Menstruation

MAPELSA, MENSTRUACIÓN

The menstruation

The menstruation cycle is normally for about 28 days, but it is considered normal if it lasts between 21 and 35 days. The menstruation is the part of the menstruation cycle in which the bleeding is produced and usually lasts between 3 and 7 days. The quantity of menstrual flow that is lost per period changes a lot depending on the woman, going from only 9g to more than 350g. The average amount, however, is of about 70-80g, which approximately equals the volume of a cup of tea.

The amount of flow also varies depending on the day, with the higher amount at the beginning of the period than at the end. Actually, 90% of the flow is emitted during the first 3 days of menstruation.

Socially, the menstruation is still the part of the hormonal feminine cycle which is more looked down on, even as if it was like an indisposition or a transitory illness; however, each day that goes by there is more people who want to focus the process from an integral conception and understand the changes of the feminine body as a bond to nature, an opportunity to reach the knowledge of the own psychic, physical and emotional functioning.

If we learn to listen, know and respect the rhythm of the natural cycles we will be able to live in harmony, health and balance; and if instead we force the body and the mind to obviate its own nature, we will generate discomfort and illnesses. As a matter of fact, a lot of menstrual disorders without and apparent cause are due to the speeded pace of life nowadays, commonly determined as stress.

In general terms, women suffer from stress because they haven’t learnt how to be themselves. The women’s role in our occidental society boosts us to deny the deepest sense of femininity, in favor of social patterns of behavior, appearance and participation at work or family where the external value takes preference (‘living out’ life according to your relationships, your family, your job…), setting aside our precious inside processes: physical, emotional and mental. Forgetting that this is exactly where our creative potential resides.

The physiological processes of the menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle can be divided into four phases:

  1. 1
    The menstrual phase: In this stage the womb gets rid of its lining.

    The menstruation means the end of a cycle and the start of another one. The first day of bleeding is “day one”. If the conception and the implantation of the ovule is not produced in the following tenth and sixteenth days after the ovulation, the body stops preparing for an eventual pregnancy. The lining of the womb paralyzes and is expelled through the blood loss.

    The menstruation was always down looked and this shows in expressions like:

    ‘To be indisposed’ or ‘to be in a bad mood’.

    Sentences like these are the ones that talk about illness and not actually about health, with menstruation as the generator of life. This menstruation rejection symbolizes the femininity rejection. The taboo that surrounds menstruation is, in many women, favorable to the lack of self-confidence and auto-acceptation.

    The ideal would be the acceptation of this period that reoccur month after month, and to learn to pass through it taking advantage of the energy that it awakes, rather than suffering for it. What’s usual during the menstruation is for women to become more conscious of their bodies, getting more introspective and using this moment to have a stronger contact with themselves. This should be a period of reflection and meditation.

    The hypersensitivity (sensory sharpening) must be used to become more aware of colors, sounds, flavors and other sensations.

    Creativity can be developed in a better way. Positive thinking helps women to love their bodies more and its functions, and this increases a woman’s positive image of herself.

    In the past, healers used the menstruation as a source of inspiration because visions and prophecies were given with a greater clarity. Women controlled agriculture thanks to the observation of the moon and its cycles.

    The bleeding allows women to come into a deeper contact with the stratum´s of internal life, dreams, desires, intuitions, etc. The physical and emotional symptoms that usually take place represent a conflict between the conscious attitude and the one we leave aside or suppress the unconscious.

    From the spiritual side the menstruation is considered as a “symbol of unity”, as with the moon and the plant cycles, the menstruation represents the regeneration of life.

  2. 2
    The pre-ovulatory phase: During this phase the ovarian follicles ripen.

    This is a very active phase; the body gets prepared for the ovulation. It’s a moment in which we set ourselves into new projects.

    If we pay attention to our body we will be able to realize when the ovulation starts. This process can be stated in different ways depending on each woman. There can be changes noticed in the cervical flow, an increase in sexual desire, slight jabs in the pelvic area, etc.

  3. 3
    The ovulatory phase: In this stage the ovary detaches a mature ovule.

    The menstrual cycle has two crucial poles: the ovulation and the menstruation.

