IS YOUR STRUGGLE WITH PMS RUINING YOUR LIFE?

IS YOUR STRUGGLE WITH PMS RUINING YOUR LIFE?

 

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

 

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common disorder in women of reproductive age that is characterized by the cyclic recurrence of physical, affective and cognitive (or performance) symptoms.

 

The symptoms typically occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle, resolve after the period begins and are often absent during the early phase of the menstrual cycle. As many as 85% of menstruating women experience one or more symptoms of PMS. Approximately 5% to 10% of women have symptoms severe enough to be debilitating.

 

PMS affects women of all cultures and socioeconomic levels but types of symptoms and levels of discomfort vary from woman to woman and may have cultural influences. More than three hundred symptoms have been associated with PMS.

 

Among the most prominent and consistently described symptoms are depression, anxiety, irritability, craving for sweet or salty foods, headaches, weight gain, fluid retention, breast pain and swelling, abdominal bloating and acne flare-ups on the face and shoulders.

 

Some of the other commonly associated symptoms include:

 

  • Abdominal bloating and cramping
  • Acne, hives
  • Aggression, rage
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Anxiety, irritability, suicidal thoughts
  • Asthma
  • Back pain
  • Breast swelling and pain
  • Bruising
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion
  • Depression, withdrawal from others, emotional lability
  • Dizziness and Fainting
  • Exacerbation of pre-existing conditions (e.g., lupus, arthritis, ulcers, herpes)
  • Fatigue, lethargy
  • Fluid retention
  • Food binges, salt cravings, sweet cravings
  • Headache, migraine
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Joint swelling and pain
  • Nausea
  • Sex drive changes
  • Sinus problems
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary difficulties

 

Causes of PMS

The exact cause of PMS is not fully understood and may be related to a number of factors. The current theories on the underlying causes focus mostly on levels of sex hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone) and neurotransmitters (i.e., brain chemicals that control mood), dietary influences and emotional factors.

 

Dietary Factors Influencing PMS

  • Diets high in animal fats have been shown to increase prostaglandin (PGE2) production and aggravate PMS symptoms.
  • Increased alcohol consumption during the premenstrual phase interferes with the liver’s ability to detoxify excess circulating hormones.
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin E and essential fatty acids contribute to PMS.
  • Increased caffeine consumption causes an imbalance of cortisol and blood sugar and further inhibits the liver's ability to balance serotonin, estrogen and progesterone, leading to breast tenderness and swelling.

 

Many factors can contribute to or trigger PMS by causing hormonal changes in the body, including:

 

  • High consumption of dairy products
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine (soft drinks, coffee, chocolate)
  • Excessive consumption of high glycemic foods
  • A relatively high blood level of estrogen
  • A relatively low blood level of progesterone
  • Diet that leads to increased levels of the hormone prostaglandin F2
  • Excess body weight
  • Low levels of vitamins C and E
  • Magnesium and/or Selenium deficiency
  • Lack of exercise

 

PMS has been divided into four categories according to specific sets of symptoms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PMS-A ANXIETY (affects 65% to 75% of PMS sufferers)

PMS-A ANXIETY (affects 65% to 75% of PMS sufferers)

Symptoms

Imbalances

  • Anxiety
  • Tension, feeling on edge
  • Irritability, anger
  • Finding fault with one’s partner
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Low self esteem
  • Sensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Too much estrogen relative to progesterone in the latter half of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase)
  • Low serotonin
  • Drop in TSH and cortisol (thyroid and adrenal function) during luteal phase
  • High epinephrine/cortisol ratio
  • Increased testosterone

 

PMS-C CRAVINGS (affects 33% of PMS sufferers)

PMS-C CRAVINGS (affects 33% of PMS sufferers)

Symptoms

Imbalances

  • Cravings (sweets, chocolate, carbohydrates)
  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting spells, dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Drop in cortisol causes sugar cravings
  • Imbalance in body’s regulation of insulin and cortisol
  • Low serotonin may cause CHO cravings--CHO ingestion can temporarily raise serotonin levels
  • Deficiency in PGEI (Prostaglandin E1), a beneficial prostaglandin can cause low blood sugar with sweet and food cravings

 

PMS-D DEPRESSION (affects 25% to 35% of PMS sufferers)

PMS-D DEPRESSION (affects 25% to 35% of PMS sufferers

Symptoms

Imbalances

  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy, sluggishness, easily tired
  • Withdrawal, disinterest in usual activities
  • Insomnia
  • Drop in thyroid hormones during the luteal phase may trigger symptoms
  • Low serotonin levels may cause low melatonin

 

PMS-H HYPERHYDRATION/WATER RETENTION (affects over 50% of PMS sufferers)

PMS-H HYPERHYDRATION/WATER RETENTION (affects over 50% of PMS sufferers)

Symptoms

  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Weight gain of over 3 lbs. (1.5 kg)
  • Swelling of the face, hands, fingers, and ankles

 

Imbalances

  • Increased estrogen relative to progesterone (estrogen causes salt and water retention)
  • Increased aldosterone and adrenal elevation during stress, which causes water retention
  • Excess sugar intake causes insulin levels to rise quickly, triggering sodium and water retention
  • Elevated prolactin, which may be higher when the thyroid is underactive, when dopamine levels are lower, or there is excess estrogen

 

 

Top 5 Strategies for PMS

 

 

  1. Complete Hormone testing- Available through Dr Cobi @ Essential Health Natural Wellness Clinic- Contact Us for more information. Hormone testing will help to determine which hormone(s) are causing the issues.
  2. Liver detoxification
  3. Optimize nutrition through a whole food diet
  4. Eliminate sugar and caffeine
  5. Supplement with 5-HTP (100mg 1-3 times per day- do not combine with pharmaceutical anti-depressants), Evening Primrose Oil (3000mg per day for 4 weeks then 1000mg per day), Vitamin E (400-800IU per day), Vitamin B6 (50-100mg per day), Magnesium (150mg per day), Vitex (225mg per day) and DIM (125mg per day).