have a pain free and easy period, she said that it's “absolutely possible" and that “problematic periods are the result of hormonal imbalances that can all be corrected with diet and supplements."

As we should all know, menstruation is important. Beyond being a part of our lives, it can also indicate what is going on in our bodies. Even the color of your period blood can let you in on some go-to key information about your body. Nutritional deficiencies, low estrogen levels, imbalances, STI's and infection are among the various ways your cycle can communicate information about your overarching health. Hormonal imbalance can be revealed in the duration and appearance of your period blood.

MyFLO is a phone application that tracks symptoms and learns the users body.

After Alisa's own negative experiences with hormones, where she weighed 200 pounds, was covered in painful cystic acne and only had her period once a year, she decided to dedicate her work to helping women with their hormonal imbalances without medication while simultaneously eradicating the myth of painful periods.

After her gynecologist diagnosed her with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and no real cure or alleviation, Alisa decided it was time to figure it out by herself. As a result, she founded the FLO Living Hormone Center, wrote a book called WomanCode and created the MyFLO Period application.

For Alisa, she says that "food is the best medicine" to overcome PMS symptoms like fatigue and moodiness.

FLO Living is the first of its kind. It's a virtual menstrual healthcare platform that works with thousands of women who suffer from PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and PMS on a path to natural recovery. FLO Living adjusts diet and supports thousands of women towards their interest in controlling their hormones and enhancing their feminine energy. In short, periods don't have to equate to pain. FLO Living is here to tell you all about it.

A change in diet should come as no surprise, especially with a new study thats findings concluded that drinking alcohol might make premenstrual syndrome symptoms worse. And what is the link between alcohol and PMS symptoms? Altering levels of hormones.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says that a woman's period is the fifth vital sign of health along with blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and respiration rate. In short, your period is important. Any debilitating pain or physical restrictions are not normal and should be accurately accessed.

Alisa explains that since hormonal imbalances can trigger acne, bloating, weight gain and severe PMS, her program can “help women make those strategic shifts with food and supplements" with the FLOLiving Protocol, MyFLO period app and the FLO Balance Period Supplements.

MyFLO is a phone application that tracks symptoms and learns the users body. Once the information is gathered, supplements and foods are the next area to tackle. “For example, you can use the app to help you decide whether to stay in or go out, do yoga or boot camp, eat raw foods or cooked, or give a presentation at work versus doing brainstorming and research."

For Alisa, she says that “food is the best medicine" to overcome PMS symptoms like fatigue and moodiness. She particularly advocates for avocados, as they boost magnesium and improve fertility. The main focus for diet when trying to improve hormones are “several key nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C and other liver supportive nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids." Think: dark leafy greens, lamb, organic chicken, sweet potato, oily fish, green beans, flaxseed, eggs and lentils.

Another component of FLO Living is the MonthlyFLO Balance Supplement Kit which offers nutritional support to put the worst of your symptoms into “remission." The supplements are offered in five groups: Replenish, Energize, Gutsy, Detox and Harmonize. All of the supplements are non GMO, gluten free and have no synthetics.

How are women dealing with their period pain? Alisa says that, “We just assume there's nothing we can do except take synthetic birth control. This makes things worse and doesn't fix what's really wrong with your hormones." For Alisa, and for all of us, change begins within your body and what you're putting inside of it. Responses such as acne, bloating and pain are physical responses and shouldn't be accepted as a part of our menstrual cycle fate.

Alisa's goal for FLO Living is to give women a space to turn to for information and products. Since much of the medical field ignores symptoms, or simply disregards any helpful type of prevention, women are choosing to live with this evidence of imbalance. “FLO Living is the only place where you can test, track, treat and talk through your period issues in an easily accessible and affordable way that actually works. We take care of tens of thousands of women worldwide and have been for the past 5 years," explains Alisa.

Being a woman doesn't have to mean living in pain. Being a woman means being in charge of your own body.

