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When the abnormal becomes the normal

During my time in Clinical Practice – there is one thing that becomes more and more noticeable.  People start ignoring the signs their body is telling them, and these signs can be happening on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

This can include digestive signs that are not normal – bloating, irregular bowels (not daily, and varying types), or headaches, achy joints, low energy to name a few.

The symptoms I want to focus on now are to do with menstruation cycle.

Some clients put up with what they think are normal period symptoms – not realising what a normal period is.  This can often come about because they have always had awful periods, and when talking to their friends – who may also have terrible periods, compare and then decide oh well that must be normal.

So, what does a normal period look like

Length of your cycle – normal is anywhere between 21-35 days (average is 28 days)

Menstrual Fluid

Menstrual fluid should be liquid with no large clots. If you do have clots – they should be no larger than 1.5cm and only a few of them. 

Colour of blood should be reddish-brown colour.  Blood turns darker when exposed to air – so when freshly lost will be red and then may turn brown if it has been on your sanitary pad for a while.  If you're seeing strange brown stuff at the start of your period, it's actually oxidized blood that didn't quite make it out of your uterus during your last cycle.

Amount of fluid – is a total of 50 millilitres – which is equivalent to 3 tablespoons for the length of your bleed.  Less than 25mls is a scanty flow and more than 80mls is excessive.  Any blood loss less than 10mls or over 80 mls are giving us clues that there are hormonal imbalances that need to be addressed.  Hormonal testing may be needed, as well as looking at the organs that work at keeping the hormones working well.  They include the Pituitary (part of the brain), adrenals, ovaries, liver and your gut health.

Because it is hard to measure your blood loss, here is a guideline to work out how many sanitary products you use during each period.  One soaked regular pad or tampon holds 5mls (1 teaspoon), and a super tampon fully soaked = 10mls.  Add up the number of products you use to work out how much blood you are losing. 

A simple guideline - you shouldn’t have to change your tampon or pad any more frequently then every two hours during the day.  Because your flow slows at night, then you shouldn’t need to wake up during the night to change your pad.

Length of your period

This can be between two and 7 days.  The day you start bleeding is day 1 – and the day you stop  (this may be including the last couple of days of spotting) is your last day of your period.

You shouldn’t stop and start – once you have finished the bleeding – your blood should not appear until the next period – at least 21 days after your day 1.  Spotting in-between your cycle needs to be addressed and worked out what is the issue causing this.

Period Pain

This is a common symptom before your bleed, during your bleed and during ovulation.  This is hard to gauge as everyone has a different pain tolerance. 

Normal period pain (primary dysmenorrhea) is a bit of cramping in your lower pelvis or back. It occurs during the first day or two of your period and improves with ibuprofen. It doesn’t interfere with your daily activities.

Severe period pain (secondary dysmenorrhea) is throbbing, burning, searing, or stabbing pain that lasts for many days and can even occur between periods. It doesn’t improve with ibuprofen, and it’s so bad you vomit and sometimes miss school or work.

Severe period pain is caused by an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis or adenomyosis, and it can get worse as you get older.  This pain needs to be addressed, and working out what is causing this.

Pain associated with your menstruation can be caused by many things; hormonal imbalances, magnesium and zinc deficiencies as well as inflammation.  Both normal and severe pain can be treated by getting these imbalances corrected – by using herbs, nutrients, and looking at the diet to remove inflammatory foods.

Healthy hormones are vital to your health, both mental and physical.  Covering up the underlying causes by using pharmaceuticals is dealing with the symptoms, and not getting to the root cause of the issue.  Sometimes it can be as simple as making a few changes to your diet, lifestyle and addressing hormonal and nutritional imbalances that will make a huge difference to your menstruation cycle.

Let’s not forget the Males – they also have hormones, and they are also crucial for their health.  Symptoms of low testosterone include fatigue, memory loss, poor concentration, depression, irritability, loss of muscle strength and size, visceral weight gain, osteoporosis and even hot flushes.  Low testosterone is a significant contributor to cardiometabolic risk, promoting high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and atherosclerosis.

