Is the Pill Doing You More Harm Than Good? Lara Parker’s Journey To Chinese Herbal Medicine

Essential Takeaway

  • Lara opens up about her experience with birth control, and her search for more support options for her endometriosis. 
     
  • 98% of people with periods experience painful cramps during their menstrual cycle—why this isn't normal and how we can be our best health advocates. 
     
  • Discovering a personalized approach to menstrual care through Chinese Herbal Medicine was the start to finding the support and answers Lara was looking for.  

My periods have been impacting my quality of life since they first began. I have distinct memories of puking in the trashcan in front of my entire 9th grade English class during the Pledge of Allegiance. Throwing up during my period was a regular, as was literally passing out from the pain of my cramps. I didn’t think this was normal at first — in fact I was pretty vehemently opposed to the idea that this was “just something that happened during a period” as I had repeatedly been told — but since periods are so rarely discussed even to teenage people who experience them, I didn’t really have anything to base this on. I didn’t see my friends throwing up or passing out and missing school. And since the expectation was that I needed to carry my entire backpack into the bathroom stall so that no one knew I was carrying a pad or a tampon, I didn’t exactly feel comfortable bringing up anything around my period, especially the pain it caused me. And when I did bring it up, I was met with the same thing over and over again. This is normal! This is having a period!

As a freshman in high school, I knew next to nothing about birth control. So when countless doctors told me that the solution to my period pain was to ingest a pill daily that was referred to as birth control, I didn’t question it. And why would I? It didn’t matter that I didn’t even know what I was putting into my body, or that it still offered little to no explanation as to why my body was reacting this way every month as my uterus shed — birth control was the only answer I got. And I was desperate for an answer.

Years later, and countless birth control options tried, my periods were still painful. I had since been diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis.  And despite years of doctor’s visits, multiple surgeries, and at least eight different types of birth control, I was not much closer to an answer about why my uterus shedding every month is this damn painful. I chose to walk away from birth control back in 2016 when the side effects became greater than the problem the pill was supposed to be fixing. And in 2019, I discovered Elix. I was immediately drawn to Elix because I like the idea of knowing why I am taking something — and Elix makes that really easy. I am taking this herb for inflammation, and this herb is meant to help regulate mood swings. And I didn’t personally experience any side effects. With Elix, it’s never one size fits all. It’s a personalized plan based around me and my cycle. It is not a cure, but it is a piece of the puzzle that I was so desperately searching for all those years ago. 

Period pain is not uncommon. According to the 2021 report from Elix, 98% of people with periods experience menstrual pain. And 50% of these people rate the pain as a level 8 or higher. How could that be normal? How could we all be expected to live our life while dealing with unexplained pain every single month? I was angry then, and I am angry now — angry that no one prepared me for this, that no one was honest about this part of having a period. Why hadn’t I been told, “Hey you know that period thing everyone knows about but doesn’t actually talk about? Yeah, it’s going to ruin your life and no one will care or be able to tell you why.” And I am even angrier that over a decade later, myself and countless others still have yet to understand what exactly goes on with our periods, a phenomenon that impacts over half the population and happens 10-15 times a year depending on your regularity!  

I am not against birth control. I used it to regulate my period pain for many years. It somewhat worked, until it didn’t. And then I was seemingly out of options. I am, however, very much against the idea that this pill or IUD insert is a one size fits all cure for painful periods. It’s past time we get to the root of the problem, and openly and honestly discuss periods and the impact they have on our lives. And that’s where Elix comes in. 

Elix reviewed health assessment data from over 90k participants in 2021 from people ranging in ages 14-55 in the United States and across Canada, and what they found probably won’t surprise you, but it should concern you.  Why do 98% of people experience menstrual pain every single cycle? And why do 50% of those people report that the pain from their cycles keep them from participating in daily life for at least one day? How can only 51% of respondents predict their next cycle — and only 55% of people taking birth control believe it helps regulate their cycle at all? I don’t want the reality to be that 65% of people with periods turn to pain medication every single month. The time to start understanding our menstrual cycles is long past due. It is no longer acceptable to say, “period pain is normal” or “take this pill and hope it helps you.” It’s time to take back the power when it comes to our cycles. This pain is not normal, and it never was. 

Elix is here to support every cycle of your journey. Take our Health Assessment and discover your personalized herbal formula to address your worst menstrual symptoms and heal from within.  

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