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Fresh Voices

How I Went From Shy Immigrant to Co-Founder of OPI, the World's #1 Nail Brand

In many ways I am a shining example of the American Dream. I was born in Hungary during the Communist era, and my family fled to Israel before coming to the U.S. in pursuit of freedom and safety. When we arrived, I was just a young, shy girl who couldn't speak English. After my childhood in Hungary, New York City was a marvel; I couldn't believe that such a lively, rich place existed. Even a simple thing like going to the market and seeing all the bright, colorful produce and having so many choices was new to me. I'll never take that for granted. I think it's where my love affair with color truly began.

One thing I had was a strong work ethic. I worked hard in school, to learn English, and at jobs including my first job at Dairy Queen -- which I loved! Ice cream is easily my favorite food. From there, I moved into the garment district where my brother-in-law's family had a business. During this time, I was able to see how a business was run and began to hone in on my eye for aesthetics and willingness to work hard at any task I was given.

Eventually, my brother-in-law bought a dental supply company in Los Angeles and asked me to join him. LA, a place with 365-days of sunshine. How could I say no? The company started as Odontorium Products Inc. During the acrylic movement of the 1980s, we realized that nail technicians were buying our product, and that the same components used for dentures were used for artificial nails. We saw a potential opening in the market, and we seized it. OPI began dropping off the "rubber band special" at every salon on Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles. A jar of powder, liquid and primer – rubber-banded together – became the OPI Traditional Acrylic System and was a huge hit, giving OPI its start in the professional nail industry. It was 1981 when OPI first opened its doors. I couldn't have predicted our success, but I knew that hard work and faith in myself would be key in transforming a new business into a company with global reach.

When we started OPI, what we were doing was something new. Before OPI came on the scene, the generic, utilitarian nail polish names already on the market – like Red No. 4, Pink No. 2 – were completely forgettable. We rebranded the category with catchy names that we knew women could relate to and would remember. The industry was stale and boring, so we made it more fun and sexy. We started creating color collections. I carefully developed 30 groundbreaking colors for the debut collection -- many of which are still beloved bestsellers today, including Malaga Wine, Alpine Snow and Kyoto Pearl.

There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does.

With deep roots in Tinseltown, we eventually started collaborating with Hollywood. Our decision to collaborate with the entertainment industry also propelled OPI forward in another way, ultimately leading us to finding a way to connect with women beyond the world of beauty, relating our products to the beverages they drink, the cars they drive, the movies they watch, the clothes they wear – even the shade they use to paint their living room walls! There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does. It also propelled my growth as a businessperson forward. I found myself sitting in meetings with executives from some of the top companies in the world. I didn't have a fancy presentation. I didn't have a Harvard business degree. I realized that what I had was passion. I had a passion for what we were doing, and I had my own unique story that no one else could replicate.

Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today

Bit by bit, I grew up with the business. Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today -- an author, public speaker, and co-founder of OPI, the world's #1 professional nail brand.

I learned quickly that one can be an expert at many things, but not everything. Running a business is very hard work. Luckily, I had someone I could collaborate with who brought something new to the table and complemented my talents, my brother-in-law George Schaeffer. My business "superpower," or the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently, kept me ahead of trends and competition.

Another key to my success in building this brand and in growing in business was being authentic. Authenticity is so important to brands and maybe even more so now in the time of social media when you can speak directly to your consumers. I realized even then that I could only be me. I was a woman who knew what I wanted. I looked at my mother and daughter and wanted to create products that would excite and empower them.

There's often an expectation placed on women in charge that they need to be cutthroat to be competitive, but that's not true. Rather than focusing on my gender or any implied limitations I might bring to the job as a female and a mother, I always focused instead on my vision. I deliberately fostered an environment at OPI filled with warmth. After all, at the end of the day, your organization is only as good as its people. I've always found that being nice, being humble, and listening to others has served me well. Instead of pushing others down to get to the top, inspire them and bring them along on the journey.

You can read more about my personal and professional journey in my new memoir out now, I'm Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time.