Men also have some Estrogen in their body, and it can become an issue when the Estrogen becomes high and the testosterone becomes low.  Influences of testosterone and Estrogen levels are diet, stress, environmental toxicity (especially the ones that cause Estrogen dysregulation), and excessive body fat. 

Estrogen is made from the circulating testosterone in the body by an enzyme called aromatase. As men age, they tend to make increasing levels of Estrogen with decreased production of testosterone. Estrogen can be made in the liver, muscle and brain, as well as the fat cells.   So, when fat starts to increase, so does the ability of the male body to make Estrogen.

Another factor of rising Estrogen are the chemicals that we are exposed to, especially the ones that have estrogenic actions.  They are called xeno-estrogens, and one of the biggest contributor are plasticisers such as bisphenol A (BPA ).  They are found in plastic containers and bottles, lined canned products, receipt paper, and many beauty products to name a few.

Healthy hormones are vital to your health, both mental and physical.  Covering up the underlying causes by using pharmaceuticals is dealing with the symptoms, and not getting to the root cause of the issue.  Sometimes it can be as simple as making a few changes to your diet, lifestyle and addressing hormonal and nutritional imbalances.  These changes can make a huge difference to your menstruation cycle, and for men balancing their testosterone levels.

My take home message – start listening to your body and what it is trying to tell you.  If you feel like you have any hormonal issues that you would like to get sorted – please make an appointment to see me for a consult.

Why Are We Different?

Mint Health & Fitness  for want of a better word is a "boutique" fitness and food facility.  We have fantastic personal trainers, nutritionists & clean eating cafe that all work together to make sure that your experience at Mint is unlike any other health a nutrition facility. 
The Mint experience is something that we have found hard to describe, but our members all say the same thing, friendly staff and atmosphere with helpful instruction.  
This obviously isn't it all, we have PURE Cafe with it great selection of healthy nutritious food, but to find out for yourself what our difference is come on down and talk to the team.
We are a friendly bunch at Mint and will gladly show you around and tell why we are proud to be a Mintie.
P.S. Ask about a free trial workout just to see if you like us. One of our team may even be able to help with a one on one workout if you are newbie exerciser (we don't want you to hurt yourself).
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Whats Our Members Are Saying

