It is fitting that I had planned to write this Beat PMS Naturally blog post today. Yesterday was Sunday I had a home day with my family, you know one of those nice, slow days where you don’t have anything planned. So I swept the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, played mums and dads with Miss 4, Kicked the ball around with Mr 6, cooked a roast dinner, made a batch of bliss balls, packed lunches for Monday, called my mum, did the dusting! As you can relate, this is what makes up a relaxing day for a mum!! The thing was I was tired and intolerant, both of my husband and the kids. Of course, it was all their fault – they were being too loud, too slow, too demanding and they said “muuuuuuum” too many times in very irritating, very loud voices!!! To make matters worse I had a big, sore pimple on my cheek, which didn’t do much to make me feel positive!
So this morning when I went to the toilet and discovered I had my period I immediately understood why I was cranky and tired yesterday! It wasn’t everyone else in my family it was ME! This pretty much sums up the emotional symptoms of P.M.S. – people, situations, events, conversations that wouldn’t usually bother you turn into big deals! Life becomes more dramatic, you become more emotional, less tolerant, perhaps more aggressive. The P.M.S. symptoms I experienced were fairly mild and didn’t have too much of an impact on my life but they can be much worse for some people.
The fact that 75% of women experience P.M.S. to some degree tells me something.
Yes, I do believe P.M.S. is related to an hormonal imbalance and I have seen my clients in my Naturopathic Clinic experience a drastic reduction or complete elimination of P.M.S. symptoms through lifestyle changes and nutritional and herbal medicine. You should not want to strangle your husband, get severe headaches and food cravings or feel completely wiped out before your period (just to name a few common symptoms!) BUT I do believe that it is somewhat ‘normal’ as a woman to go through some changes – physically, mentally and emotionally – premenstrually.
I like to think of P.M.S. as a Premenstrual SURGE because that is what it feels like! We often have heightened awareness, creativity and emotions and if we channel that SURGE into something positive such as a creative project, a deep discussion with our partner or even a meditation, it can become a time of insight, reflection and progress. It is important to listen to your body, slow down if your need to, get an early night, go for a walk or do whatever it is that you feel you need.
There are probably many of you reading this that experience P.M.S. as more than just a surge! Anxiety, depression, aggression, fatigue and insomnia, bloating, acne, an insatiable appetite, food cravings, breast tenderness, headaches, migraines, cramps, weight gain, fluid retention, muscle and joint pain and digestive disturbances are some of the most common symptoms of P.M.S. These symptoms can last for the entire second half of some women’s cycles.
So what are the causes and how can we Beat PMS Naturally?
So we know PMS is a sign of hormonal imbalance, more specifically it is caused when oestrogen levels are high in relation to progesterone levels. I cover ways to reduce oestrogen dominance in my Energetic Mama ebook
High Stress levels
Stress is one of the biggest lifestyle upsets to our hormone balance. It increases our cortisol levels and depletes our progesterone levels which then leads to the oestrogen dominant problem above! Read more about this in my progesterone deficiency blog post
There is no doubt about it, food affects the way we feel! Eating a diet full of processed foods and sugar leads to blood sugar imbalances and inflammation, both of which affect our hormone balance! To support healthy hormone balance eat fresh vegetables, salads, nuts, seeds, eggs, nuts and pasture raised meats. My Energetic Mama meal plan gives you a 7 day meal plan to follow to support hormone balance.
Certain nutrient deficiencies are associated with specific P.M.S. symptoms
Magnesium deficiency is associated with chocolate cravings, fluid retention, cramping, sore breasts and general fatigue. Sugar in your diet increases the excretion of magnesium from your body, making the deficiency worse!
Chromium deficiency is associated with sugar cravings and fatigue before your period.
Calcium deficiency is associated with premenstrual pain, cramping and aching.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with sore breasts, fluid retention and Premenstrual tension.
Omega 3 fish oil can be useful for reducing inflammatory symptoms such as pain, cramping and breast swelling
The liver has an important role to play in hormone metabolism, so it follows that keeping the liver happy improves hormone levels. Alcohol, caffeine, man-made fats and sugars all put extra stress on the liver, leaving it less energetic to deal with hormone balance. A constituent found in cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts helps to improve the metabolism of oestrogen in the liver. Fresh lemon squeezed in water, especially first thing in the morning can also aid liver function.
I have had many clients overcome the hormonal imbalance associated with P.M.S. simply by changing their diet and lifestyle. Herbal medicine is fantastic too but needs to be prescribed by a professional for best results.
Let me know in the comments below – Do you suffer from P.M.S.? What symptoms do you experience? What has been the most helpful piece of advice you have read here? I would love to hear from you!