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What is PMS, really?

August 29, 2023

Unveilling the mysteries of your menstrual cycle

Imagine your body as a symphony, in which each phase of your menstrual cycle plays a distinct note in the grand composition of your well-being. The premenstrual phase is possibly the number one most misunderstood and shamed such phase of your cycle, and it comes loaded with history. So, let's talk about Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and how it's profoundly connected to your holistic psycho-spiritual & physiological health.

Demystifying PMS: going beyond the surface

PMS – three letters that might as well stand for “Perplexing Monthly Symphony”. For many, it's a time of emotional whirlwinds and physical discomfort. But let's not stop at the surface. It's about recognizing that PMS is not just a singular event; it's a procession of events orchestrated by the dance of hormones within your body. This symphony is complex, and its notes are more than mood swings and bloating. It's your body's language, calling for your attention and understanding.

A brief history: From “Hysteria” to PMS research

But in order to truly grasp the depth of PMS, we must journey back in time, where women's and AFAB people's experiences were often dismissed as mere “hysteria”. The very term itself reveals an unfortunate narrative – a word that belittles the complex emotions and physical changes experienced by those with a menstrual cycle. It's a testament to how language can wield power, whether to uplift or - as in this case - undermine. These thousands of years of history have been dominated by a general demonization of periods as pathological and dirty.

As we transcend this history and reclaim our period experiences, we can shed light on the real issues at hand: the scientific community has finally acknowledged the countless combinations of symptoms and developed ways to quantify the effects of PMS.

PMS is not just in your head

PMS is real. Your experiences are valid!

(PMS) encompasses clinically significant somatic and psychological manifestations during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, leading to substantial distress and impairment in functional capacity. These symptoms disappear within a few days of the onset of menstruation.

This study - picked out as an example from a large number of studies on the subject - goes on to state that almost half of women and AFAB people worldwide present with symptoms associated with PMS.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a set of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that some women & folks with periods experience in the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period. Symptoms can include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and fatigue.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a set of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that some women and folks with periods experience in the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period. Symptoms can include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and fatigue.

Notice the psychological element here. It's possible that shame around our menstrual cycle still plays a major role. Because while today, we have stopped using “hysteria” as an official diagnosis for AFAB people, its use in every-day language still reminds us of this derogatory way of calling women and people with periods crazy. So, it remains important to be careful with the words we choose, because yes, words do hurt.

Embracing the holistic healing approach

Now, let's shift our gaze to a more nurturing perspective – the realm of holistic healing. Picture yourself as a garden; your body, the fertile soil, and your emotions, the blossoming flowers. Embracing holistic healing means nurturing this garden in its entirety, recognizing that your physical and emotional well-being are inextricably intertwined. It's about listening to your body's whispers, honoring its needs, and finding solace in practices that root you in the present moment. It's like tending to your own sacred sanctuary.

The Shadow and your menstrual cycle: Exploring deeper realms

Venturing into the realm of psychology, we encounter Carl Jung's captivating concept of the shadow self. Imagine it as the hidden chamber of your psyche, holding the aspects of yourself you've consciously or unconsciously deemed undesirable. Just as the moon has its phases, so does your psyche. As you traverse the ebbs and flows of your cycle, you might notice certain emotions or traits coming to the forefront – your own shadow casting its silhouette. This is not darkness to be feared, but wisdom to be embraced.

Drawing inspiration from Clarissa Pinkola Estes' enlightening work, “Women Who Run with the Wolves”, we learn that the shadow, like the wild within us, holds transformative potential. It's the hidden reservoir of untamed energy, waiting to be harnessed for growth and empowerment. As you navigate through the darker phases of your cycle - aka your premenstrual phase, remember that within the shadow lies the fuel for your metamorphosis.

Here's where the true essence of empowerment comes alive. When the tides of “negative” emotions rise during the second half of your cycle, don't merely swim against the current. Dive deep within; explore the crevices of your emotions like a fearless explorer. It's in these depths that you'll find the gems of self-discovery, waiting to be unearthed. Engage in journaling, meditation, or mindful movement – practices that invite your emotions to speak and be heard. Just as a caterpillar transforms in its cocoon, your journey through the shadow moments leads to your own radiant emergence. Or, if it feels more aligned, create a safe space in your home to rage: let out any pent-up frustration and anger, so that it does not even get a chance to fester and manifest in your body in the form of physical symptoms.

The Baba Yaga App: Your holistic cycle coach

As you embark on this transformative journey, we invite you to take our hand as your trusted companion. The Baba Yaga app is a holistic menstrual health app, designed to be your cycle coach, understanding your rhythms and empowering you with insights aligned with the principles we've explored. Imagine it as a mirror reflecting your inner strength and guiding you through the labyrinth of your cycle with daily hormone powers. Embrace practices that honor your body, mind, and spirit, and let this journey be one of harmony, acceptance, and self-love.

Key take-aways: Your symphony of empowerment

So, what is PMS, really? It's a symphony of emotions, hormones, and history. It's a gateway to your shadow, beckoning you to embrace the full spectrum of your being. It's an opportunity for holistic healing, a chance to nurture your garden and dance with the rhythm of your own cycles. As you stand on the threshold of understanding, remember that this journey is not about perfection, but about progress.

Empowerment, like the moon's gentle glow, waxes and wanes. And just as the seasons change, so do you. Embrace the crescendos and lulls, the light and the shadow. For within your cycle lies the story of your resilience, your transformation, and your unwavering connection to the sacred rhythms of life.

Ready to begin? Join us in the summer menstrual revolution of reclaiming your cycle!