“PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS), which has reached epidemic proportions, is concurrent with the increase of media advertising. These ads continually hammer home the concept that the female body must be sprayed and powdered and douched and overcleansed in numerous ways to make it even barely acceptable. At the same time that women are coming into their own as equal beings, they are also being bombarded negatively with the idea that the feminine procresses are not quite acceptable. This notion, combined with the tremendous amounts of sugar being consumed today, creates a fertile breeding ground for PMS.” Louise L. Hay YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE
PMS can include many physical and emotional changes such as weight gain, acne, headaches, depression, food cravings, poor concentration, breast swelling and tenderness, bloating, muscle aches, constipation, nervous tension, insomnia, mood swings, rage, fatigue, heart palpitations, urinary problems, anxiety, and many many more different symptoms.
If you are one of the many sufferers of PMS then you are all too familiar with the wide range of the numerous physical and mental changes that begin between two and fourteen days before menstruation. Tension and irritability can be so severe, it can literally turn any woman into a raging lunatic in minutes! Women who have experienced this have described PMS like a spring being turned tighter and tighter until suddenly it snaps, causing temporary insanity. It could also be likened to a repressed volcano that suddenly and inexplicably throws everything around it into chaos.
If you are a teen reading this, I cannot stress enough about the extremes of dieting and PMS. Dieting places the body in the famine or starvation mode, which causes your metabolism to slow down when you try to diet. What happens when your metabolism slows down is the hypothalamus in your brain moves into a high state of alarm. The hypothalamus is part of the limbic system or old brain that controls your eating, drinking, sleeping and maintenance of your reproductive functions. If you are constantly dieting or changing your eating habits this can cause premenstrual syndromes and/or delay your sexual development. Puberty, especially in girls could be delayed because body weight is a factor in your reproductive function. If your weight drops below a certain level than your menstrual cycle and especially ovulation could come to a halt. This may not only be the cause of your PMS troubles but possibly will affect you later in life when you are thinking or contemplating pregnancy.
The same is true for the ‘older’ woman. If her fat-to-muscle ratio—drops below a certain level, then her reproductive cycle and the delivery of her eggs will most likely to come to a halt.
“This is true of malnourished women and, in our society of some athletes and some overenthusiastic dieters and joggers. And if she is exposed to something that her brain-body system experiences as stressful, then the same effect is likely to be found. Such a response would be adaptive. It is not in a woman’s interests, evolutionarily speaking, to commit herself to conception, childbirth and child-rearing either when resources are scarce or when the environment is less than congenial….Deep in woman….not in men, are buried the gene-hormone-norepinephrine pathways of the Stone-Age Venuses of Menton and Willendorf, figurines of Paleolithic woman who were grotesquely fat by our standards, but who were highly valued, it seems, as reproducers.” Jo Durden-Smith and Diane deSimone Sex and the Brain
PMS can physically, mentally and emotionally sap us of energy. Not only do our behaviors and feelings run totally out of control, we can also feel unsure of who we are, losing touch with our bodies, our emotional needs as well as the needs and feelings of others. Premenstrual syndrome can be so uncomfortable, miserable and isolating, it can bring out the worst side in all of us. At the office we may manage not to explode but as soon as we get home, we’re ready to bite somebody’s head off. For no reason we’ll quickly attack our husband, lover or children for any little thing….we become like a ravenous dog that’s lost all control of its body and mind. The brain has automatically switched into overdrive, creating a massive release of adrenal hormones.
Our sex hormones are among the most subtle and powerful chemicals in nature. They have a profound effect on the nervous system as well as increased electrical activity in the brain. When the brain and nervous system are thrown off balance, we are at the mercy of uncontrollable and abnormally high and unstable emotions.
(Receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone have been found in different regions of the brain and these three hormones play different roles at different times. One area in the brain that is particularly rich in these hormones is the limbic system, which governs our moods and emotions. When your thought processes are in a jumpy hyperactive mode, they affect the hypothalamus, in the limbic area of the brain that is highly sensitive to your moods and emotions. When the hypothalamus is thrown off balance, it affects and drastically alters the production of the sex hormones in the brain, causing an array of negative emotions to flood your system.)
