In previous posts I’ve discussed the potential impact of emotional stress on your menstrual cycle, like how it can make your period late, delay or even suppress ovulation, as well as contribute to hormonal health issues such as PCOS and PMS. Here I want to delve deeper into the mind-body connection and how our emotions, feelings, and the energy we hold can play a part in the development of reproductive health conditions.
There is a neurological, endocrine, and immunological conversation at work in every one of us that is reflective of our emotional state. While it’s very important to look at the root causes of conditions from a functional nutrition standpoint, I find that the emotional aspect needs to be addressed at the same time for long term recovery. The emotional patterns behind ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, and other conditions are common to many, many women and very much a shared female experience. Understanding this aspect is an opportunity to have compassion for ourselves and for other women.
This has come up time and time again in my work with women. I recall a time when a client was experiencing continuous spotting. We had addressed her diet and lifestyle, but during one conversation it became apparent that the spotting had been happening since her father had passed away earlier that year. I suggested that her womb was holding her unprocessed grief, resulting in the symptoms, which were a literal weeping from the womb. Once she made that connection she was able to release her emotions – have a good cry – and free herself from the cycle.
Your emotions and ovarian cysts
We’ve looked at effective food and supplement-based natural treatments for ovarian cysts in the past. Distinct from PCOS – which is indicated by multiple cysts on the ovary – single functional ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs the size of almonds that grow on the ovaries, often cyclically and in connection with your hormonal shifts.
There are two kinds of functional ovarian cysts – follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts. Follicle cysts happen when the ovary follicle does not open to release an egg and instead stays closed, filled with liquid. Corpus luteum cysts is when the follicle does release an egg, but does not then seal and close off afterwards. Functional ovarian cysts are very common – many women have them at some point during their lives, but not all will have symptoms. It’s possible for a cyst to grow very large if left untreated and even burst, requiring immediate surgery.
Consider your female reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, vagina) act as a “low heart” and hold many of our unconscious, deeper emotions that your “high heart” is not yet ready to process. The emotions are held here, only to be released once the woman has processed the source of these held feelings. A health condition like ovarian cysts can convey a message of the kinds of emotions being held there in the reproductive organs. This thinking is rooted in Jungian psychology, specifically the mind/body connection. A student of Jung, Marion Woodman, developed the concept of “feminine psychology” and her work details how unconsciously held emotions, feelings, and thoughts can affect the female body. As science progresses we are seeing more and more empirical evidence to support this. Dr. Christiane Northrup has discussed the reproductive and mind-body connection in her work.
One element of Woodman’s work focuses on how women feel about their bodies. Many of us are brought up to be fearful and distrustful of our bodies, and she believed this has a significant impact on our health. She believed that unconscioius trauma experienced by many women – as the result of individually experienced acts of abuse and violence, and as the result of cultural oppression – manifests itself in physical symptoms.
When it comes to ovarian cysts specifically, especially those that are symptomatic and recurrent, they are delivering the message of unfulfilled creative expression. Many women experience these feelings – we hold down full-time jobs, do more than our fair share of housework and childcare, and often start second or third shifts every evening. Do you ever feel like you really want to start a creative project, but you just don’t have the time? Do you have a friend who cannot give themselves the time and space to express their creativity and that causes them frustration? Energetically speaking, ovarian cysts tend to represent blocked creative desire, ideas that don’t fully blossom in one’s life. This is nothing to do with your personal choices, and everything to do with the position of women in society, and how we are conditioned to organize our lives.
Mind-body connection and compassion
In future posts we’ll look at the emotional root of fibroids, endometriosis, and PCOS. Whatever symptoms you’re experiencing the takeaway should be compassion and the need to find compassion for yourself, your body, and for what other women are going through. Many, many women experience trauma in their lives, whether directly or indirectly, and we all live with a heavy weight of expectation, limitation, and judgement on our shoulders. Many, many women also experience ovarian cysts, as well as other hormonal health issues. The two, I think, are connected.
I believe the way forward is to bring these topics out into the open, to talk about our traumas, those things we don’t normally share openly – like our individual experiences of miscarriage, postpartum depression, abortion, sexual abuse, rape, assault, domestic violence, and our collective understanding of sexism and misogyny. Releasing these emotions can mean we no longer hold them silently within ourselves, where they continue to do harm.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
To your FLO,
We believe that no woman should suffer simply because she has a period.
And we also know that it’s not always possible to get access to functional and holistic healthcare solutions — sometimes they’re too far away and most of the time they are way too expensive.
That’s why we offer phone and Skype consultation sessions with our FLO coaches.
All of our expert FLO coaches have been trained by Alisa on top of being certified health coaches and licensed acupuncturists. And they are all qualified to help you find the right next step for you in getting out of hormonal chaos and into your FLO. Work with a FLO Coach and find your customized plan to solve your period symptoms.