Once it was a popular belief that PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a figment of women’s imagination, and is a form of mental illness. Well,… and I can tell you first hand, this is certainly NOT TRUE. The truth is very real and it sucks.
PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome, is no joke and it affects women everywhere, everyday.
PMS can happen to any woman who has menstrual periods. Every woman experiences PMS differently. Thus, the time before menstruation can be a real emotional roller coaster.
I use to have PMS that made me a total mess. I was pretty much in tears over the cramps every month. I had to do something!
I was looking for all natural solutions, since (as you maybe know if you’ve checked our About Us) I try not to use pharmaceutical medicine and prescription drugs.
I have found a lot of fantastic advice that helped me a ton.
Here is what I learned…
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a condition of complex origins – namely neurological, hormonal, and behavioral interactions in the body – that can produce a wide array of physical and emotional symptoms.
PMS can be mild or super intense, depending on the person – but either way nothing is fun about the cramping, bloating, headache, acne, fatigue, pain, weight gain, sleep disturbances, breast tenderness, food cravings, depression, anxiety, irritability and general feeling of being out of control all brought on by that special time of the month.
What causes PMS?
It is not exactly known what causes PMS, but several factors may contribute the condition:
- Cyclic changes in hormones. Signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome change with hormonal fluctuations and disappear with pregnancy and menopause.
- Chemical changes in the brain. Fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that is thought to play a crucial role in mood states, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems. It is also believed that they may be affected by the nutrition (especially salty foods and caffeinated drinks).
- Depression. Some women with severe premenstrual syndrome have a diagnosed depression, though depression alone does not cause all of the symptoms.
As it happens, more than 150 symptoms of PMS have been identified in the scientific and clinical literature. More often than not, women experience a combination of emotional and physical symptoms.
Commons symptoms that are associated with PMS:
- Abdominal bloating
- Acne breakouts
- Sleep disturbance
- Back – or neck ache
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Crying spells
- Difficulty concentrating
- Eating more than usual
- Fatigue or tiredness
- General aches and pains
- Heart racing or pounding
- Hot flashes
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Mood swing
- Muscle aches
- Night sweats
- Numbness and tingling
- Out-of-control feelings
- Sex drive alterations
- Shortness of breath
- Skin disorder flare-ups
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Termulousness / shakiness
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
PMS can literally affect how a woman feels from head to toe.
I found some Great tips for Natural PMS Treatment
from dr. Lisa Watson.
Eliminate coffee or tea containing caffeine.
Caffeine consumption is associated with more and worse PMS symptoms. Caffeine is linked especially to breast tenderness,anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping during PMS. The impact is even worse when combined with sugar (pay attention all you Frappuccino drinkers!). Eliminating caffeine, or limiting it during the premenstrual phase can help your PMS treatment and improve PMS symptoms for a lot of women.
Do not ignore the importance of regular exercise.
Exercise is important for your overall health, but it can also decrease symptoms of PMS. Studies have shown again and again that women who engage in regular exercise have fewer PMS symptoms than women who do not. And the exercise doesn’t need to be intense – it just needs to happen regularly (at least 3 times per week throughout the month).
Exercise is thought to reduce PMS symptoms by reducing estrogen levels, improving glucose tolerance and raising endorphin levels. Aerobic exercise (swimming, cycling, running, etc), yoga or tai chi are all beneficial.
Cut out sugar.
Women who experience PMS have been reported to eat whopping 275% more refined sugar than women who do not get PMS symptoms. Refined sugars deplete our magnesium levels, increase sodium and water retention and create imbalances in our insulin levels. All of these processes have been linked to the development of PMS symptoms.
Eliminating refined sugar and limiting simple carbohydrates in favour of high fiber complex carbohydrates lowers blood levels of estrogen, improves magnesium levels and can significantly improve symptoms of PMS. So cut out the cookies, cakes, bagels and breads in favour of oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, brown rice and other fiber rich foods.
Take a probiotic.
Probiotics are not just for digestive health! Having good bacteria in our intestines has wide ranging benefits for our health. Healthy bacteria can decrease symptoms of PMS by increasing beta-glucuronidase enzyme activity and promoting estrogen excretion.
The best way to establish a healthy bacteria flora in your intestinal tract is to take a probiotic supplement. Try for one with both Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Taken with food, probiotics are extremely safe and have no negative side effects (you can experience bloating if you take too much – 1 to 10 billion is usually a safe amount).