    From the ovulation to the moment of bleeding, the highest point of the sexuality is showed and this allows access to the creative energies, and to run all the energies from the inside. When the bleeding- finishes, we set out towards to the outer energy, again to the ovulation process. If we become aware of the energies that are moving in the whole cycle, the transition to another state will be much easier. Just the fact of knowing our cycles and the emotions that they awaken will lighten our life.

  4. 4
    The premenstrual phase: During these days the level of estrogen and progesterone decrease.

    When the woman hasn’t paid attention to her necessities, the repressed emotions do not have a proper language to express themselves and end up being voiced in the body as an illness and/or affecting the mental and emotional state, favoring irritability, hypersensitivity and even the propensity for accidents.

    In the explained conditions, in the premenstrual phase women can feel depressed, tense, swelled up and uncomfortable. During the days before the bleeding, pain in the back or in the breasts can take place. This and other symptoms are part of what is commonly known as the Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

    The word ‘syndrome’ refers to the combined characteristic symptoms of an illness. Obviously it includes the signs that can appear in the days before the period. This process must be accepted as a natural one.

    Sexual desire increasing during the premenstrual phase is something that usually happens, as a consequence of rejecting sexual relations during this stage.

    The increase in sexual energy implies a strong desire for a deeper intimacy, and not a simple increase in the sexual appetite. This is seen to be at its strongest during this phrase of menstruation..

    However, every woman is a unique and individual being and what she feels in that moment must be respected.

The conventional medicine (from a masculine point of view) tends to overvalue the ‘reproductive’ phase of the cycle (the ovulation) and usually sees women fundamentally as a breeder, and consequently, looks down on the menstrual facet.

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Natural or alternative remedies for painful menstruations

Apply a hot water bag in the abdomen region or apply white cabbage leaves, previously flattened, and on those, an electric small pillow.
Aromatherapy: chamomile, sage, cypress, juniper, lemon, rosemary.
Chamomile and valerian infusions, both in infusion and in extracts.
Remember that health advices are just that; advices. Consult with your doctor or therapist for further advice.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Some days before the menstruation the estrogen increases, and this affects the neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers. This can increase adrenalin and noradrenalin which can increase anxiety and irritability. Serotonin and dopamine decrease.

‘The period is the symbol of a body which is in harmony with Mother Nature’.

Recomendation

PMS can be alleviated through a natural diet and with primrose oil massages.

Menorrhagia or excessive bleeding periods

It isn’t easy to say what the normal quantity of blood to flow out is. This has to be managed through observations of such things as sanitary towel and the level of soaking, or the amount of discharge on the sheets or clothes during the night.

Excessive periods can be a response from hormonal unbalance: IUD, fibromas or polyps, endometriosis, obesity.

Excessive losses without an apparent cause are denominated ‘dysfunctional uterine bleeding’ and usually are accompanied by non-ovulation cycles. They generally occur in the first phases of the menstruation or from the 35 on.

Excessive periods can owe to a lack of iron, zinc, vitamin B, and specially vitamin B6 or vitamin A rather than a serious health problem.

Health advice

It is important to ingest food rich in iron, and consume green-leaved vegetables.
Aromatherapy: massages with essential oils of geranium, cypress and rose are good.
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Menopause

The menopause indicates the end of the menstrual periods. It can happen before the age of forty years old (premature menopause) or as late as sixty years old. What is considered normal is from fifty years old.

Menopause is a normal stage in life. It is the end of a cycle that has been going since a young age. What happens is that menstruation has been spoken about so much and there has been a fantasy created around it, that is has almost been turned into an illness like an ailment. Everything in life has a beginning and an end, and the menopause means the end of a cycle. It can cause certain inconveniences because of the hormonal changes, but most of them have more to do with the emotional rather than with the physiologic. This does not ask us to deny its existence, but just to accept it and pass through it as it is, allowing oneself to live it rather than suffer through it.

The hormonal changes that happen previously to the menopause stage can produce body swelling caused by the liquid retention. Sometimes women can feel forgetful, clumsy, and have a great desire to eat sweet and ‘delicious’ things. Women can frequent feel sadness, depression, irritability and hypersensitivity. With a different viewpoint and education that permits the acceptance of the physical changes, and therefore psychics; as normal stages in life, would avoid such wide range of symptoms.

