As women, we spend a large part of our lives menstruating. Every month we shed blood. Why so much shame and suppression around this? If we look at it from another perspective, periods are an integral part of our womanhood. Their significance lies in our ability to gestate and bring another human being into this world. What could be more sacred? Lets empower ourselves to tune into this feminine time.
Here are some ways to prevent PMS and treat period discomforts:
1) Slow down
We live in a cyclical world. The coldness of winter lives opposite the warmth of summer. We are cyclical beings. During the day, we are active. At night, we sleep. Our periods mark an important part of our feminine cycle. A week before our period, we might begin to feel tired, moody etc. These are signs for us to slow down. When our period comes, this is an opportunity for us to be still and quiet. You can only do this if you slow down. So allow yourself to take a little longer in all your daily activities.
In our modern, fast paced, often hectic world, taking a day off every time we get our period might not be practical or ethical at work. But surely you can indulge in 5 or 10 minutes of extra sleep in the mornings? You can take a 10min rest on the sofa or on the bed without having the telly or the phone on when you come back from work. You can go to bed a little earlier in the evenings. To become aware of the fact that your period is asking you to rest and do less is to begin to listen to your body’s needs.
3) Avoid eating dairy products, especially non-organic
Most milk today is from cows who are treated with BGH (bovine growth hormone) to overstimulate the cow’s udder. These cows are more likely to have infected udders and are then treated with antibiotics. Both hormonal and antibiotic residues in the milk then are able to affect the female hormonal system once consumed.
4) Avoid sugar, refined flour products and trans-fatty acids
Yes, cake and biscuits taste great. Yes, they can be comforting to eat but overindulging in them isn’t going to do us any good. Excess carbohydrates and trans-fatty acids can create an eicosanoid (local hormonal) imbalance that will increase cramps. Trans-fatty acids are found in all sources of food containing hydrogenated oils such as margarine.
5) Essential fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil or linseed (flaxseed) oil have been known to work well for menstrual cramps. You can take the fish oil in capsules or in liquid (krill or cod liver oil). The flaxseeds can be grinded and added to soups, salads or smoothies every day or can be consumed in oil form.
6) Take Magnesium
Magnesium relaxes smooth muscle tissue. You can take it acutely as much as 100mg every 2 hours when menstruating.
7) Reduce Stress
This might mean a candlelit bath or a massage for you. It could also mean practicing mindfulness, meditation or yoga. Relaxation of any kind lowers your cortisol and adrenaline levels in the blood and helps you to balance your biochemistry.