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) is a traditional Chinese herb with thousands of years of use for imbalances in the female reproductive system. It has been used for menopause, painful menstruation, no menstruation and as a uterine tonic. Dong quai has phytoestrogenic properties and is best used for women who experience PMS symptoms in addition to painful menstruation.
Dong quai is usually used from ovulation (day 14) until menstruation begins. If you are also experiencing painful periods, continue it until your period stops.
While best known as a treatment for menopause, chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus) is probably one one of the important herbs in the PMS treatment.
The effects of chaste tree appear to be due to the impact it has on the hypothalamus and pituitary – the starting point for hormone production in the body. As a result, chaste tree is able to normalize the secretion of many hormones, for instance, reducing prolactin levels and normalizing the estrogen to progesterone ratio.
Chaste tree is best taken daily throughout the menstrual cycle. Studies have found it to be useful for almost all symptoms associated with PMS including irritability, mood swings, anger, anxiety, headache, and breast tenderness.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an amazing herb. It has been used in both Western and Eastern herbal medicine for thousands of years for a wide variety of ailments. It also has impressive modern scientific research to back up its historical uses.
Licorice is useful in the PMS treatment because it lowers estrogen levels while simultaneously raising progesterone levels. Licorice also blocks the hormone aldosterone, decreasing water retention.
Licorice is usually taken from ovulation (day 14) until your period starts. It should not be used if you have a history of kidney disease or high blood pressure. You should be under the care of a Naturopathic Doctor while taking licorice.
See a Naturopathic Doctor.
Naturopathic Doctors are experts in correcting the underlying imbalances that lead to PMS symptoms. Your unique set of symptoms will give an experienced ND a lot of information that can be used to individualize a treatment plan just for you. NDs also can order comprehensive hormone panels that will identify imbalances in prolactin, estrogen, progesterone or testosterone that may be contributing to your symptoms. You can find a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in your area by visiting the national association websites – CAND in Canada and AANP in the United States.
More great Natural PMS Treatment that goes a long way
from Dr. Mark Hyman:
Try Alternative Therapies.
Therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy may help. One clinical trial showed that individualized homeopathy is effective in PMS treatment. Five homeopathic medicines were used: Lachesis, Natrum muriaticum, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sepia.
Dealing with stress is also critical. Take a hot bath at night, get a massage, try yoga, learn deep breathing or meditation. These techniques and others can help balance hormones.
A number of supplements have been shown to help ease PMS symptoms by improving metabolic function and hormone metabolism. Here are the superstars:
- Magnesium citrate or glycinate — Take 400 to 600 mg a day.
Magnesium deficiency is a major concern and is seen in a majority of women with PMS. Magnesium deficiency causes fatigue, irritability, mental confusion, menstrual cramps, insomnia, muscle aches and pains and heart beat irregularities. Dietary sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Magnesium supplements should be taken in the evening, away from iron supplements and thyroid medications.
- Calcium citrate — Take 600 mg a day.
There is a direct relationship between calcium and estrogen. Estrogen is involved in the absorption, metabolism and utilization of calcium in our bodies. Clinical trials have found that both mood and physical symptoms of PMS are improved with daily calcium supplementation. Dietary sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables, dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk), tofu, and almonds. Calcium supplements should be taken in the evening, away from iron supplements and thyroid medications.
- Vitamin B6 — Take 50 to 100 mg a day along with 800 mcg of folate and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.
B vitamins are involved in hundreds of different processes in our bodies. The liver uses various B vitamins to detoxify estrogen and allow our bodies to eliminate it. Additionally, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) can ease symptoms of PMS by increasing production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Low levels of these neurotransmitters have been suggested as a cause of many PMS symptoms including low energy, irritability and mood swings. As if that wasn’t enough, B6 is also involved in transfer of magnesium into cells – without B6 magnesium wouldn’t be able to enter cells. This is another reason why B vitamins, and especially B6 are so important in the PMS treatment.
- Evening primrose oil — Take two 500mg capsules twice a day.
- Omega 3 fats — Take 1,000 mg once or twice a day.
- Taurine — Take 500 mg a day to help liver detoxification.
- A good daily multivitamin (all the nutrients work together).
