Trauma During Your Cycle: Proven Tips to Decrease PMS And Gain Control of Your Period Flow
Trauma works in mysterious ways.
When you have trauma that hasn’t healed and is stored in your body, it can be triggered in various ways, whether you’re aware of it or not — from a flashback to a sound like a honking car horn, a smell, or thought, or even something someone says. When this trauma is triggered, your brain communicates to the rest of your body that you’re in danger, and it’s time to go into its pre-programmed escape plan. That’s where the term “fight or flight” comes into play.
Your brain activates an adrenaline release as though the traumatic event is happening again when it’s not. This release can cause inflammation which can lead to gut issues, headaches, and so much more — all of which are physical manifestations of trauma. Trauma can also cause a hormonal imbalance — from low libido to poor sleep, decreased happiness levels, and the list goes on — which all contribute to your hormonal cycle.
When it comes to your period, whether it’s starting, stopping, having period pains, or dealing with a heavy, unmanageable flow, trauma and stress can directly impact your period in more ways than one. When your brain thinks you’re experiencing trauma, this affects the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, its communication to your ovaries and adrenal glands, which directly correlate with your period, cycle, and hormones. Below, we dive into four crucial tips to help you gain a stronger hold and understanding of your stress and how to gain control of your period flow.
1. Lay Off The Caffeine…But, Really
As much as anyone loves to start their day off with an iced macchiato followed by another coffee drink in the afternoon, coffee (the caffeine in coffee, specifically!) is a stimulant that is not necessarily great for anyone experiencing anxiety or stress.
Caffeine temporarily boosts your energy by raising your cortisol levels which can block progesterone receptors, leading to that thing we know and love: PMS. Caffeine and coffee have also been shown to lower estradiol levels in premenopausal women. Low estrogen levels can lead to loss of bone and the diminishment of your libido, to name a few.
So, to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, it’ll be beneficial to look at your caffeine intake. Try giving natural alternatives like chamomile, green tea, or even tasty turmeric lattes to replace your coffee fix. Chamomile tea can help release tension in your muscles and ultimately give you a stronger sense of relaxation and clarity — all great ingredients to reducing your stress. You might be surprised at what you like and what ends up becoming a daily favorite!
And why stop at your coffee? When it comes to seeking remedies to aid you and your health, instead of automatically turning to over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Motrin when you’re experiencing period pain or cramps, we recommend exploring natural alternatives instead. You may be surprised by how much better they can heal you, are much safer, and how they can treat more than just your symptoms. Some great alternative remedies to help you during your cycle can range from using a hot water bottle or heating pad, aromatherapy or essential oils like lavender, turning to herbs or supplements like ginger or cinnamon capsules for cramp relief and pain. Prior to purchasing natural alternatives, we recommend consulting your doctor or naturopath first.
2. Meditation…The Secret Ingredient To A Stress-Free Lifestyle
Like with many things, you won’t see results or the positive effects of meditating unless you keep at it. With time and a little consistency, of course, you’ll reap the benefits of quieting your mind and body, which in turn, will benefit your period flow, too. The great thing about meditation is that your options are endless when picking the type of meditation practice that’s right for you. From guided meditations to soundscapes and sleep stories, apps like Unplug, Calm, Headspace, or simple YouTube tutorials are all great resources to begin integrating meditation into your day-to-day life.
Another key to finding your meditative flow is to create a space or environment that allows you to do just that. Find a quiet place in your home where you can avoid any distractions, collect your thoughts, and truly relax your body. Small additions like natural candles and essential oils can really help you to enhance your environment through aromatherapy. Give yourself grace and experiment with different lengths of time and meditation recordings to find what you like. You may even find that simply dedicating a few minutes a day to some peace and quiet is just the type of meditation that works best for you.
Most importantly, it’s key to use meditation as a practice to help you address any thoughts or feelings that come up (good or bad!) and be able and willing to release them. With continued practice and giving yourself grace, this will become easier to adopt, and your mind, spirit, and body will benefit, too.
3. Cry It Out
Ever get your period way earlier than you were supposed to? Later or not at all? When it comes to navigating your day-to-day with trauma, stress, or any type of anxiety or feelings of pressure, the last thing that’s going to help you is to bottle it up.
Pushing your feelings aside, again and again, may feel like a quick fix right now, but eventually, they’re going to come boiling up sooner or later and feel even worse than they were before. So, this is your permission slip to let it all out. There is no shame in crying! Crying is a much healthier way to release the stress and tension that you may not even realize is taking a toll on your mind and body.
When you start to feel your heart pound in your chest or a stomach ache coming on, try to find a safe space where you can feel all the feels and just let the tears out. Listen to your body and mind and give it what it needs. Not only can crying it out help you increase your mood and feel more relaxed, but it also has some other powerful effects. Research has shown that having a good cry is a self-soothing behavior since it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body rest and conserve energy. It also releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, also known as endorphins, which can help ease physical and emotional pain.
4. Let’s Talk Orgasms
Orgasms are much more powerful than you think! They sure do feel good, but they can also help you relieve period cramps. Believe it or not but vaginal orgasms involve the whole body, including your spinal cord! Orgasms trigger your brain to release neurotransmitters such as endorphins and oxytocin, and the endorphins specifically help you decrease your perception of pain. During an orgasm, the body releases a rush of dopamine and serotonin hormones, both of which act as pain relievers.
Now, whether you choose to orgasm on your own or with the help of a partner, getting intimate during your period is ok, and as we mentioned above, it can be just what you need not only to relieve some pain but to feel good, too. Spending some time with yourself or your partner during your period is a completely healthy activity. To keep the moment going without getting too messy, try hopping in the shower or bath, laying down a towel, or keeping wipes nearby. Just because it’s that time of the month doesn’t mean you still can’t have a little fun — embrace it!
Exploring different ways to relieve stress and trauma can do wonders for your period. It’s all about finding what works best for you while recognizing when it’s time to give your mind and body the space it needs. If you’ve had a traumatic experience several months or even years ago, the effects of that trauma — if left untreated — can stick around for much longer and impact your current and your future health especially when it comes to your period. The steps you take now to nurture yourself are only going to continue to help you.
Monica is the founder and CEO of Monica Yates, a trauma healer, period whisperer and embodiment witch, dedicated to helping women clear trauma so they can step into their magnetic feminine energy and help men feel ecstasy and intimacy.
If you wish to get to know Monica, listen to her podcast, read her online magazine or explore the ways you could work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the links below: