While the term “the curse” is an outdated euphemism for menstruation, for many women the symptoms before and during their period are highly problematic. Symptoms include breast pain, bloating, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, and depression. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? Premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as PMS, is the presence of at least one physical and one behavioral symptom in the second half of the cycle after ovulation. Prementrual Dysmorphic Disorder is a more severe form of PMS in which women experience 5 or more physical and behavioral symptoms. While we do not know the exact cause for PMS and PMDD we know what it isn’t. These disorders are not “hormone imbalances,” though many refer to them that way. In fact those that experience PMS/PMDD have the same hormone levels as those who have none of these troublesome symptoms. The good news is that there are effective treatments available.
For women with PMS who would like to try lifestyle changes or natural remedies first there are a number of options.
Studies suggest that regular exercise can help decrease PMS symptoms. As there is a long list of health benefits to getting your body moving, this is one lifestyle change that any woman should get on board with.
For many women gastrointestinal complaints such as bloating predominate their PMS symptoms. Everyday we are learning more and more about the importance of gut health to the proper functioning of the rest of our body. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens, whole grains, complex carbohydrates and fermented foods can help keep your body happy. Taking a daily probiotic like Good Girl Probiotics
is a great way to kick start these changes. Avoiding excess salt, alcohol and caffeine may also help limit PMS symptoms. For women who experience nausea or stomach upset before or during their period ginger can help with these symptoms. Many women drink ginger tea for this purpose. If ginger isn’t your favorite flavor you can also find it in Bye Bye Bloat
As we all know the average person needs a full 8 hours of sleep. While sleeping our body is undergoing intense repair. Lack of sleep has been linked to a myriad of health problems, including heart disease and depression. For women who experience fatigue, depression, mood swings or irritability before and during their period, getting enough sleep is crucial to improving these symptoms. Supplements like melatonin and valerian root, both of which are found in Lights Out
, have been shown to help women to fall asleep faster. With good sleep hygiene, including disconnecting from devices for the hour before bed and having a regular routine to wind down from the day, even the worst sleepers get their full nights rest. For women who suffer with PMS, Lights Out has the added benefit of magnesium which studies suggest can help decrease PMS symptoms.
In one study women who engaged in daily meditation for 15-20 minutes over the course of 3 months showed a significant reduction in their PMS symptoms. Sitting silently in a chair and going from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes and relaxing your muscles, followed by either a mantra meditation (a meditation in which you repeat a word or a phrase over and over) or a meditation that focuses on the breath should elicit the relaxation response thought to be key in improving symptoms.
Natural remedies and supplements
There are many studies looking at the effectiveness of different vitamins and supplements for the treatment of PMS symptoms, with some showing more potential than others. Magnesium and calcium supplementation are recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for the reduction of PMS symptoms. There is evidence that chasteberry, a plant with small purple flowers, may alleviate some PMS symptoms. Women on birth control pills should be aware that chasteberry may reduce the effectiveness of their contraception. Small studies have also found that vitamin B6 and ginkgo leaf may also help with PMS. All three of these ingredients are found in #Mood Pills
. #Mood Pills also have St. John’s wort which has been shown to be helpful for mild depression.
For women with PMS that affects their ability to work or engage in their normal actives, or if there is any concern for Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder, they should see an Ob/Gyn as lifestyle modifications and natural remedies may not be enough to treat their symptoms. Fortunately, there are effective, non-hormonal and hormonal treatments for PMS/PMDD that your Ob/Gyn can talk to you about.
Want to tackle your PMS head-on? Try The Balanced Cycle Kit!
DR. CHRISTINE STERLING
Dr. Christine Sterling, M.D is an award-winning Obstetrician and Gynecologist and mother who believes women deserve better. Dr. Sterling obtained her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Southern California, graduating summa cum laude. She then continued at USC for her medical degree where she fell in love with women’s health. Today she combines her passion for taking care of women with her drive to understand the mysteries of the brain and the mind-body connection. Dr. Sterling has been meditating since childhood and over the last decade has studied Buddhist, Transcendental and Mindfulness techniques. She is an expert in the cutting-edge science of the brain and well as the ancient Eastern philosophies of the mind. Her background in neuroscience and meditation plays a large role in her approach to women’s health.
@drchristinesterling / TheSterlingLife.com