How to be more powerful in your life by understanding your hormones and menstrual cycle.

Most of us consider our menstrual cycle as a liability and do not appreciate its true value. But the truth is that our real power lies in our menstrual cycle. If only we start listening and learn from its signals.

One of the reasons that mood changes in the premenstrual week aka PMS frequently doesn’t respond completely to attempts to change it with natural hormones, supplements, diet, and exercise is that there is an emotional component that goes with it that has an underlying and important purpose in a woman’s life.

Dr. Hanley has worked extensively with this aspect of PMS because she believes that without it, full healing often can’t take place. Dr. Hanley approaches PMS, with all its emotional volatility, as an important guide, and teacher. She calls it the goddesses’ gift. 

Menstruation is a time in a woman’s cycle when she is especially sensitive and has access to her deeper levels of intuitive knowing. This knowing is often filled with pain in our culture because of all of the conflict women have with feelings they are not supposed to have. Women are not supposed to have anger. They are not supposed to be anything but sweet and nurturing, and this sets up a pattern of repressed emotions and guilt over those times when anger and frustration do boil over. 

The typical woman who visits our clinic with PMS aggravated or fueled by emotional conflict says, “I’m not myself. I can not just take it all in stride anymore. I’m angry, I’m agitated, I have really strong feelings, I 'm reactive, I’m a witch and a bitch! What is wrong with me?” 

Rather than judging her, I would say, “There’s nothing wrong with you! What you’re experiencing is an important teacher, and we’ll use all kinds of wonderful tools to help you learn about what’s underneath that anger, to appreciate and honor your sensitivity, and to balance your body so that you have control of this phenomenon.

PMS helps you to have a moment, or a day, or a week to have access to parts of yourself that are not necessarily sweet and happy or just pretending to be sweet and happy. PMS gives you a window of opportunity for identifying and working with these feelings.

At one time in history, menstrual blood was not considered dirty or a “curse”; it was cherished as sacred and used in rituals and to fertilize the fields. A woman who was menstruating went to a special lodge with her sisters where her increased sensitivity and cyclic ability to tap into her deeper knowing was used to help guide the tribe or village.

Today a sensitive menstrual woman is regarded as a liability, someone to be feared and avoided. In fact, at any point during the month when a woman expresses anger or irritation, she may be accused of having PMS. If she has a strong opinion she may be accused of being a “ball-buster”or of trying to be like a man, as opposed to just being smart or competent.

However, sensitive also means more intuitive, more in touch, more creative, more spontaneous, and more unpredictable. When these attributes are expressed and appreciated, first and foremost by the woman herself, they tend to be expressed in a more positive way. 

When a woman’s loved ones also appreciate her more sensitive times, it’s a true gift.PMS may push a woman to understand that she does have limits and that those limits are not shameful; they are to be honored. Women need to recognize for themselves when they are neglected, abused, overworked, unappreciated, and not respected. They need to know that they aren't bad if they can’t stay up half the night with a sick child, go to work all day and be competent, and then come home and be cheery, nurturing, and selfless while they cook and do laundry and then stay up half the night again. Feelings that have been suppressed all month may flare up out of proportion premenstrually. 

Women who feel free to express and discuss their feelings and to implement their intuitive knowledge have a much better handle on their emotions when they are premenstrual. When women learn to respect and listen to their own intuitive knowledge, they are taking their first step in healing themselves. We at Truhealing ask women to search for that kernel of truth in their anger, their frustration, their volatility. They can search through dance, journals, painting, sculpture,dream journals, women’s groups, exercises such as yoga and tai chi, or any other creative form of expression that takes them deeper into themselves.

As this process takes place, women learn to be excited and intrigued by their increased sensitivity and to look for the wisdom and creativity available to them. Women who access valuable knowing through a creative process and their intuition find that if they need to, they can later express this knowing in a more linear, rational, or logical way. 

Many times, women are parallel processors,processing and integrating a large amount of information at once in a non-linear, non-logical way: They just “know.” This is a gift and a strength, just as thinking in a linear, logical fashion is a strength (and yes, both men and women have the ability to do both kinds of thinking.)  Acknowledging and appreciating the greater sensitivity of a woman’s premenstrual time is a core issue that profoundly affects her overall physical, mental, and emotional health and well ­being. This is why it’s so counterproductive and often destructive to walk into a conventional medical doctor's office with the emotional complaints of PMS. If anti-depressants don’t fix the problem, you’ll be given a “crazy” label, and that results in an even more crazy-making. 

With some personal sleuthing and creativity, and a willingness to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, PMS can usually be brought into balance within a few months. If you can find a sympathetic and knowledgeable health care professional to work in partnership with you and help you monitor your progress, that’s wonderful. If not, you have to do some work on your own to create healing and balance yourself.

Here are some of my tips:

  • Take a daily multivitamin/ mineral that includes zinc, 10 mg; B complex (all of the B vitamins);vitamin C, 500– 1000 mg; magnesium, 300– 400 mg; vitamin E, 400 IU daily. 
  • In addition, takeVitamin B6, 50 mg daily.
  • Eat a plant ­based, fibre­ rich diet of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Get some exercise every day.
  • Keep a journal and allow yourself to notice the deeper levels of your anger and pain.
  •  Seek to resolve unresolved issues the rest of the month.

Wishing you more feminine power!

Dr. Disha