The hormonal change typical of the menopause can cause vaginal dryness –which can make sexual intercourse more painful – heat flushes, night sweating, dry skin, cramps, varicose veins, sensible and sore breasts, pain in the articulations, anxiety, depression and osteoporosis.

Natural or alternative remedies

Soya has a compensating effect on the hormonal system. An alimentation rich in soya, especially in fermented products such as tofu or in dry extracted soya, provides natural phytohormones and isoflavones.
Take infusions of hawthorn, nettle or sage.
Include virgin brewer’s yeast oil in the diet.
The boron is a trace element that helps the body to retain the calcium and the magnesium and increases the estrogen levels. It can be found in apples, pears, tomatoes, prunes, raisins and dates.
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The woman, the moon and its cycles

The standard menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, even though 30% of women have them ‘long lasting’, another 30% have them ‘short lasting ‘ and a 10% have them ‘irregular’ and ‘variable’. The rhythm of the classic 28 days is similar to the moon one, which is shown 13 times a year (28 days x 13 = 364 days =approx. a year).

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The moon cycles

Since ancient times humans have recognized the moons influence on the menstruation cycle. Can we take profit of this ancient wisdom these days?

Nowadays we know that the full and waning moon influence both plant growth and health conditions. In the middle of the month, the human body behaves like a little ocean, because 70 or 80% of it is composed pf water (in women the percentage is even higher). The full-moon arrives and a succession of morning and night tides takes place in our body.

The most obvious example of the effects caused by the moon periodical changes is the women menstruation. Experience shows that if the menstruation takes place in the middle of the month, in waxing moon, it will be more abundant, and in the contrary, if a waning moon takes place, it will be less abundant.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the blood and the vital energy circulation has a close relation to the moon cycles. Because of that it is worth regulating and stimulating the vital energy and blood flux before and after the menstruation.

New Moon
The black moon is related to the witch and to the wise archetype. It is a deep internal transformation phase, of darkness, where all ways of existence are generated.

It is a passive moment, of introspection, when the physical energies are at their minimum, but all the physical ones are activated.

It is a perfect time to get rid of all the old and useless, and to feel, to be in silence and notice the energy of everything that surrounds us, to leave the action and be receptive…

When the moon starts to wax it is the best moment to set out on an idea, project or desire that has surged in this internalization state, and it is time to sow. This stage contains the impulse for a posterior phase of growth.

Waxing Moon
The light rises. It is associated with the virgin archetype that is receptive to any new experience, with emphasis and happiness.  Here the energies we have received in the witch stage start to show. It is a time of physical and social action, to set in motion.

In this moment the energy is radiant, worldly and extroverted. The seed that we have planted has sprouted.

Full Moon
The moon is a mirror that reflects all the sunlight, it is the moment of blossoming plenitude, the time of the fruits.

We associate this phase to the mother archetype who nourishes and sustains all the ways of life.

The energy is in its maximum splendor. If we are in this moment we are level-headed and we can perceive the subtlest and greatest energies, we can also capture the relations with others in a simple, human and broad way… In this stage our sensibilities increases.

Waning Moon
It is the moment to pick up the fruits, to evaluate what we have sowed in a conscious and unconscious way.

This phase is associated with the maiden archetype, who can experiment all the sexual energy without fear, freely.

Between the full moon and the new moon the body tends to eliminate the toxins, optimizing the effects of a depurative diet.

The lunar cycle finishes, and it is in this stage we start to aim all of our energies again towards our inside. It is time to purify, to loosen up, to focus and share what we have learnt, and connect with our desires to row again.

28days
13times a year
4moon cycles

How and where to note them?

Use a twelve-month calendar, like the one you can have in your agenda or print the one above. You must have it handy so as not to feel lazy and keep the register and not forget important dates.

If you want to know where your cycle is and be able to calculate approximately when it will be back, you can use the following chart.

Mark the first abundant menstruation day of each cycle. Unite them with a horizontal line from left to right indicating a 28-day cycle. An ascendant straight line indicates a shorter cycle, and a descendent straight line indicates a larger cycle. If the line is not more or less straight, your cycle is variable.

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Moon Calendar 2016

This calendar will help you keep records/ notes of your menstrual cycle. Print it, fold it by the middle and do that again. Ready! You now have your calendar to take with your wherever you go.

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