Hence the Word ‘Syndrome’
Hello ladies! Whenever I do an information session, I ask all the women in the room to raise their hand if they currently or have ever experienced PMS in some form. I have yet to walk into a room where even just one lady does not raise her hand. (I raise my hand too).
PMS has become so common in American culture that it’s almost become slang – applied to women who are cranky even when it has nothing to do with their cycles, and sometimes even to men. (I’m guilty of this – I admit it!)
Women expect PMS on a monthly basis, even when they’re on the pill, and brands like Midol market specifically to women with any type of menstrual discomfort.
But, PMS isn’t normal, and it’s not an intrinsic component to womanhood.
You really shouldn’t have many symptoms before your period – you may be a touch more emotional and perhaps a little more tired than the week before. But you shouldn’t have any real symptoms or signs that your period is coming before that first drop of blood in your panties. Mild cramping during your period is also normal, as is feeling tired, but you should not be in enough discomfort to require medication (like Midol).
Excessive weepiness, moodiness, extreme cramping and other inconveniences that so many women experience before or during their period are not normal, even if they are common.
So what’s causing it?
PMS is caused by hormone imbalances. It can also be exacerbated by food sensitivities, and also by the barrage of toxins (like alcohol) we expose our bodies to.
If you’re on the pill, you may notice that you get PMS of the tension/anxiety/irritability. This is due to the constant exposure to estrogen, which in large amounts disrupts our serotonin production.
If you’re not on the pill and you get this sort of PMS, it could be because you aren’t making enough progesterone during the second half of your cycle. Progesterone is a natural anti-anxiety hormone. When we don’t get enough of it, our mood can sort of tank.
PMS while on the pill can also be related to depleted nutrient stores and gut dysbiosis, which also affect many of us who aren’t using hormonal contraceptives. Ok, this is getting convoluted – the point is – most of us aren’t making food and lifestyle choices that serve our bodies, so we have PMS. But we don’t have to.
What can you do about it?
If you experience PMS on the regular, then you most likely have a hormone imbalance. Your specific symptoms will tell you more about what kind of imbalance its likely to be – if you’d like some guidance in finding out, we can chat in a 30-minute free consult.
However, given the state of the American diet and lifestyle, it is most likely some form of progesterone deficiency. To help ameliorate this, you can eat progesterone-boosting foods.
These include: walnuts, seafood, spinach and leafy greens, lean red meats, pumpkin and squash seeds, and sweet potatoes.
In any event, trying your hand at all of the things you know you should be doing anyway will help. Examples include: getting enough sleep, exercising (but not pushing yourself to the brink) most days, and eating real foods.
Also, help support your cycle through your lifestyle. The best way to do this is to cycle-sync and allow your body to rest when it needs it, and schedule your biggest projects when you’ll be more productive naturally. You can learn more about this here.
Holistic remedies for common symptoms
Castor oil packs can help – and with cramping during your period too. We all know about the hot water bottle or heating pad on the tummy trick, but soaking a flannel sheet in castor oil and then placing a hot water bottle on top of it will help soothe your cramps and aid in the shedding of your uteran lining. A castor oil pack can also help heal estrogen dominance, a common hormonal imbalance, by helping your liver detox excess estrogen.
Evening primrose oil helps to balance all three of your hormones, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. It’s great for alleviating breast tenderness when taken throughout the month and can even help with your mood.
Weepiness/anxiety/other mood issues
Evening primrose oil, as I mentioned above, can help. You might also notice that on months that you eat better, these symptoms are less apparent. If you do one thing differently, get some leafy greens into your diet every day for vitamins like your B’s and magnesium.
You can also try supplementing with magnesium during the second half of your cycle.
If you tend to experience sugar cravings in the days leading up to your period, try eating things like butternut squash and sweet potatoes and other root vegetables in the week leading up to your period.
Hope this helps!