Hormonal conditions affect many women and can be quite debilitating, interfering with everyday life. In this article, we will be discussing PMS. What is it, what are the symptoms and how can we manage it?
PMS, which stands for Premenstrual Syndrome, affects women of reproductive age. It's associated with a set of behavioral, physical and emotional symptoms which occur on a monthly basis and can happen up to 14 days before a period. Symptoms usually disappear once menstruation occurs. Women experience symptoms differently, which can range from mild to severe.
- Physical and mental tiredness
- Food cravings
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint or muscle pain
- Digestive issues such as nausea and/or IBS
What can assist with PMS symptoms?
has a lot of studies supporting its use in PMS. It can reduce symptoms such as; anger, low mood, irritability, breast fullness and headache. It needs to however be taken for at least 3 cycles (3 months) to notice the benefits.
The liver is the organ that detoxifies everything in the body. All hormones are processed through the liver. If it is under functioning it cannot clear the hormones out properly and they are left to cause negative effects on the body. It is important we clear the excess oestrogen, as it is a major contributing factor to those nasty PMS symptoms. Foods to assist with liver detox include; broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onions, beetroot and turmeric. Herbs and nutrients that can be of benefit include; Milk thistle, Schisandra berries, Curcumin, B vitamins and N-acetyl cysteine.
Promote good bowel function
Once the liver has detoxified the hormones they then go to the bowel for excretion. We need to make sure the bowels are working properly, so that the hormones don't get reabsorbed. Increase fibre in your diet to increase stool frequency. Foods like chia seeds, flaxseeds, fruit, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, psyllium husk and slippery elm can all promote bowel motions, aswell as feed good gut bacteria.
Stress can be a major factor in the worsening of PMS symptoms. Regular exercise (20-30 minutes, 3 times per week), meditation, yoga, tai chi breathing exercises and practicing mindfulness can all help to reduce stress and increase overall well-being. If you are having trouble dealing with stress and anxiety on a regular basis, it may be worthwhile having a chat to your doctor about it.
Diet is of paramount importance: Your food dictates a lot. Ensuring you have good quality nutrition, can make a world of difference. Here are some dietary suggestions that can be very useful:
Eating a low GI, wholefood diet; fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre, wholegrains, good quality fats and protein. If you are going to consume animal protein try and purchase organic as conventional sources can be pumped with hormones and antibiotics, that can greatly affect your own hormones.
Remove sugar as well as processed and refined foods; cookies, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, potato chips, chocolates, white bread and white pasta. Also avoid fried foods and saturated fats: these all cause inflammation in the body and aggravate symptoms.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol: they can contribute to anxiety, irritability and insomnia, as well as deplete essential nutrients such as magnesium and B vitamins, both necessary for hormone production and PMS support.
If you are suffering from PMS or have any further questions, come in store and have a chat with our Naturopath.