Many of us busy mums may have had a short reprieve of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) after having our babies but then slowly the pain, irritability, headaches, cravings, acne and breast pain came back to haunt us.
Because PMS is so common it’s considered “normal”, however our bodies are super awesome at sending us signals that something is out of balance or needs attention…PMS is just that.
Different symptoms may mean different causes which is why it can be slightly complex to treat (and so helpful to work with a naturopath so why not book a free discovery call with me today!)…however there are 3 areas that can improve your symptoms in the space of 3 cycles. First up it’s important to chart your cycles and symptoms, then…
- Reduce inflammation
- Support hormones
1. Reduce inflammation
Inflammation can have an effect on the production of progesterone which is in itself anti-inflammatory. With the natural drop of progesterone around your period so goes with it’s anti-inflammatory effects therefore it may worsen pain. GABBA our happy neurotransmitter is also effected, the inflammation downregulates the GABBA receptors which is why you may feel anxious or depressed prior to your period.
3 things you can do right now to reduce inflammation:
- Reduce inflammatory foods such as wheat, sugar and dairy (switch to coconut, oat, rice milk) or reduce and switch to A2 cow’s milk which doesn’t have the A1 casein which can generate inflammatory cytokines related to your immune system.
- Increase your ginger consumption at least 3 days before you period starts…go the fresh ginger tea 3 cups a day. Add to green smoothies is also amazing. Ginger can also soothe any digestive distress at this time.
- Supplement with natural anti-inflammatories such as fish oil capsules 1-2 grams a day for at least 6 months. Magnesium glycinate 400-600 mg daily as it helps in the production of progesterone, enhances GABBA and helps with the stress response.
2. Support hormones
By supporting our estrogen and progesterone but also our Hypothalumus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPA axis) which supports our stress resilience. An excess of estrogen may result in anxiety, irritability, cramps, bloating, skin issues, breast tenderness and relative (to estrogen) progesterone may contribute to fatigue , depression, decreased libdo, some symptoms of excess corticosteriods.
3 things you can do right now to support your hormones
- Reduce stress as this has an effect on your HPA axis and the flow on effect to your sex hormones production. Deep breathing and movement are two great options…see the awesome Yoga for PMS video by Simone Price Yoga below!
- Reduce alcohol as it interferes with progesterone’s calming effects. Alcohol also is inflammatory and may contribute to a histamine overload which can increase pain and allergy-type symptoms.
- Supplement with B6 as this vitamin supports synthesis of progesterone and GABBA, and practitioner-guided herbal medicines such as Vitex agnus-castus which as been shown to modulate estrogen production and ovulation.
Supporting your liver is hugely important to your health and making sure your detoxification pathways are working to metabolize and detoxify your estrogen. When your detoxification is sluggish your estrogen can be recycled which can lead to estrogen dominance
3 things you can do right now to support your detoxification
- Eat more high-fibre foods as they assist in bowel elimination and clearance of estrogens, plus are pre-biotic and feed the good gut bacteria. Soluble fibre foods such as fruits, oats, barley, legumes and insoluble fibre foods such as wheatbran, vegetables, wholegrains are both important
- Eat more brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussell sprouts, kale, bok choy as they contain phytochemicals that can support estrogen metabolism.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol & endocrine disruptors such as plastic water bottles to assist the liver in more efficient detoxification of estrogen and other toxins.
Remember that any of these changes need to be followed for at least 3 cycles or 3 months that’s why it is essential to track your period and symptoms to see the changes. Working with a naturopath like myself means you have support, encouragement, access to high-quality practitioner supplements (that actually work!) and a tailored approach to suits you and your body!
- Free yoga for PMS Try this amazing 20 minute Yoga for PMS from Simone Price Yoga to calm your nervous system and reduce inflammation. This is a fabulous gentle practice to do just before your period and all the way through that part of your cycle. Enjoy and check out Simone Price, she specializes in Yoga for Wellness.
Lara Briden: Period Repair Manual
Leah Hechtman: Clinical naturopathic Medicine
Braun & Cohen: Herbs & Natural Supplements, an evidenced-based guide. Vol 2