Michelle, a good friend and client of mine, use to experience confusion, anger and anxiety almost every month, for a few days before her period. “At first I didn’t know what was going on. It seemed that for almost seven days a month my life would fall to pieces. I’d experience a buildup of anger, irritation or frustration either with myself or with those closest to me. I’d become overly critical with everything little thing and go absolutely berserk on my family, husband or children. I felt totally out of control with my life. And even when I was in the throes of anger, I had a knowing I was picking on the ones I loved most because of what was happening within myself. But at that time I didn’t know how to help myself or undo these rapid mood swings. Guilt would set in and I’d find myself crying uncontrollably.”
PMS has been known to be quite destructive to the quality of one’s life. Working with and touched by people like Michelle who have suffered extremely painful periods has motivated me to try and understand why women suffer such an endless array of symptoms and behaviors.
Something I noticed with Michelle and many other menstrual women, including myself, is the strong cravings for sweet, starchy foods before our period started. This temporary loss of control is mostly due to the rapid changes in all hormonal levels after ovulation, especially estrogen and progesterone.
When progesterone in the body is on the rise, it can cause a dramatic fall in our blood sugar levels. When this happens, the hypothalamus, in the brain, signals the nervous system to tell the body it needs sugar—fast! Sugars and starches can raise our blood sugar in about 5 minutes, but almost as soon as we gobble all those high carb foods down, a mad rush of insulin is released into the blood stream, taking the excess sugar out of the blood causing our blood sugars to plummet dramatically.
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can cause an array of symptoms in the body. Not only can hypoglycemia make you feel dizzy, weak and shaky, it also causes fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, headaches, nervousness, migraines, depression, muscle aches, poor concentration, heart palpitations, sweating, tinnitus, irritable bowel syndrome and a whole lot more problems.
Although hypoglycemia isn’t the main offender to PMS it does have a huge impact on the liver, which has a very important role in regulating blood sugars and removing toxic substances from your bloodstream. If the liver can’t function at its best, it gets weary and tired. Not only is it the breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings, it physically affects the blood, the immune system and your ability to fight infections.
“The functioning of the liver is very involved in addiction behavior, whether the addiction be to food, alcohol or drugs, as it is the loiver that removes toxins from the blood and deals with th excess fat and sugar intake. The emotional tension that gives rise to the need for release through an addiction is felt here, as this tension may be based on anger and resent (towards the world, or towards specific individuals). Often the toxins are ingested through the addiction as a way of hiding from those toxins already in our system: hate, frustration, rage, incompetence, self-dislike, hurt, greed and a need for power. By taking in external toxins we do not have to admit to, or face up to, what is already inside us.
The liver is closely connected to the third chakra, that which focuses on power and self identity. By transforming these qualities we are able to rise above them to the highest levels. But it can be just as easy to become a victim of these energies as it can be difficult to transform them. The liver then reflects the anger and confusion experienced in trying to find ourselves and our purpose.” Deb Shapiro The BodyMind Workbook
This quote from Deb Shapiro fits well with a quote by Louise Hay
“The probable cause of PMS is allowing for too much confusion, giving power to outside influences and rejecting the feminine processes. Louise Hay
During my healing profession, I’ve worked with women who have expressed their unhappiness and depression with the way they see their bodies. Their main concern, or so they say, is about losing weight and wanting to look model-thin. But really this is only the tip of the ice-burg.
Usually in a healing treatment, I encourage people to express whatever is on their minds. As the healing begins, and our auras merge, I mentally ask the client’s spirit what the hidden cause of her PMS symptoms are, and what can be done about it. This type of communication also helps an uncomfortable and rather shy person to become more relaxed, open and spontaneous.
To hear a client’s inner voice, a healer needs a focused, clear, calm receptive mind. Approaching a patient in this way is done with a non-judgmental attitude of acceptance and love. A spirit that has unconsciously imprisoned itself will relax and unfurl like a flower when loved, leading you into that person’s heart. Energy that was crimped up and congested in the lower chakras begins to flow, reducing backed-up pressure and increasing a client’s intuitive perceptions and inner awareness.