I felt determined when I joined Mint. I have lost approx. 15 Kgs since my heaviest and about 1.5Kg in the last 2 weeks, I am now eating 8 times a day and I feel that what I am doing is working for me. It was hard to stay away from those salt and vinegar chips and keep up with the frequency of meals but I am getting there. I originally went to Jane when I first started and struggled with the food (salads are just not for me) but we found some alternatives which works. Having the BIA’s done with Jane has been great to see the results. Also, I have learned about food composition and eating clean.
Dudley Crabbe
I felt determined when I joined Mint. With my husband already being a member and enjoying it. I feel fitter and Jane has helped me change some of eating habits so I am hoping I can start losing some weight. Easy access to Jane being on site will help me get to my goals over the next few months. Jane has kept me going, don't give up, and some good tips how important protein is in the diet.
Anne Gibling
I was hopeful joining Mint and I feel that I have made a steady improvement throughout my time at Mint. Jane has helped me control my blood sugar levels and they are better than ever. Jane provided great advice and tips.
Tony Gibling
I felt relaxed when joining Mint. I found that at Mint I have lost weight and found it a great way to deal with stress. Jane helped me change my bad eating habits and organised me to have a necessary blood tests done in America which made a big difference.
Garry Beaumont
Making the decision to join the gym was actually pretty hard. I was going through a particularly stressful time. The results I feel the most are: I wasn’t necessarily focused on aerobic health when I started but I feel much fitter and that’s a lovely feeling. I’m fitting into some older clothes – very gratifying. But the most important result is that I am in control of my choices. I’m doing the best I can to take care of myself. I feel more confident in the face of other challenges. So if I had to say what the number one result of my time at Mint is, it’s mental. I have a completely different relationship with exercise, which has become something I enjoy doing because it clears my head and makes me feel good about myself. I enjoy being in my body; I feel proud of what it can do. This has been an incredibly valuable experience – and one that’s ongoing, which is cool as well. I’m looking forward to what comes next! Wendy and I thought to tell you how much we miss Mint now that we are on 6 months in Heidelberg Germany after our three months in Christchurch. We have found a gym here that is very well equipped but it is VERY German and some of the classes look like torture rooms!
Greta Bond
December 21 we finally go back to Vancouver and resume our normal life. I very much appreciate the two back workouts you gave me and I am still doing them, alternating several times a week. They are the best I have ever had and I have had great back health since working with you. I very much thank you for that. Best wishes from your Canadian fan club - congrats on the new gym and good business to both of you.
Wendy & Chris
Having battled multiple heath issues and as a busy Mum of three young adults, a chance conversation led me to the team at Mint. Nutritional advice was just the beginning! I began Reflexology with Emma, Carole’s massage as well as a totally personalised gym program on a one-to-one basis with Mike. I cannot adequately convey the impact of encouragement, support, genuine interest, as well as the wonderful facilities that Mint provides as I literally claw my way back to health. The whole body approach of health and wellness at Mint is truly unique. With the addition of Pure Cafe Co. enabling you to put a foot in the door to this amazing setup that is Mint Health and Fitness.
I joined the Mint fitness gym in December 2013 because being a bus driver I needed a way to keep fit and keep all my joints moving. I find it really easy to go because it’s just across the road from where I work. They say a healthy body helps towards a healthy mind and so it helps with all the stress of everyday life and the stress that comes with driving around the city all day everyday. The team at Mint, Mike, Gabby and Bonnie are really friendly and help with anything you need while you are there. The changing rooms are always clean and tidy and well looked after. There is also a Cafe in the same building which serves healthy food to complement the exercise. I joined for 3 months and in conjunction with my own cycling am enjoying working out to the program Mike has set up for me. The 24 hour access, its great for the weekends and after work and also means I can go and work out when it suits. I really love it – Mint is great.
I joined mint as this year I am working in a third world Country which has a high level of security risk and a demanding physical environment. The team at Mint listened carefully to what I was needing and tailored an exercise and nutrition programme to get me to the physical condition I need to be in. You are not just another number at mint, they genuinely care about you and your goals. You always feel welcome and always have advice. I love how you can get a bite to eat after a work out, the time savings are so helpful. This is the best gym in the city, and the tuna wraps are fantastic!"
When the quake shook everything up, I unwilling distanced myself from MINT, lost my ‘work out mojo’. It wasn’t until late 2013 that I got back into training. From this unplanned break I can see first-hand how much better I feel psychologically and physically from training. BUT the thing that makes MINT the place for me is that everyone gets to know you. If you are self-guided training (me presently) or getting one on one personal training, MINT’S care and attention is what makes it. The team pay attention to how often you show up, Mike and Di show a personal interest in my Progress, I feel spurred on by this. You cannot underestimate the power of someone noticing you’re not at the gym!! My journey this time is a more driven one. I know how easy it is to ‘slip’ out of habit. And I know for me, MINT is the place to achieve my fitness goals.
Before Mint I weighed 78kgs. I’d been overweight since childhood and was a comfort eater. Never played any sports or been into any sort of exercise. I was scared of joining a gym. I remember telling myself there was no way I could ever be a person who was into working out and healthy eating because it just wasn’t me. Six months later and 20kgs lighter, I’m now the person I thought I'd never be. I’m so happy with who I am now and for the first time ever, I can say I truly love myself. I really don’t believe that I could have achieved so much success without all the wonderful people at Mint supporting and motivating me 100%. Joining Mint has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Emma M

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