PMS – Every Woman’s Curse!
What is PMS?
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, better known as PMS, refers to changes in the body about 5 or 6 days before the start of a woman’s period, and involves many different symptoms. The symptoms can vary from month to month, and affects different women in different ways. Symptoms can include water retention, tender breasts, acne-type breakouts, food craving, abdominal cramps, anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
Studies conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have indicated that approximately 85% of menstruating women suffer at least one of the PMS symptoms, as part of their monthly cycle.
What causes PMS?
If you are a woman, your period is a natural part of your life, and unless you are pregnant, or undergo a hysterectomy, will remain a part of your life right through menopause. Although sometimes known as “the curse” it is actually PMS that is the real curse.
The real cause of PMS, with its range of unpleasant symptoms, is mainly caused by a hormonal imbalance as your body comes into the ovulation mode. Because of chemical changes in the brain and pituitary gland, estrogen levels rise, while progesterone levels decrease. These two hormones need to be in balance, as too much estrogen gives you side effects similar to HRT treatment and those of oral contraceptives, such as tender breasts, mood swings, stress, water retention etc.
The good news is that as soon as you actually begin menstruating, the symptoms normally disappear of their own accord.
Research has shown that although lifestyle habits such as smoking, anxiety, lack of exercise, poor sleep, too much alcohol, and acidic hassles, do not cause PMS – they undoubtedly make the symptoms worse.
Many women with relentlessly severe symptoms visit the doctor with the hope of getting relief. Some doctors may prescribe drastic, expensive drug such as those which suppress ovulation, while others may opt for diuretics to reduce water retention. You may also be prescribed some anti-inflammatories, or a course of birth control pills to stabilize hormonal levels.
These drugs may help up to a point, but it is important to note that all of them come with side effects which can have a negative impact on your health in general.
What you can do to help cope with PMS
There are many natural ways to help manage PMS and so reduce the need for drastic medications. Research has shown that a poor diet and bad lifestyle habits, can actually worsen the symptoms of PMS.
Studies have also revealed that the diet you follow and the food you eat can either increase PMS symptoms, or reduce both PMS issues and period pains.
Here are some dietary tips for you.
- Reduce dairy. Cut down on dairy intake about 7 days before, and during, your period. Dairy products are often genetically modified with artificial hormones, and may further upset the delicate balance of your hormones, which will aggravate PMS symptoms.
- Fix your diet. Permanently clean up your eating habits. Cut out as many products made from refined sugar and flour like cakes, rolls, sweets and pastries, as you can. These foods are very acidic and are known to trigger PMS symptoms, cramps and period pains.
- Get the good fats in. Essential fatty acids such omega 3, are vital for good health, and also have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Foods high in omega 3 include oily fish, walnuts, olive oil, eggs, dark leafy greens – all which help tremendously to reduce inflammation which is so prolific in PMS symptoms.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake. Both alcohol and caffeine are extremely acidic, which adds to the burden of PMS issues at your time of the month.
- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber such as oats and bran, binds to excess hormones in the colon, excretes them from the body, and helps to balance hormones.
- Reduce stress. A regular exercise routine of at least 30 minutes 2 or 3 times per week, will definitely help to keep stress and anxiety to a manageable minimum.
- A good, natural vitamin B complex supplement (with the focus on B6) when taken regularly, is excellent for reducing water retention, and breast tenderness.
Making a healthy eating plan a permanent part of your daily, will give you a good kick start to help you manage distressing PMS symptoms.
Continue to Page 2