More than 90% of women experience some form of premenstrual symptoms, according to the Women’s Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Symptoms may include stomach cramps, back pain, insomnia, intense food cravings, recurring acne, and other unpleasant effects.
But women shouldn’t have to give up living with these uncomfortable symptoms, according to female hormone expert Alisa Vitti.
Vitti is a functional nutrition health coach and founder of Flo Living, a digital hormone health platform aimed at ending menstrual-related suffering.
Women “want to feel good,” she says. Fox News Digital spoke with the Massachusetts-based expert about the cycle synchronization method she devised.
According to the company’s website, this method allows women to synchronize their nutrition and fitness habits with their menstrual cycle to optimize their weight, energy levels, mood and productivity.
The method is based on the four phases of the menstrual cycle: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and luteal.
During the menstrual period, women are encouraged to eat high-protein foods while doing light exercise such as yoga or Pilates.
After the menstrual period comes the follicular phase, when women have more energy.
During this period, Vitti advises women to eat fermented foods and do cardio based on their hormone levels.
According to Vitti’s method, women should eat more raw foods and complete HIIT (high-intensity interval training) training during ovulation, when estrogen levels are at their highest for the month.
The last and longest luteal phase results in high progesterone levels, she said, during which root vegetable consumption and strength training should be emphasized.
“Women of reproductive age are being told, ‘Intermittent fasting is best right now and HIIT training is the gold standard,'” said Vitti.
“They try these things because they really want to feel better, but they just get worse,” she says. “It’s not their fault.”
Vitti, the author of two books, said she had struggled with menstrual-related problems for 10 years. Ultimately, she decided to find a way to make her feel better.
“I originally had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which no one knew about, but went undiagnosed for seven years,” she said.
Vitti said she hadn’t menstruated for 10 years, between the ages of 12 and 22. Her gynecologist told her to start taking her birth control pills to address the problem.
By the time Vitti enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, she said her symptoms had worsened.
“I gained weight and had pimples all over my face, chest and back… [I had] I suffered from a lot of anxiety, depression and insomnia,” she recalled.
Vitti spent the night in the medical library researching what was wrong and took obstetric magazines to the gynecologist’s office to confirm she had PCOS, she said.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which women do not ovulate. According to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the patient has high androgen levels and small cysts on her ovaries.
After some tests, Vitti was indeed diagnosed with PCOS and was told there was no cure.
Doctors said her condition would worsen over time and she was likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, infertility and other ailments, she said.
The first treatment suggested by doctors was contraception, but Vitti said, “That’s not my future.”
She was determined to find a way to reverse her menstrual cycle and cure her hormonal imbalance, which inspired the Cycle Synchronization method.
According to Vitti, Cycle Sync focuses on solving hormonal problems, relieving symptoms, and taking care of your hormones on a daily basis.
She said the procedure changed her life and allowed her to conceive with her now eight-year-old daughter.
Vitti said thousands of women have used the process and are open about the benefits many have experienced.
According to Flo Living, 70% of women reported losing weight during cycle synchronization, and 85% noticed an improvement in mood.
Carrie Jardine, 23, a holistic health coach in South Florida, decided to stop taking hormonal contraceptives in 2020 because she wanted more control over her body.
That decision led to acne, irregular periods, and mood swings that prompted her to experiment with cycle sync, she told Fox News Digital.
“Before you start [it]I felt disconnected from my body,” she said.
Jardine said she now recommends the practice to others.
“[It] Not only does it reduce the symptoms of painful period cramps, but it gives me a deeper love and understanding of my body during the weeks when I feel tired and bloated,” she said.
Christine Friel, M.D., a Pennsylvania-based obstetrician and gynecologist, told Fox News Digital that she doesn’t believe there are risks in aligning a healthy lifestyle with your menstrual cycle.
“You should try it,” she said. “If the tips motivate you and help you maintain healthy eating and exercise habits, that’s already a big benefit.”
Friel said the recommendations related to the cycle-synchronization method—to eat less sugar, drink less, and exercise more—are all positive.
But not all women experience hormonal changes in the same way, and the method only works for women who ovulate regularly during the ovulatory phase, Friel said.
“For example, this doesn’t work for people on birth control, which means a lot of women,” she says.
Flo Living also offers nutrient-infused supplements that women can order after taking an online assessment. You can also use the app to track your period and get more tips.
“I’m proud to do something that really helps women, puts women’s biology at the center, and teaches them how to properly care for their menstrual cycle, but at the same time, to help us feel more positive, I’m also proud to have changed our story a little bit, ‘about our bodies,’ Vitti said.
She recommends talking to your doctor before stopping birth control or starting a new supplement.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, hormonal birth control uses synthetic hormones to stop ovulation.
Because these hormones take precedence over natural hormones, cycle synchronization “doesn’t really apply” to people on contraception.