Mainstream first world culture today has us so far removed from our bodies, from our connection to the Earth. From our material makeup, the foods we ingest, and the medicines we take to heal our bodies, there is little regard to hold our connection to Earth in tact. This can be seen in the popular food of North America that expands worldwide (fast food, dairy, starches, few fruits and vegetables), to the products we put on our bodies that contain mass amounts of chemicals not supported by our material makeup, and lastly to the ways of our medical system in pharmaceuticals that are widely used for many ailments including headaches, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), belly aches, allergies, as well as ailments like cancer, depression, and heart conditions.
The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, PMS, occur in the phase after ovulation, the luteal phase. For many women this is usually the week before menstruation, but for some the onset occurs even earlier. Recognizing the cyclical nature of its symptoms clues us in on what is not working in our bodies.
To preserve us as a species (and particularly as women who birth life to our species), we must bring ourselves back to optimal health; we must learn to be more in tune with our bodies to continue the preservation of homo sapiens as we have known. Not only is healing PMS naturally a wonderful option for those who suffer on a month to month basis, but it reconnects us to the Earth, her powerful healing gifts, and will encourage our preservation.
Utilizing products, medications and foods for PMS relief that are not supported by our body’s systems, can possibly mask other medical conditions that need to be addressed and ultimately lead to greater health issues over a long period of time. There seems to be a vast hyper dependency upon pharmaceutical drugs for ailments that can be resolved with using the elements of nature- fire, water, air, earth. Our disconnection to and independence from Earth can encourage other ailments to arise, as our bodies are not designed for processing these foreign substances.
Healing PMS can be empowering, as well as a great joy and hallelujah moment for many. Even Mary J Blige states in her song, “PMS” that – “The worst part about being a woman is PMS”. This doesn’t have to be so when we take natural, mindful steps toward our healing.
Because PMS has a broad range of systems to qualify for diagnosis (over 100), without proper cognizance of when they are occurring during a woman’s menstrual cycle and whether they are dissipating with the onset of one’s bleeding, it can be confusing to pinpoint the true cause of such symptoms as headaches, abdominal bloating, food binges, fatigue, and back pain to name a few.
The quote below demonstrates the alternative health issues that have been found when the seemingly initial complaint was PMS.
“Organic causes of PMS-like symptoms must be ruled out. Marked fatigue may result from anemia, leukemia, hypothyroidism, or diuretic-induced potassium deficiency. Headaches may be due to intracranial lesions. Women attending PMS clinics have been found to have brain tumours, anemia, leukemia, thyroid dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders, pelvic tumours including endometriosis, and other recurrent premenstrual phenomena such as arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, and pneumothorax (24).”¹
There seems to be non-PMS disorders that need further attention but get brushed off as ‘normal’, part of a woman’s cycle, or found relief with an over the counter pain pill or birth control pill. Adding false hormones, or suppressants of pain can merely mask a possible other issue that is crying out.
Help is possible. Healing is possible. Alissa Vitti, author of WomanCode, speaks to this when she states – “…the only way your hormones can achieve balance is if your body does the job– and only if you safeguard and nurture it, with every meal and habit, every day, to optimize endocrine function.”
Embodiment/ Self Care Practices
A few options for healing PMS naturally include cycle charting, dietary adjustments, exercise, rest, point of view, as well as a spiritual practice.
Cycle charting would indicate whether there is a cyclical nature of symptoms and therefore most probably related to one’s menstrual cycle. Paper charting is one effective way to notate when one menstruates, when one feels like they are ovulating (usually a heightened sense of libido, more watery cervical fluid, and a heightened position of the cervix), and when one experiences any symptoms that arise prior to menstruation and whether or not they halt at its onset. There are also apps that have been created to help this process as well.
Some dietary adjustments that have shown to be effective are:
- Increase water intake
- Increase dark, leafy greens
- Increase whole grains
- Increase fruits and vegetables
- Decrease sugar
- Decrease caffeine
- Decrease alcohol consumption
- Decrease dairy
- Decrease starches
Shortly after ovulation, creating more spaciousness with one’s schedule, allowing for more down time, self reflection, time with girlfriends, journal writing, connecting with nature, and meditative, healing baths with Dead Sea salt or Epsom salt with added essential oils of choice, and candles, flowers, and relaxing music in the bathroom can make the transition smoother as menstruation time approaches. Treating one’s self to romantic dates at home are a powerful tool to viewing our menstruation time as beautiful and natural. Additional self care practices might be a warm compress on the womb, a womb massage or even a full body massage!
Another ‘small’ yet powerful embodiment practice would be to practice one’s deep breathing. This also creates spaciousness, pause, ease, and down regulation during a time when we might feel more agitated and irritable. The practice of one’s deep breathing can be as deliberate as during a meditative practice- in a quiet space at home for a comfortable amount of time, during a yoga, qi gong, walking, or other movement practice, or less deliberate during any point of one’s day – while driving, pausing while at work, or while gardening, etc.
Breathing can also allow time to pause and reflect the value of one’s triggered emotions- are they fully warranted and valid? What is truly the trigger for any agitation, anger, irritability, sadness, isolation, or flustered feelings? Pausing to breathe can allow us a moment to recognize the source as well as the opportunity to release it, address it, or return to it when we have more time.
Pause and breath can also allow for perspective on how one views their menstrual cycle. Expert Joan Chrisler shares in an interview the impact on social learning with regards to how women view PMS. If what one has been taught and constantly sees perhaps via media that menstrual cycles are hard, painful, challenging, and dreadful, then that can come to be one’s socially learned experience as well. And the same is true for the exact opposite. If one learns, sees and practices embracing their menstrual cycle as beautiful, reverent, sacred, and special, then that can be the experience received.
Being aware of, and naturally healing our PMS, not only creates more ease, joy, flow and freedom in our lives, it also cleanses our bodies of other stressors and illnesses, and creates better health for us as women, mothers, sisters and daughters for generations to come. Our connection back to our bodies, back to Mother Earth~ who gives us life through her foods, herbs, oceans, seas, mountains, and rivers can leave us PMS free!
You can regulate your levels of PMS. You have ownership of your own body. You can manifest your world of less PMS!
*If your symptoms are debilitating, or are not on a cyclical nature, please be sure to seek the help of your medical provider.*