- Herbs and phytonutrients can also be very helpful in the PMS treatment. Here are the best studied and most effective:
- Chasteberry fruit extract (Vitex Agnus-astus) can help balance the hormones released by the pituitary gland that control your overall hormone function. Studies of over 5,000 women have found it effective. Take 100 mg twice a day of a 10:1 extract.
- Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) and cramp bark (Viburum opulus) can help regulate cycles and relieve menstrual cramps.
- Dandelion root can help with liver detoxification and works as a diuretic.
- Isoflavones from soy, red clover, or kudzu root improve estrogen detoxification by boosting the activity of specific detox enzymes. They can be taken as supplements or consumed in the diet.
- Flax seeds contain lignans that help balance hormone metabolism and block the negative effects of excess estrogens.
- Chinese herbal formulas may also help. One of the most effective is Xiao Yao San, or Rambling Powder. It contains: Bupleurum Root (Bupleurum chinense), Chinese Peony Root (Paeonia lactiflora), Dong Quai Root (Angelica sinensis), Bai-Zhu Atractylodes Root (Atractylodes macrocephala), Poria Sclerotium (Poria cocos), Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber officinale), Chinese Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis),and Chinese Mint Leaf (Mentha haplocalyx)
- Replacing healthy bacteria in the gut also helps normalize estrogen and hormone metabolism. Take 5 to 10 billion live organisms in a daily probiotic supplement.
- Natural bioidentical progesterone. For intractable cases, I will occasionally use topical, natural bioidentical progesterone in the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. The usual dose is 1/2 tsp (20 to 40 mg) applied at night to thin skin areas for the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle.
It is also important to:
- Abstain from the consumption of an alcohol.
- Give yourself at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Eat a healthy complex carbohydrates and fiber rich food. Stop eating refined flour. Eat organic food, especially animal products, to avoid environmental estrogens from pesticides.
- Balance your blood sugar by eating protein, such as a protein shake, eggs, and nut butters, for breakfast.
- Eat evenly throughout the day and don’t skip meals.
- Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime.
- Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day are especially helpful in correcting constipation and balancing hormones. Put them in a shake or sprinkle them on salads or food.
- Increase omega-3 fats by eating more wild fish like sardines, herring, and wild salmon, as well as omega-3 eggs and walnuts.
- Tested anticonvulsant medicine is also ginger. Ginger stimulates circulation, soothes and relaxes spasm, so it’s very suitable for the relief of menstrual pain. You can prepare a ginger tea. Grate for a one teaspoon fresh ginger root and soak it in a cup of boiling water.
I would also recommend you to take a look in PMS Premenstrual Syndrome Self Help Book by Susan M. Lark:
This is a woman’s guide to feeling good all month, bringing welcome relief through natural methods. The first completely practical all-natural master plan for relieving over 150 symptomps of PMS. The book discusses symptoms and causes of fatigue, anxiety, and pain; provides nutritional guidelines to help reduce premenstrual symptomes; and is fully illustratrd throughout with a comprehensive workbook.
CBD oil as PMS treatment? The one that made the most for me.
For my unbearable cramps, headaches, muscle aches, anxiety, impatience, irritability and sleep disturbances I found that CBD oil made the biggest difference. Actually it’s AMAZING and I’m really grateful that I am able to help myself with an all natural substance that is really part of my body’s Endocannabinoid system. Now I can reduce pain quickly and my PMS days are very, very bearable. Honestly, not often, but there are months that I don’t even feel it.
Why CBD (oil)?
CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabinoids from cannabis plant as an all natural nutritional supplement, feeds our body’s endocannabinoid system and helps it maintain and balance a mind blowing list of Functions (Wikipedia):
- Role in hippocampal neurogenesis
- Induction of synaptic depression
- Energy balance & metabolism
- Stress response
- Exploration, social behavior, and anxiety
- Immune function
- Multiple sclerosis
- Female reproduction
- Autonomic nervous system
I have found that when CBD oil is regularly taken it acts as a healing factor on the whole central physiological system.
CBD is a little miracle in my natural PMS treatment. It’s totally safe and totally natural.
What a find… I tell you. CBD oil actually relieves my PMS.
Try to include these natural tips in your PMS treatment, see the difference and get relief from the excruciating pain and agony of PMS. But do keep in mind that is not necessary that all of the above work for any woman. Every woman needs to find its own way of PMS treatment. Its own way to relieve PMS.
What is your experience with PMS treatment?