Updated: Jun 3
It's the time of the month again, and you're dreading it. Whether you've got stomach cramps, bloating, cravings, or mood swings, this blog will cover everything you need to know about PMS from symptoms of PMS to the causes of PMS and how hormones impact it.
If you are experiencing PMS each month, you can't remember a time when you weren't in pain and feeling ill. You feel moody, and irritable too often to count. Luckily, there is a solution and plenty of remedies for treating premenstrual syndrome naturally. With the right PMS diet plan and adding in a few natural remedies for PMS, you can be on the way to easy breezy periods each month where PMS is running the show.
What Is PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of physical and psychological symptoms that occur in the days leading up to a woman’s menstrual period. It’s estimated that 75 percent of menstruating women experience one or more symptoms each month.
For most women, PMS symptoms usually peak during the second half of the menstural cycle. For some women, the symptoms associated with PMS may be more intense and regular with every cycle, for others, it may be an occasional occurrence. Either way, PMS is not something we should be experiencing if our hormones are in balance.
PMS causes a wide range of symptoms in the days before your period. They include:
Bloating and other digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea
Tenderness in your breasts
Causes Of PMS & How Your Hormones Affect PMS
There are many reasons why women experience PMS, but hormones are thought to play a key role. There are two main hormones — estrogen and progesterone — that rise and fall during the menstrual cycle, affecting various bodily processes. It is thought that a leading cause of PMS occurs when these two hormones are imbalanced. Let’s dive into this a bit deeper:
Estrogen and progesterone have an inverse relationship in your body during your menstrual cycle and need to work together for seamless cycles. Estrogen levels naturally rise during the first phase of your cycle (the follicular phase) and peak during ovulation. This is why women experience more energy and an uplift in mood during the first half of their cycle and is also why they typically feel more confident and sociable around this time. Meanwhile, progesterone levels start to rise after ovulation but do not reach their highest point until shortly after your period begins - they then start to fall as menstruation begins. If either progesterone or estrogen levels remain high when they should be falling OR if either of these hormones is not rising as they should be during their respective times, this means that there is an imbalance between these two hormones and this is when PMS symptoms can be amplified and experienced. You can find more details on the phases of your cycle here.
Estrogen and Progesterone imbalances can be triggered by various different factors like…
Poor liver detoxification
Eating lots of fatty foods, sugar, and salt
Lack of physical activity
Lack of quality sleep
While this is the most common type of imbalance associated with PMS, there are many other reasons/imbalances that could be contributing to it. Therefore, it is important to make sure you have healthy hormones to help you go through PMS-free periods. Balancing your hormones can be a daunting task, but working with a Practitioner can help pinpoint exactly what is going on and provide solutions to getting them back on track.
Types of PMS:
Every woman who experiences PMS goes through it differently. This is because there are 4 types of PMS that you can experience:
The symptoms associated with this kind of PMS are anxiety, irritability and emotional instability
The hormonal imbalance that causes this kind of PMS is an increase in estrogen and a decrease in progesterone
This occurs in about 65% of the population
The symptoms associated with this kind of PMS are carbohydrate and sweet cravings, an increase in appetite, headaches and fatigue
The hormonal imbalance that causes this kind of PMS is an issue with insulin, particularly high insulin during the first half of your cycle.
This occurs in about 24% of the population
The symptoms associated with this kind of PMS are depression, crying and confusion
The hormonal imbalances that cause this kind of PMS are a decrease in estrogen and an increase in progesterone and possibly low serotonin.
This occurs in about 23% of the population
PMS-H: hyperhidrosis (aka bloating)
The symptoms associated with this kind of PMS are weight gain, bloating and breast tenderness
The hormonal imbalance that causes this kind of PMS is an increase in aldosterone and an increase in estrogen
This occurs in about 65% of the population
Most women do not experience only 1 type of PMS. Women typically have 2-3 types of PMS that they experience on a regular basis. Understanding which kind of PMS you are going through can help you identify and remedy the hormonal imbalance that is causing the symptoms you are experiencing. Make sure to work with a practitioner to help you identify and regulate your hormonal imbalances and use the below tips and natural remedies to help in the meantime.
Lifestyle, Supplement & Nutritional Recommendations For PMS
PMS shouldn't get in the way of your day-to-day activities. . Incorporating some healthy habits through lifestyle changes, supplements, and herbal teas can greatly affect the quality of your cycle and bring your hormones into balance.
To dive a bit deeper, these are lifestyle changes that can help with a variety of different concerns, but they will greatly help to improve PMS and are natural alternatives to over-the-counter medication. Here are some tips for this:
Switching to natural household cleaners and beauty products to reduce your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals that impact your hormones
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Aim for 8-10 cups of filtered water per day
Following what your body naturally is telling you. For example, during the first phase of your cycle, your body will typically have more energy to expend, so this is a great time to get in high-intensity workouts and during the later half of your cycle, your body is a bit more sluggish and needs more rest, so this is a great time for more restorative exercises, like yoga. Syncing your workouts and nutrition with your cycle will go a long way in helping to keep your hormones in check and reduce the amount of stress being placed on your body.
Taking supplements can be beneficial when trying to get your hormones back on track. Make sure to take the below supplements leading up to your cycle to help regulate your hormones and address symptoms before they appear. Here are a few that are especially helpful when addressing PMS:
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)
EPO is highly effective in treating PMS symptoms such as moodiness, irritability, breast tenderness, and bloating.
Vitamin B6/B Complex
Vitamin B6 can help with water retention and bloating.
To help with mood and any type of bloating/water retention that you may be experiencing.
Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry
Relieves symptoms of high prolactin; breast tenderness and acne.
Helps with cramping by relaxing the smooth muscles of the uterus and reducing prostaglandins that cause period pain.
Always work with a qualified practitioner before adding any supplements to your routine.
There are a few herbal teas you can sip on to aid PMS symptoms:
Red Raspberry Leaf
Helps to regulate your menstrual cycle and helps with hormonal acne.
It may help to regulate irregular periods and can also help with menstrual cramps and pain.
Helps with menstrual cramps and can also help with detoxification and constipation which will help with clearing excess estrogen from the body.
Can help with digestion and ease bloating.
Has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with menstrual cramps.
To conclude, there is a variety of lifestyle, supplement and nutritional recommendations you can add to your monthly routine to naturally help soothe signs of PMS. Not only will these strategies help manage PMS symptoms, but they can also work to help regulate your hormones. Therefore, reaching for over-the-counter medications does not need to be your only resort - it should be looked at as a last resort when all else fails and while you are working on supporting healthy hormones.
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