I can’t tell you how many times an ‘external’ muscle has been the cause of PMT, stomachaches, heartburn, nausea, urinary incontinence and heart arrhythmia. These muscles can clamp down on the blood flow in an artery making a part of the body feel cold. Pelvic congestion (enlarged veins in the uterus) can also cause vaginal and bladder problems, painful periods, irregular bleeding and painful sex. When the veins in this area become enlarged, they cause slow circulation and the blood to stagnate in the pelvic area.
If you suffer from thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism, one of things you may have noticed was an increase in muscle cramps, muscle weakness, stiffness and pain. This is one of the typical signs of low thyroid problems, which could also be a major comtributor to your PMS.
Muscles are known to hold past memories. traumas, repressed fears, guilt, tension and feelings. Knotted up muscles in the lower abdomen and inner thighs have been known to frequently squeeze nearby nerves. Nerves that pass through a muscle are even more vulnerable. They can distort the electrical signals that travel along it, causing sensations such a numbness, tingling, or burning.
Confusion, guilt, anger, fear, worry, etc. not only put a crimp in our circulation of energy, it can, and especially in PMS sufferers, cause energy to back up in the pelvic region. It is in the abdominal region where our longings, unfulfilled desires and everyday pressures and outside conflicts are assimilated. If we don’t allow the body to cleanse itself, tension and pressure will continue to build to a point where it causes pain, psychologically then physically. Not only will this cause the abdomen to swell, our ankles, fingers and feet usually will too, as well as swollen painful breasts.
One more thing I’d like to mention, in regard to PMS, is a yeast-like fungus called Candida. Candida naturally exists in your mouth, intestines, bladder and vagina. Normally it is a friendly fungus that helps to balance normal body functions, but antibiotics, excessive stress and even depression can cause it to grow out of control causing a yeast infection called Candida Albicans. Candida Albicans can cause a multiple of symptoms, such as vaginal/urinary inefections, allergies, arthritis, depression, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Autism, ADD/ADHD, sugar cravings PMS, colds and infections. It can cause low energy and fatigue, irritability, anxiety, fear, headaches, muscle and joint pain, heart palpitations, bloating, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), eczema, itching, rashes, acne and the list goes and on.
“High blood sugar levels increase the amount of sugar stored in the vaginal cell walls, and yeast loves sugar. In fact woman who suffer from chronic yeast infections are encouraged to be screened for diabetes since the infections are so common in women with diabetes.” The Canadian Type Two Diabetes Sourcebook by Sara Rosenthal
If you suspect you have Candida Albicans, your doctor can do a cultural swab or a stool sample to check this out. The problem is, is that there is no test that positively confirms whether you have this yeast infection or not. The reason is because Candida exists naturally in areas like the stomach and intestines. However a stool sample will show if you have abnormally high amounts of yeast.
“In using dietary strategies as a treatment for candida overgrowth, a restricted diet should be followed for several weeks. Actually this diet can be followed for an indeterminate amount of time, and foods can also be added back eventually. This should be done in a gradual one-at-a-time manner, to determine a specific food’s effect. If symptoms recur after a particular good is introduced, that food should then be avoided.
The main thing to remember as you follow an anti-candida diet is to exclude sugar. The idea is to guard against the continued growth of yeast and to fortify the immune system, and since sugar is a main food source for yeast, and does not benefit the immune system, it has to be eliminated. Don’t just ban granulated sugar, though; also be on guard against honey, corn and maple syrup, fruit, ,maltose, artificial sweeteners, fructose, cornstarch, sodas and lactose (a milk sugar found in dairy products). Gary Null, Ph.D. The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
In Part II of this PMS series we’ll look at the metaphysical causes of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and in Part III we’ll look deeper into the hormonal issues and naturally find ways to become ‘a well nourished woman’.
“In women, puberty is the starting point for what can be called cyclical intuition, the intuition available to most women throughout their formative and reproductive years. This is intuition that ebbs and flows in rhythm with the menstrual cycle. In the days before ovulation, intuition is at a low ebb. But then, right before a woman gets her period, the intuitive flow begins, and a woman gains increased access to intuition. Mona Lisa Schultz, Awakening Intuition