Women hate the word, men hide from it, and overall PMS becomes a laughing joke that can be used to describe any bad mood or snappy comment that comes out of a woman. However, the symptoms and suffering that women face from PMS is no joke at all. With this being said, do not believe that PMS is something that many women must endure or that you must live with the terrible symptoms every month for the rest of your life.
When I first entered practice over thirty years ago, many of my colleagues did not believe PMS really existed. Many of them believed (and some still do) that PMS was strictly imaginary or emotionally-based (a frequently used term for….all in your head). How sad!
Like many health concerns, those who suffer from PMS may not fully understand what is causing the problem. Let’s start from the beginning and learn about how to change our diet and everyday lifestyle for better overall health. By understanding the causes, it is much easier to relieve PMS symptoms.
What Causes PMS?
The term PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome, refers to the symptoms, physical and emotional, that women experience before their ovulation, up to the onset of menstruation. Symptom severity and duration of symptoms vary by individual women, ranging from mild to disabling.
Physical Symptoms Include:
- Bloating with possible weight gain
- Changes in appetite with or without food cravings
- Digestion issues (upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation)
- Breast tenderness
- Skin outbreaks (pimples)
- Muscle and joint pain
Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms Include:
- Irritability or anger
- Mood swings
- Depressed mood (PMDD suicidal ideation may be included)
- Crying spells
- Poor concentration and/or memory
Many of the emotional and behavioral symptoms can not only affect the physical state of the individual suffering from PMS, but with severe symptoms of depressed mood or PMDD (Premenstrual Depressive Disorder), the safety and well-being of the individual is also at high risk. These symptoms can cause individuals to have detrimental side effects affecting relationships, job performance and much more. Due to the possible severity of these symptoms, it is not suitable to sit back and accept that they are just a “part of life.” It is important to find healthy ways to combat such symptoms and take back control over your body.
So what causes our bodies to act so strangely during this time of month? The answer is hormonal imbalances. Therefore, when our hormonal loop is off balance, other systems and hormone groups can be negatively affected as well. Stress, nutritional deficiencies, disrupted sodium metabolism, and high estrogen-to-progesterone ratios are some of the root causes of PMS. It is important to note, treating symptoms is not the answer to a healthy and natural remedy of PMS but rather recognizing the deficiencies and imbalances in our bodies to combat PMS all together.
An article in Women’s Health, supported by studies done in Reproductive Health journal, suggests two supplements that can help to combat PMS: vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The study in Reproductive Health shows that “women who swallowed the two every day for six months saw major PMS improvements.” Possibly both nutrients interact with prostaglandin receptors (hormones believed to cause fierce cramps). A daily high quality multivitamin is a good start. I recommend Diamond Nutritionals Foundation Vitamins, which contain 100-200 IU of Vitamin E per serving (3-6 tablets per day), as well as a wide range of other vitamins and minerals.
High-grade Omega-3 fatty acids can help with mood swings, breast tenderness, cramps and acne related to PMS symptoms. I recommend Diamond Nutritionals Balanced Omega Formula, two daily.
For support of healthy menstrual cycles and PMS relief, Diamond Nutritionals Female Hormone Support has helped many women.
The Right Diet Works Wonders
It seems that every time we have a health issue, the best doctors respond with diet and exercise as two of the most important components to wellness. This natural remedy is not rocket science and can help tremendously to relieve the symptoms related to PMS. Reduction of sugar and salt intake is a great way to help with bloating and dizziness. Foods rich in potassium such as beans and broccoli are great to add to your diet. Keep in mind that too much coffee can increase irritability, anxiety, and depression from the high levels of caffeine. Try decaf teas and coffee, which can help to reduce these unwanted mood swings.
Eat Several Small Meals Throughout the Day
Another great way to help with overall wellness and stability in our diet is to eat small, frequent meals. Not only will this help with our metabolism boost, it also stabilizes blood sugar and essentially creates a better environment in our digestive system. Eating smaller meals more frequently can help with a variety of symptoms related to PMS, including mood swings and irritability due to low blood sugar. By giving your body the proper nutrients, you are helping it to stabilize during the menstruation process and boost your overall health.
Stay Well-Rested & Exercise Regularly
In addition to diet, exercise and relaxation have been known to help relieve symptoms of PMS. It’s important to note that frequency, not the intensity, of your workout will help relieve symptoms and heighten overall health. Increased blood flow releases endorphins and dopamine that help to boost mood and ease tension in the back, uterus, and abdomen. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or yoga can be key in helping PMS. Setting aside time to relax, express your emotions, and put yourself first can also help with decreasing stress and anxiety and promoting wellness. Meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga can be added into your daily routine and generate positive affects!
The most important goal is to increase overall wellness, rather than just treat symptoms. Putting an exercise regimen in place and changing lifestyle choices in diet take time. Don’t be discouraged if one month is better than another, and always talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise or supplement plan. Making healthier choices will put you on the natural path to relieving symptoms and the dread of monthly PMS!