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this one is for the ladies (and anyone who gets a period)

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

It’s THAT time of the month again.

Many months my cycle reminds me of my place in the rhythm of all things. I feel rooted and earthy, more connected to birth and death and everything that moves in between. Dreams become more prophetic, connection to self deepens.

But some months, I’m distracted by premenstrual back pain, irritability, breast tenderness and overall fatigue. My temper grows short, my patience wears thin and I feel the need for a place of my own to retreat to.

So what accounts for the difference in these months? How come some months the flow just flows, and others it feels blocked at every turn?

As usual, I’ve made myself and many of my loved ones guinea pigs for all kinds of moon cycle experiments. Here are some of the things I’ve seen work to regulate and smooth out the bumps in our Moon Cycle.

Alternating Seed Rotation

this is hands down the most remarkable habit I’ve encountered to regulate a moon cycle. Give it 3 months. If you are in menopause or not mooning for any reason, follow the moon cycle. Day 1 counts as the new moon and Day 14 the full moon.

  • Day 1 - Day 14: Starting from the first day of your menses and continuing until ovulation, take 1 Tbsp of freshly ground flax seeds (or raw pumpkin seeds) daily. Add to any meal or pop it straight in your mouth. Best if these flax seeds are ground fresh in a coffee grinder, as the oil in the seeds goes rancid very quickly - you can keep some premade in a bag in the freezer.

  • Day 14 - first day of menses: From ovulation until the first day of your menses, take 1 Tbsp of freshly ground sunflower seeds (or raw sesame seeds) daily. Same method: use a coffee grinder, add to any meal or take straight.

  • If you’d like to take this a step further, add: Day 1 - Day 14 (ovulation): Take 1 Tbsp of Cod Liver Oil each day Day 14 - back to Day 1: Take 1 Tbsp of Evening Primrose oil daily

If you aren’t sure when you ovulate, there are a few changes you can observe in your body to help you connect with your cycle.

  1. Do you experience a slight twinge in the lower abdomen right at ovulation? This is called “mittelschmerz”, which translates from German as “Middle Pain.” It marks the moment when the follicle in your ovary which holds a mature egg ruptures, releasing the egg for fertilization. (If the sensation is more than just a mild twinge, seek advice from your health practitioner.)

  2. If you have a very regular, 28-30 day cycle, you can estimate that you have about 12-16 days of pre-ovulation and then about 12-16 days from ovulation to menstruation. If your cycle is longer than 30 days, but still relatively regular, your ovulation will still happen about 12-16 days before your period begins. This seed rotation will also help your cycle become more regular and settle into about 28-30 days.

  3. Cervical mucus--You may notice a thick clear or milky mucus discharge which only shows up right around ovulation. It’s purpose is to lubricate and also to provide a welcoming environment for sperm, should you wish to become pregnant.

Retreating to a Place of Your Own

I find this to be such an important part of honoring the process your body goes through each month when the uterus sheds its lining. Maybe it means getting in bed a bit earlier than usual with a hot water bottle and a good book. Maybe it means finding a special place in nature where you feel connected and held. Wherever and however it looks, if you feel the calling and have the freedom to do so, let yourself be “unproductive” for a bit.

Get more rest, hire a babysitter, take a long Epsom salt bath and try not to overcommit yourself.

You may consider sleeping in a separate room - the first two days of my moon I throw a sleeping bag over a sheepskin on the floor of my closet and cosy up. Dreamtime deepens and I moon bathe - my closet has a window facing East and the moon light streams in.

Commune with the Moon

Perhaps a big reason that menstrual difficulties seem to be on the rise is that we don’t spend much time simply noticing the moon in all of her moods in this world of artificial lighting and fast-living.

Something as basic as making a point of looking at the moon each night and paying attention as she swells and shrinks can have a huge impact on your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

To take it a step further, you could mark the phase of the moon each day on a calendar or in a sketchbook. Or, you might schedule some specific ritual or practice for yourself on the new and full moon evenings each month. Historically the new moon was the time for planting new seeds. How can you do this for yourself? What seeds do you want to plant this month? What can you do to celebrate the full moon?

For More Help

There are all kinds of reasons for PMS and irregular cycles. It is important to understand the root cause of any imbalance you may have. I customize treatments for my patients, order blood work if needed and create nutritional plans & wonderful herbal formulas to support and ease the flow.

Click here to come in or to schedule a phone consultation with me.

Have any tips of your own or passed down in your family? Please share in the comment box below!


1 comment

1 Comment

Unknown member
Nov 27, 2018

Hi, Dr. Jennings.

I appreciate this reflection on moon cycles (as a person who struggles with endometriosis, it's a particularly challenging time).  

It feels important to say, however, that not everyone who menstruates identifies as a "lady."  Transmasculine and gender nonconfroming people also experience cramps and breast tenderness and grapple with navigating their periods in a world that doesn't create much space for them to do so.  Using more inclusive language in your messaging around cycles (e.g. "people who have periods" instead of "ladies") could be a beautiful thing for everyone.

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