Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by a range of symptoms that occur in women during the last two weeks of their menstrual cycle. The symptoms affect up to 85 percent of menstruating women start 5 to 11 days before menstruation and usually go away when menstruation begins, or shortly thereafter.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can produce physical and emotional or behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms: breast engorgement and tenderness, abdominal bloating, fluid retention (hands, feet or abdomen), constipation, diarrhea, muscle and joint aches or pains, headache and migraine, increased appetite and weight gain, and acne.
Emotional and behavioral symptoms: depression, anxiety and tension, insomnia or oversleeping, change in libido, irritability, mood swings, hostility and outbursts of anger, inability to concentrate, crying, and lethargy and fatigue.
Dr. James A Bach in his book titled Prescription for Natural Cures (John Wiley & Son, 2004) lists other symptoms of PMS, including forgetfulness, loss of consciousness. pelvic discomfort/pain, lower back pain, pain in the lower abdomen, clumsiness, and sugar craving.
In 20 percent of those women experiencing PMS, the symptoms are so severe. About 8 percent is said to experience such extreme symptoms that the problem has been given a new name: premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Many possible contributing factors may be involved in PMS, including hormonal imbalances, poor diet, food allergies, seasonal affected disorder, stress, and depression. Other factors include hypoglycemia, thyroid problem, environmental toxins (e.g. pesticides), poor liver function, and nutritional deficiencies
Actually, you can prevent and treat PMS using simple dietary and lifestyle intervention. The first thing you should do before using or adopting any alternative healing method is to consult a doctor as he/she can rule out other causes of similar symptoms, such as anemia, endometriosis, thyroid disorder/disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, connective tissue disease, and rheumatologic diseases.
In order to help them getting the right diagnosis, you should tell them all the symptoms and a history of present illness that can possibly be linked to PMS. Remember, a wrong diagnosis would lead to treating a wrong condition. Furthermore, you will end up suffering the symptoms longer.
There is plenty of evidence that hormones are involved in PMS, however, the human body is a complex system, and there may be more than one factor that causes PMS. Multiple causes would certainly help explain the wide variety of symptoms and the vast differences in severity.
I personally believe that the real cause of PMS is when hormones become unbalanced, estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease, either relatively or absolutely.
After defining the imbalance, e.g., severe hormonal imbalances, you can address the causes by diet and lifestyle changes to help the body repair and regain balance.
Dietary changes: Stop taking diet high in meat, fat (especially margarine and polyunsaturated fats), sugar, and salt as they will make hormones fluctuate out of control, consequently intensify the symptoms of PMS.
It would be best if you cut out caffeinated beverages and stop drinking alcohol. They impede liver detoxification process, hence, aggravating the symptoms.
Avoid foods you find to cause allergies such as dairy products and wheat as anything that disrupts the functions of your intestines can trigger PMS or aggravate its symptoms.
A diet based on plant foods leads to decreased circulating estrogen. Increased intakes of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans can be beneficial.
Balance the blood sugar by eating healthy proteins and fats and don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime. Avoid xenoestrogens from growth hormones and pesticides. eat organic foods especially animal products, to avoid xenoestrogens from growth hormones and pesticides. Furthermore, organic animal products are also thought to contain high levels of omega-6, which is pro-inflammatory.
Avoid xenoestrogens from growth hormones and pesticides to avoid xenoestrogens from growth hormones and pesticides. Furthermore, organic animal products are also said to contain high levels of omega-6, which is pro-inflammatory.
Eat organic foods especially animal products to avoid xenoestrogens from growth hormones and pesticides. Organic animal products are also thought to contain high levels of omega-3, which is anti-inflammatory.
Eat more wild fish like sardines, herring, and wild salmon as they contain high omega-3, which is anti-inflammatory.
Note: Certain fruit juice may contain certain types of bioflavonoids that can act as xenoestrogens, therefore, it is wise to avoid ready-made juice comprises many types of fruits (some may contain as many as 20 different types of fruits).
Avoid constipation: Frequent constipation leads to sluggish detoxification in the liver, which results in increased circulating estrogen in the body. Finding the root cause of constipation is crucial. Taking 1 tablespoon of raw extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil ½ hour before each meal may help.
Exercise or sauna: Perspiration during exercise helps promote the removal of toxins and xenoestrogens. Moderate exercise such as jogging and cycling at least 30 minutes per day, thrice a week may help reduce PMS symptoms.
Alternatively, 10 – 20 minutes herbal or sauna using ginger or cinnamon leave essential oils are thought to help eliminate xenoestrogens too.
Address stress: Stress, especially chronic stress, can cause or aggravate PMS, therefore, stress management is crucial. Hot shower/bath or a massage can help relax your nervous system including your brain. If you are married, having moderate, relaxing sex with your husband is a way of relieving stress. Orgasm is said to help relieve pains associated with PMS.
Detox: From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, reproductive organs include vagina/penis is encircled by the liver meridian. That is why detoxifying your liver can help relieve PMS. Taking fruits, vegetables, and detoxifying herbs such as Neem, Gokshura, Dandelion root, Dong Quai, Triphala, and Guduchi can ‘move the blood,’ hence relieving PMS symptoms. If you live in South East Asia, boiled papaya shoots eaten as a salad is said to serve a similar purpose.
Harmonize hormones: Many liquid extracts of adaptogenic herbs can help relieve PMS symptoms, including Siberian Ginseng, Dang Shen, Horny Goat Weed, Ashwagandha, Schisandra, and Reishi mushrooms.
Supplements: Many supplements have been shown to help ease PMS symptoms by improving metabolic function and hormonal production. In this article, I will briefly discuss two supplements: magnesium and omega-3.
Magnesium – It is parasympathomimetic, meaning it helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps you to feel more relax. It also helps in lowering high blood pressure and acts as a potent anti-inflammatory. Magnesium is vital in regulating stress levels, hence, may be beneficial in regulating reproductive hormones. Daily intake of ¼ teaspoon of Epsom Salt twice per day may serve the purpose. Magnesium is vital in regulating stress levels, hence, may be beneficial in regulating reproductive hormones. Daily intake of ¼ teaspoon of Epsom Salt twice per day may serve the purpose.
Magnesium is vital in regulating stress levels, hence, may be beneficial in regulating reproductive hormones. Daily intake of ¼ teaspoon of Epsom Salt twice per day may serve the purpose. Please note that magnesium supplements may cause diarrhea.
Immersing your feet in a warm footbath containing Epsom Salt might help relieve the symptoms of PMS.
Omega-3 – Omega-3 such as docosahexaenoic acid (DGA) in cod liver oil acts as anti-inflammatory. It can be used in PMS to relieve pains.