As published in the September 2014 issue of Vitality Magazine
Do you look forward to your menstrual period as a positive experience, or dread this time of month and find it a major inconvenience?
Many women feel negatively about their menstrual cycle, planning activities and vacations carefully to avoid coincidence with ‘that’ time of the month.
In a balanced physical and emotional state, as nature intended, women can feel content and symptom-free all month; and can even experience increased energy, creativity, and intuition around their menses.
You can end the unnecessary suffering by taking charge of your health. Reclaiming your menstrual power begins with changing your perception of menstruation; understanding how your body works and embracing the gift of creation. Good nutrition and regular exercise are also essential. In addition, with the gentle balancing power of homeopathic remedies, women can reclaim their menstrual power and overcome the physical and emotional discomforts of PMS.
“PMS from hell” was neatly printed on her patient intake form under the heading, Major Complaints.
In search of a reason for her suffering, Alana had gone through blood tests and thyroid and pelvic ultrasounds prior to seeking homeopathic treatment. The results were always negative and her doctor’s response was: “just part of being a woman,” concluded by a prescription given for pain killers.
Alana’s symptoms had begun with mild pain in her abdomen and back, fluid retention, and headaches that began at around age 17 and escalated to severe pains, nausea, heavy flow, migraine headaches, and extreme mood swings by her mid-thirties.
“My only good week is the one immediately following my period,” she complained. “The week before my period, my ex-husband used to stay away from me because I was mean and verbally abusive. When my period comes, I’m screaming in pain the first two days, and no amount of painkiller is enough”.
The emotional trigger for Alana’s PMS was the breakup with her boyfriend at age 17. Over the years, the accumulated stress of raising children, a strained relationship with the in-laws, a failing marriage, and two miscarriages all took a toll on her body and emotions.
Alana was aware that consuming sugar worsened her symptoms, but could not help herself and surrendered to the strong cravings.
Based on all physical and emotional symptoms combined, the homeopathic remedy Cimicifuga was prescribed. “I don’t feel so manic,” was her first comment during her follow-up consultation six weeks later. “My period was not as heavy, and the cramps were less. I didn’t need to take painkillers.”
Much to her surprise, Alana reported reduced sugar cravings, and feeling stronger around sweets. All of Alana’s PMS symptoms had reduced by 25-50%. By her third visit, Alana was much calmer, happier, and almost symptom-free. The only remaining sign of menstrual troubles was some pressure in the abdomen during her flow.
Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, refers to the cyclic emergence of a range of symptoms that arise during the luteal phase (second half after ovulation) of the menstrual cycle, and diminish soon after the onset of menses.
One of the most common symptoms of PMS is abdominal pain. It is important to note that pain may be a sign of a more serious ailment, such as fibroids or endometriosis, ailments which need to be ruled out by a medical exam.
Physical symptoms can include back pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches or migraines, engorged and tender breasts, fluid retention, cravings, constipation or diarrhea, skin breakouts, night sweats, joint pain, and more.
Emotionally, there can be irritability, bouts of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, or intense anger and hatred. There may be paranoia, a feeling of being unattractive, stupid, or not good enough. Some sufferers weep easily from the slightest cause. A woman may feel “alone in the world,” or perhaps victimized and controlled by others. Some can even go as far as harming themselves. Such was Maida’s case below.
While estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease naturally during the luteal phase, PMS symptoms occur when hormones become abnormally out of balance. What contributes to hormonal imbalance is another story. Here are some contributing factors:
Some women are more predisposed to hormonal imbalances. While reducing your stress and eating healthy is important, and will contribute to balance, homeopathic remedies have the capacity to correct the underlying imbalances on a deeper level, and on a more permanent basis.
I received a call from a concerned mother of a 14 year old teenager who cuts herself, usually the week before her menses. She told me Maida is seeing a therapist and has made some progress, but felt that her daughter needed a deeper balancing with homeopathy.
Maida used the words “lost, alone, confused, and sad” while describing her life situation and relationships. Her PMS symptoms prior to her menses were all emotional, with the exception of mild abdominal bloating, and chocolate cravings .
Maida was an average student and had a few good friends who “don’t appreciate me,” she complained. “I try so hard,” she continued, “but I feel like they just don’t want to include me in anything.” Other comments included, “I feel like an outsider and my parents don’t understand me.”
Maida was reluctant to talk about her self-mutilation during her first visit. But after starting the first remedy, Stramonium, she admitted during the second meeting to cutting herself.
Eventually, Maida’s life transformed with the continued use of this homeopathic remedy. She started having a better relationship with her friends and family; she no longer felt isolated or alone, and the self-mutilation ceased.
Homeopathy is a 200+ year old medical science based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. This means, if a substance can cause symptoms in a healthy person, it can stimulate self-healing of similar symptoms in the sick. As an example, a person who experiences symptoms of nausea will be given a homeopathic remedy which can potentially cause nausea in a healthy person.
In homeopathy, symptoms such as pain, fluid retention, acne, and the like are seen as expressions of a curative process, the organism’s attempt (however ineffective) to heal itself. Taking cues from the reactive expression of the organism, the homeopath seeks to enhance the symptoms, thereby stimulating the organism to complete the curative process that has already been set in motion.
Homeopathy views PMS as a manifestation of a deeper chronic issue. Thus your homeopath will not prescribe painkillers, or other remedies, directed towards the PMS symptoms (or any single symptom) alone. A homeopath will spend a great deal of time taking a history of your complaints.
During the consultation you will be asked many questions about your nature, such as body temperature, food cravings, sleep patterns, digestion, and more. In addition, the homeopath will try to understand your personality and temperament by asking you things regarding how you react in social situations; what makes you angry or jealous; whether you prefer company or spending time alone; whether you are competitive, introverted, assertive, or shy. The purpose of this process is to elicit information that will define you as a distinct person, helping to prescribe a remedy that matches your uniqueness.
This remedy will help improve your overall physical and emotional health, even though you are seeking help for PMS symptoms alone.
Her complaints included heavy, brown, lumpy periods with a disgusting odour, throbbing abdominal pains, and a ‘bearing down’ sensation in her pelvic area. She became irritable and forgetful prior to her menses: “I forget simple things, like the main reason I went to the grocery store. I come home without the first item on my list.” The completion of her menstrual flow left Laura feeling weak and tired.
The remedy Kreosotum fit the symptom picture, and was prescribed for Laura’s physical and emotional complaints combined. Laura’s periods resumed their normal colour and odour, and the lumps disappeared. The abdominal pains, along with the ‘bearing down,’ vanished. She regained her memory and felt more energetic at the completion of her flow.
In today’s fast paced world it is easy to forget that our menstrual cycle is all about reproduction and the creation of life. It represents a powerful and highly intuitive time in a woman’s life. Instead, many young women are given negative and disempowering messages regarding the “undesirable cycle that needs to be fought tooth and nail.” They are advised to repress their cycles with tampons and suppressive birth control pills which, in some cases, stop their monthly bleeding altogether.
The menstrual cycle is nature’s way of restoring our fertility each month. What most women don’t realize is that, when pregnancy doesn’t occur, the hormonal changes in our bodies create fertile ground for all kinds of invisible opportunities. When we tap into this potential we can feel more vibrant, improve our relationships, enhance our physical and emotional wellbeing, and connect with the Divine Feminine.
The deeply healing powers of homeopathy can assist in empowering women to break the vicious cycle of PMS and begin to embrace their feminine strengths.
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