By Leslie Botha
January 30, 2007
The nature and study of women’s hormonal health has been sadly neglected to a point that the medical and pharmaceutical industries have now taken a stand purporting that women need not menstruate every month – stating that this natural process inhibits women from experiencing a whole and fulfilling life. Their skewed scientific data has opened the door for an onslaught of drugs; i.e. synthetic hormones that has become one of the most widely accepted yet uncontrolled experiment in the history of medicine. (Rako)
The natural ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle is not unlike the natural ebb and flow of any other cycle that governs this universe. The imminent link between the menstrual cycles and lunar cycles in past cultures was a part of women’s matrilineal heritage and a physical proof of the interconnectedness of all of life and of death. Women were the first healers, mathematicians, agriculturalists, healers, and astronomers because of their innate understanding of the cyclical repetition not only of their body – but of life itself. Lunar calendars and the marking of the passing of days are found on antlers and other artifacts dating back to 20,000 B.C. Because of this strong relationship between women’s inner world and the understanding of the outer world women were revered as Goddesses. (Miles)
Over time and throughout recent history this natural approach to life has been tampered with and industrialized so that both men and women have lost their connection to life itself. This has been most detrimental to women because a part of their educational and medical education is to disassociate them selves from this process that brings balance, knowledge and intuition into the lives. We have been persuaded to deny, denigrate and to hide any reference to our menstrual process.
Indeed, this has been most detrimental to our hormonal honeys; young girls at the beginning of their menstrual process – commandeered by physicians into taking synthetic hormones to regulate their cycle. Indeed, women entering perimenopause are also prescribed synthetic hormones to regulate their cycle.
In my work and research with adolescent girls, I find that their lack of knowledge about the hormonal changes in their bodies and how those changes affect their behaviors is detrimental to their health and well being. Ninety percent of the 13 – 17 yr. old girls that I have worked with over the last five years – have ended up in jail due to some self-destructive behavior – and had their periods. Does this make them criminals? Not in my humble opinion.
Women who are experiencing menstrual difficulties in their adult years are also drugged and hormonally manipulated so that they can “maintain” their duties of womanhood. We have been so quick to take a pill to get rid of “discomfort” that we have completely forgotten to question the long term side affects of synthetic hormone supplementation. Indeed, we are beginning to see the affects of that now – 40 – 50 yrs. later.
Imagine indeed, that women and men lived once again within the natural order following the natural laws that govern. We would understand the ebb and flow of life – and for women learn to understand and embrace the power that comes with living with their hormone cycle. It is a simple, basic process. Once menstruation ends, natural estrogen and progesterone produced by the endocrine system begins to rise. This causes a feeling of renewal of energy for women; a sense of self-assertiveness, self esteem and tasks at hand are easily accomplished. By the time ovulation occurs a woman in tune with her body cycle knows that she can move mountains. This natural feeling of euphoria can last into the third week of the menstrual cycle until the waxing of the natural hormones subside so that the uterine lining can be released. Energy levels dwindle, the immune system becomes more comprised, and because of a decrease of hormone stimulation feelings and emotions become less regulated. (Donadio)
What women and young girls do not understand is that the feelings experienced during paramenstrum are a phase. Instead – we are all prone to think – and those thoughts are re-enforced by family, friends and co-workers….”what is wrong with us?” If a woman understood this cyclical nature of their hormonal shifts – we would be so much more competent, even during the paramenstrum. Our accomplishments would be greater -; we would know how and when to move mountains to create change – and when to receive nurturing for ourselves. Now, I look at women in their 30’s and 40’s and they are absolutely fatigued from months of living against this natural ebb and flow of their hormones. Fatigue is the first step to chronic illness in the cycle of disease.
It is no wonder that hysterectomies are the second most preformed surgery in the U.S.
I liken women to the nucleus of an atom. When they are in balance living with their circadian clock – the protons and neutrons (in this analogy- men and children) are also drawn into the balance of living with cycles. When women are out of balance so are the people they affect. And everyone’s lives become more chaotic.
A classic example is the anecdote about why a woman won’t become president. Man’s greatest fear is that out of a pre-menstrual fit she will hit the red button that will destroy the world – and then the following week wonder why she did that. That analogy can be made on a daily basis in women’s and young girl’s lives. We are always looking back in retrospect saying that’s why I self-destructed – I had my period. Well, it is time to stop looking back It is time to look forward – to understand and live with the hormone cycle and reclaim that power that is inherent in that process.
When I asked an esteemed colleague of mine why this synthetic hormone movement was being pushed on women – she stated unequivocally “to make women ineffective”.
It is time for women to reclaim not only their personal power by understanding the impact and significance that the hormone cycle has in our lives – but the power that comes with living with cycles. The menstrual cycle has much more relevance than just its relationship to the lunar cycle: it is the Holy Grail: the physical manifestation of living with a life force so strong that it supersedes the chaos that threatens to destroy life.
The implications are staggering.