Premenstrual symptoms (PMS) cover a broad range of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. These can be emotional and physical. Mood swings, cravings, breast tenderness, acne, irritability, depression, bloating, headaches…the list goes on!
Many women think these are normal symptoms and 75% of women get them, however if we’re at optimal health we should get very little symptoms and shouldn’t fear our time of the month! It should just be the same as the rest of the month….apart from the obvious!
Many of my clients don’t go out, socialise and some have even struggled to go to work during this time! This shouldn’t be the case. This is a sign that something isn’t right hormonally in the body.
The cause of PMS is simply imbalanced hormones. Oestrogen levels rise and progesterone levels decrease.
Many things promote these changes such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, stress, caffeine, dairy, meat and xenoestrogens. Gut issues such as constipation and imbalanced gut bacteria can also make these problems worse due to reabsorption of oestrogen's and poor detoxification.
Luckily there’s some simple nutrition and lifestyle changes you can make that should relieve PMS symptoms.
- Avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates. Opt for wholegrain carbs and natural sugars such as brown rice syrup and fruits (but still limit these to 2-3 servings a day).
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Cut out caffeine and opt for herbal teas instead. Liquorice tea is great to help the adrenals cope with stress.
- Cut out all dairy and possibly other allergens including gluten. Use almond, rice, coconut milk and coconut yoghurt. Avoid processed soya milk as this can also effect hormone levels.
- Increase fibre from vegetables, nut, seeds, fruits, lentils, beans and wholegrains. Ground flaxseeds are high in fibre as well as helping balance hormones. Soak them in water for at least 10min and then add to smoothies, porridge, nut butters etc.
- Take good quality supplements. A few of the supplements that have been shown to help ease PMS include: omega 3’s, at least 2g a day; B complex with 50-100mg of B6, 800mg folate and 1000mcg B12; Magnesium glycinate, 400-600mg a day. Make sure these are practitioner grade supplements (otherwise you’ll be wasting your money and will have expensive wee!!). I like Natural Health Practice, Nutri Ltd, Renew Life and more. If you have any questions, please contact me.
- Herbs such as Agnus Castus can help massively. This is what I started taking to bring my menstrual cycle back. It helps balance the hormones released by the pituitary gland and studies of over 5000 women have found it effective. 100mg twice a day of a 10:1 extract, or you can also get it in supplement form (Natural Health Practice does a supplement of this).
- Reduce stress to balance hormones. Introduce deep breathing, yoga, meditation, hot baths, essential oils such as lavender etc. It’s so important to bring you into the para sympathetic nervous system.
Following just these recommendations can have massive positive effect on PMS, but there are also many more.
Remember to listen to your body and the symptoms it’s telling you!
If you are on any medications please contact your health professional before taking any supplements.
You can get practitioner grade supplements from www.naturaldispensary.co.uk and quote BLLF010 for 10% off.
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