So many women experience pre menstrual systems just before their period. It is estimated to affect 30 to 40% of menstruating women (2). This is the luteal phase of your cycle and it is a time of higher inflammation (1).
It can be characterised by emotional and/or physical symptoms such as:
Understanding your hormones
Oestrogen is your feel good hormone. It boost serotonin and dopamine. Progesterone on the other hand is your calming and soothing hormone. It boost CABA which is released to calm excessive nervousness/stress and is also anti inflammatory.
Too much oestrogen can cause irritability and headaches. Oestrogen has to eventually drop. Though if you have oestrogen dominance, there is a bigger fall.
Progesterone on the other hand makes you more resistant to the steep rise and fall of oestrogen. Therefore you need sufficient progeserone to help you be more resistant to the rise and fall of oestrogen. More and more women are oestrogen dominant whilst others do not have enough progesterone.
Your body needs to adapt to your fluctuating hormones. This can be achieved through diet, lifestyle, certain supplements and herbs.
Reduce inflammatory foods
Sugar, processed and packaged foods, simple carbohydrates (white bread / pasta), saturated, trans and hydrogenated fats (fried foods, packaged cakes, biscuits).
Eat as close to nature as possible.
More leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower , kale); coloured vegetables and fruit (berries), lean protein and healthy fats (wild caught salmon, grass fed beef, avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds). I personally love the Mediterranean Diet (not really a diet).
Reduce alcohol intake.
Alcohol can affect so many parts of your body, one of which is it impede's progesterone's GABA like affect (1). Reducing alcohol will also help with oestrogen detoxification.
Studies have shown that the serotonin levels of women with PMS fall after ovulation (2). Serotonin can affect your anxiety, mood and happiness. Aim for 10 minutes a day to do some relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises. There are some wonderful herbs that can also help you cope better with everyday stressors. Some of my favourites are Withania, Rehmannia and Licorice. Please always speak to a health care professional before taking herbal supplements or formulas as they can interact with certain medications.
This is one of my favourite minerals. It is very helpful in treating PMS symptoms. It helps boost progesterone, regulates cortisol and decreases inflammation (l1). In different studies magnesium has shown to reduce nervousness, breast tenderness and relieve PMS related mood changes (2).
A wonderful herb for helping PMS symptoms as it helps normalise the secretion of various hormones. Thus helping to improve the progesterone to oestrogen ratio.
Maintain healthy weight through diet and exercise.
Exercise boosts your endorphins (your feel good neurotransmitter). It can also improve sleep. Try for 30 minutes, 5 times times per week. Find something you love - Yoga, Pilates, Cycling, Brisk Walking, Swimming.
These mimic oestrogen and can increase oestrogen levels over time. They can include - pesticides, fly sprays, solvents, fire retardants, mercury, plastic softeners such as bisphenol A (BPA) (1). Be conscious what products you are using around the home (cosmetics, moisturisers, cleaning products). Try to avoid plastic as much as possible. Where possible purchase organic fruit and vegetables. Get a water filter.
I love formulating herbal tonics for PMS as they are individual to each person. Herbs work well with each other and can affect different body systems simultaneously.
Call Julie at Casuarina Holistic Health on 0409 585 435.
1. Biden, L.(2015) Period repair manual, Createspace Independent Publishing (1st ed.).
2. Murray, M. & Pizzorno, J. (1998). Encyclopedia of natural medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub. (3rd ed.).