How Raspberry Leaf Tea Got Me off of The Pill for My Severe Menstrual Cramps
A year after I had my first menstrual cycle, I began to experience the dreaded menstrual cramps my friends had told me about. As I laid in bed with my heating pad, my mom brought me some ibuprofen and assured me that they would get better as I got older. Spoiler alert: they didn't.
I spent that next 7 years in a cycle of calling off of work and planning my life around my menstrual cycle. Eventually the ibuprofen did not work anymore and ended up causing my fatigue to worsen so I stopped taking them. During a particularly bad period I had almost passed out during my job as a cashier from the pain. My supervisor let me go home early but not before I threw up in a paper bag crouched behind register #12. Another period I had was so bad that throwing up actually made the pain go away for a few minutes. I begged my mom to let me go and see the gynecologist. I couldn't live in fear once a month for my period to start. The gynecologist prescribed me birth control to skip my periods which was a miracle cure for me at the time.
Two years after being on the pill I got married and discovered I had vaginismus and vestibulodynia and I could not have sex. My full experience with sexual pain disorders is a story for another time but after finally finding a doctor who was competent in sexual health she cured my vaginismus with botox. The issue was, I still had vestibulodynia. Now that my vaginismus was out of the way she could do a more through examination of my vagina and through her assessment found that my provoked vestibulodynia was hormone mediated. This meant that the birth control pill had increased my levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (or as she calls them, goblins because they eat up all of your testosterone) and my testosterone was very low at a 1 ng/dL. She explained that testosterone in women should be around a 6 for optimal sexual health and arousal. She also found that I had a lack of estrogen vaginally which caused my vaginal walls to thin out and create extra painful tissue at my entrance. According to her, all of this was caused by the birth control pill and she wanted to me to get off of it.
The problem for me was the pain of my cramps was so bad that I was not willing to suffer through them for my sexual health. In the meantime, she gave me various hormonal medications and creams to help but I knew they would only help so much. I had to find a way to get off of the pill.
I had always been interested in alternative and herbal medicine but I had not actually applied much of it to my daily life. After devouring every article I could on google on getting rid of cramps I stumbled upon an article about the benefits of raspberry leaf tea on uterine health. After reading people's experience with the herb on various forums and articles I knew I had to try it.
A week before I got off of the pill I started to drink raspberry leaf tea twice a day to prepare, once in the morning and once at night. That first period I had with the one week preparation was the easiest period I had experienced in years. Any cramps I did experience were super light and the main symptom I had was some vaginal cramping along with my various other menstrual symptoms.
The second period I had a month later was even easier than the last and this time I had absolutely no uterine or vaginal cramps and none other of my usual fatigue, heartburn, or backaches. I only expected my cramps to go away, I did not expect for my other symptoms to leave as well! A year ago it seemed impossible that I could get through an entire semester of nursing school with no birth control pills and no pain medicine.
My biggest takeaway from using the raspberry leaf tea is that it is a long term herb. If you are currently laying in bed with horrible cramps reading this and you are looking for an instant miracle cure, this is not the herb for you. Because my cramps got better every month, it shows me that this is an herb that needs time to build up in your system to tone your uterus. If you have a busy life and don't think you'll be able to make the tea twice a day, you can buy the herb in supplement or tincture form to save time.
Always check with your doctor if you are on any medications or have a condition that may interact with any herbs you are taking.
All in all, I look forward to my morning and nightly tea brewing and have found my healing in nature.
© 2020 Christina Lange