PMS Treatment Options
PMS Treatment Options
Many women are familiar with the recurrent symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): mood swings, fatigue, tension, irritability, depression, backache, abdominal cramping and bloating, etc. These symptoms generally occur 1 to 14 days before your period and it is estimated that over 40% of menstruating women experience symptoms of PMS. For most of these women, the symptoms are mild to moderate in severity, but for a small portion the symptoms can be severe, interfering with quality of life in a significant way.
Hormonal imbalance appears to be largely responsible for the development of PMS. This imbalance is closely associated with the female menstrual cycle and to help you better understand how this happens I’ve included a quick overview of the menstrual cycle and the key hormones involved below.
The female reproductive cycle involves an interplay of hormones that normally results in cyclical changes in the ovaries and uterus. Each cycle takes approximately 28 days to complete and involves the development and release of an egg from the ovaries and the preparation of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg. If fertilization doesn’t occur the endometrial (uterine) lining is lost through menstruation (day 1). Estrogen and progesterone are two of the key hormones that regulate this cycle.
Estrogen levels increase during the first part of the cycle; whereas, progesterone levels increase while estrogen levels slowly decrease during the last part of the cycle. It is the imbalance of these two hormones during this last phase, specifically higher estrogen relative to progesterone, that can lead to the symptoms of PMS. This high estrogen, low progesterone is often referred to as estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is not only associated with PMS, but also many other conditions that effect women, such as fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, dysmenorrhea (painful menses), hypothyroidism, depression (lowers serotonin and vitamin B6) and increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
High estrogen levels may be caused by many factors, but diet, weight, stress and exposure to xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen in our bodies) appear to be the primary influences. It is also important to address liver function, as the liver is largely responsible for breaking down and removing excess estrogen.
So what can you do to maintain a healthy weight, avoid environmental estrogens and support your liver? Read on for some natural PMS treatment options.
Focus on a whole foods diet
Fill up on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in nutrients that are often deficient in women experiencing PMS.
Increase dietary fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber binds and excretes excess estrogen out of the body.
Avoid high amounts of saturated fat and sugar.
Decrease exposure to xenoestrogens
Avoid consuming food/drinks in plastic containers
Never heat food in plastic containers
Stop drinking out of plastic water bottles. Buy a stainless steel or glass bottle.
Support your menstrual cycle with seed cycling
Flax and sesame seeds are full of lignans which block excess estrogens.
Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, a trace mineral that is essential for the liver detoxification
Pumpkin seeds high in zinc and will support progesterone release
Together these seeds will balance your cycle when taken in the appropriate phases of your cycle
Monthly Seed Rotation Plan:
Day 1-14: 1 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily
Day 15-menses: 1 Tbsp freshly ground sunflower and sesame seeds daily
If you prefer individual guidance with the addition of supplements and bioidentical hormones visit Dr. Kristy at PMS Treatment San Francisco
Dr. Kristy, Naturopathic Doctor San Francisco