PMS Friend or Foe?
The term PMS or PMT is given to the mostly unpleasant symptoms women can experience from ovulation till the onset and onwards of their bleeding - things like bloating, mood swings, cramps, acne etc.
The changes and symptoms are due to hormones. A hormone is a chemical substance, produced by an organ, gland or special cells, that is carried through the bloodstream to regulate the activity of certain organs. See the menstrual glossary or check out the biological description of menstruation
There are a myriad of hormones that interact together to produce our menstruation cycles, and the balance between all these hormones is vital. PMS usually occurs when the hormone system is unbalanced, generally peaking just before and during bleeding.
Anyone who has experienced the rage, or depression, or irritability of PMS can vouch for the fact that it is not just a physical process the body goes through. This page will explore some of the other metaphysical aspects of PMS, but for the purely physical refer to these pages:
PMS is not only a physical biological event. It is also happening on an emotional, mental and spiritual level. At ovulation.. an ova, egg or seed is released; preparing to be fertilised and implanted. The whole creative reproductive centre of our being gets ready for this process. The endometrium (lining of the uterus), "ground/ earth" is becoming thicker with nutrients ready to support new life.
There is a build up, congestion of energy in our creative centre; not only on the physical, but also on the emotional, mental, and spiritual/ soul levels of our being. If we are experiencing bad PMS, we can ask ourselves the foillowing questions to help us uncover exactly why we are so upset.
- What else are we preparing to gestate?
- What other seeds in our life are awaiting fertilisation and implantation? ...Creative projects, big ideas, decisions
- What else is ripening?
- What other long awaited dreams, wishes, ideals (often subconscious) are hoping for their big break?
For the egg or ova that is released, it is pretty much a life or death issue - it is either fertilised and implanted or it dies! That's it, no second chance.
We know this on a cellular level and I think this is what adds that intensity to PMS, and the many unresolved unacknowledged dreams and expectations that appear at this time.
I think it is why at this time, as we see yet another cycle coming to a close, another lost opportunity (depending on how smoothly we are executing our dreams and desires in our life plan) we become dissatisfied with our life choices, partners, careers, health, love, hobbies, passions etc.
The premenstrual phase is almost like a last ditch attempt to implant that creative seed (whatever it is), get that project going, and as we are more open to our intuition we are able to see more clearly even what those desires are or what exactly is standing in our way. No wonder we experience frustration, anger and grief!
Rest and Relaxation , and time out is one of the best remedies for PMS.
Eating a balanced diet is important. According to Leslie Kenton in Passage to Power, its a good idea to avoid foods like coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar (and anything containing sugar) artificial flavourings and colourings, convenience foods, wheat and wheat products, meat, fish, game, cigarettes, drugs, chocolate, colas and milk and milk products... so it's basically all the refined and junk foods in the pre menstrual phase. Eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, soy products and healthy stuff that allows your body to detox for awhile.
Certain vitamins and minerals can be useful. A good quality multi vitamin designed specifically for women is a very useful and helpful addition to your diet.
Maca Powder is also an excellent addition to your diet. Maca Powder is a whole food / superfood which helps your body balance its hormonal system making it an excellent menstrual cycle regulator.
Vibrational Essences can work really well ( I have used those) as can aromatherapy products.
Exercise is another important factor to help shift stagnating and brewing energy. Orgasm is a great way to release pre-menstrual tension from the pelvic area.
Oh and one last thing, keeping regular is important , I have discovered that if I get constipated around PMS and bleeding time, my moods, and cramps etc at the onset of bleeding were alot worse.
Orgasm is also a great PMS helper see here
Let's help each other out, because most modern women are unable to share this aspect of their lives with anyone, we don't have the modern equivalent of a Moon Lodge (where native American women would gather together at their moon time to pray and heal together.) You can either email me information and I will put it up in the Contributors section
Therapy / Body Work / Counselling
If you are really suffering from PMS and feel like your behaviour or moods are uncontrollable then consider seeking help. Therapy, counselling or bodywork with a trusted professional can assist you is moving through unresolved trauma or issues that are coming to the surface at this time.
Some of my premenstrual experiences
I find personally that I peak at ovulation. I definitely feel the hormone levels, and I feel off balance, crabby, emotional , it has an intensity to it. It's like the boxers bell.. ding, ding, ding get ready to go into action - like a last call or maybe a first call!
I'll say at this point that I ovulate on the dark moon and bleed on the full moon. My premenstrual cycle goes with the waxing moon, so it has an intensifying quality to it anyway. Just as the moon gets fuller so does my body and my emotions.
It is my emotions and intuitions (if I am still enough to listen), that whisper (or sometimes shout depending on where I am at!) which issues are 'up' for me, which dreams are not being fulfilled, what obstacles are in the way: whether they are my belief systems, lifestyle choices, or habits etc.
Now having experienced this in quite a destructive, irrational and angry space, I want to explore a better way of using this valuable time in my cycle.
How can I use this getting ready / ripening phase so that it enhances my life rather than destroys it and the relationships around me?
The destructive/ letting go quality of the Enchantress/ Crone phase is inherent in the cycle. Unavoidable, because in the time before and during bleeding phase, we are courted by the Crone archetype. She is the one who dissolves and takes away that which is not needed any more. That is just the way it works, and it is this quality that allows us a natural cleansing of ourselves on all levels.
However we need to be discriminating and conscious of exactly what we are cleaning out and releasing.
For example, are we bitching at our partners nebulously (driving them away anyway), or cleanly addressing the issues in the relationship that are really bugging us?
We can also be aware that not all our dreams and desires can be fulfilled in one short menstrual cycle... but are we working towards these goals?
Are we acknowledging our needs?
Are we making some progress in our Souls plan?
Returning to the Mind, Body, Spirit connection, balancing ourselves on all these levels is important. Being in an optimum or not depleted physical state at this time will assist us in riding this phase of the cycle as best we can. By giving our bodies what they require on a nutritional level (which is vital to a healthy fertility cycle) we can lessen how out of control we feel, as our body is supported / nurtured (Moon) to perform her biological function. Our body in turn can support us on the other levels, mental, emotional , spiritual.
Now everybody is different, and nobody has an ideal life, we are the product of both our genetic nature and heritage and our nurture heritage.
I know (in my whole being) that our relationship to our reproductive organs or female parts is a reflection of our own ease or dis-ease with our feminine expression in the world. As I have healed and addressed my relationship to my feminine Self, my discomfort and pain around my menstrual cycle has lessened.
I feel it is useful for us to heed the messages our menstrual cycles send us, but by the same token I don't feel we should suffer in doing so, so if anyone has any stories, remedies or advice on how they cope with the ups and downs of the Pre Menstrual cycle .. please let me and everyone else know.
Written by Nadia MacLeod