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Natural Remedies for PMS

Hormones, Women's Health

Natural Remedies for PMS

Almost every woman of reproductive age experiences some physical and/or emotional discomfort the week before her menses. When these symptoms are severe enough that they begin to effect activities of daily living, work performance and/or quality of life, they become a “syndrome” or a “disorder.” Amazingly, 80-90% of women experience at least mild symptoms, while over 20% have symptoms serious enough that they warrant treatment.

The Most Common Cause Of PMS Symptoms Is

A High Estrogen Level

PMS symptoms include depression, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, general feelings of being unwell, body aches, fatigue, breast tenderness, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, cravings/increased appetite. The most common cause of PMS symptoms is a high estrogen level, especially in comparison to progesterone.
When estrogen is not properly metabolized and cleared through the liver and gut (aka poop), it tends to build up in the body and cause these icky symptoms. Other causes can be high inflammation (menstruation causes inflammation throughout the body) or mood disorders (neurotransmitter imbalances) such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse, which amplifies these symptoms.
While these symptoms seem to be super common, they are not normal! Imagine a period where you didn’t even know it was coming (but you expect the day based on how regular your cycle is), you almost feel like you’re not even menstruating at all except the blood, but it passes without any thought of it’s pain or annoyance. IMAGINE! This is how your period is SUPPOSED to be!

So What The Heck Can You Do About It!?

Conventional therapies generally use medications to interfere with physiology at either a hormonal, neuronal or inflammatory level. The pharmaceuticals most often used are antidepressants, birth control/hormone pills or NSAIDS, like ibuprofen. Sometimes these medications work, however oftentimes they can make symptoms worse and cause worse side effects. Alternatively, investigating the root cause of your specific symptoms and re-balancing your hormones, inflammation or other causative factors allows you to clear symptoms now AND in the future. With naturopathic medical treatments you will be able to use a mixture of dietary and lifestyle changes, mindfulness and herbal supplementation to offer safe, effective and non-invasive healing.

PMS Symptoms Are Super Common But NOT NORMAL!

To begin with, specific dietary recommendations to decrease PMS symptoms include focusing on eating a high fiber diet to help bind up excess estrogen in the gut (where some estrogen gets absorbed, causing symptoms) and aid the body to excrete via stool. If you’re having breast tenderness or bloating, reduce caffeine and red meat to decrease inflammation.
Additionally, to support detoxification of hormones via the liver (where most of your hormones get metabolized), increase healthy fats and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.  Lastly, and very importantly, stay away from processed foods, simple carbohydrates and sugary foods, which all contribute to increased inflammation, insulin and thus increased PMS symptoms. Moreover, it’s important to support detoxification pathways, both through the liver and gut and to help the body decrease inflammation and rebalance hormone levels, so that you can have a pain-free period!
Secondly, regular exercise has shown improvement in all PMS parameters including concentration, pain, mood, guilt and sadness. Exercise may reduce PMS symptoms by decreasing estrogen levels, improving blood sugar, decreasing adrenaline and increasing endorphins (the feel good hormones). Simply adding at least 30 min every other day of some sort of body movement to bring on a sweat can have a huge impact on your PMS symptoms and supports detoxification.
Implementing mind-body techniques including meditation, breathing, yoga, biofeedback, etc. Using these can help reframe your mindset and calm your nervous system surrounding stress, which contributes to PMS. Evidence is increasing surrounding the psychological support that these therapies provide for improving mood, quality of life and physical PMS symptoms. Many patients of RHMC also report that meditation, journaling and breathing techniques all help reduce stress, anxiety and improve pain and mood symptoms.

Next up are supplements, which have a very beneficial place in reversing and healing from PMS. The following are a few that have shown the most benefit.

1. B VITAMINS, especially B6, are very supportive for premenstrual fatigue, depression and irritability. B vitamins are commonly deficient in all humans, but especially so in women who take oral contraceptive pills. B vitamins are also needed for all metabolic processes in the body and highly effect brain neurotransmitters. For this reason supplementation is the best way to obtain the potency most beneficial for deficiency.
2. MAGNESIUM is the second important, as it is depleted by changes in female sex hormones, especially during the second half of the cycle. Magnesium also relaxes smooth muscle tissue, calms the nervous system and reduces fluid retention that causes bloating, breast tenderness and edema. We recommend taking it before bed to promote a relaxed, painless sleep.
3. OMEGA 3 Fish Oil are anti-inflammatory to decrease swelling, bloating and weight gain. Omega 3’s are also very supportive to decrease emotional ups and downs, pain and the use of over the counter pain relievers. Omega 3 fish oils are especially helpful to use in the first half of the cycle because they naturally promote the building of the uterine lining in women.
4. VITAMIN D has been researched in decreasing premenstrual migraines and other PMS symptoms. This is because it plays an important role in the synthesis of hormones, immune function, regulating minerals in the body and in supporting brain chemical function.
5. CHASTE TREE is a commonly used hormone-stabilizing herb. It balances LH and progesterone and offsets the ratio of estrogen to progesterone, which as we know is the major cause of PMS. Chaste tree is also beneficial because it affects opioid receptors in the brain to decrease pain, cramping and mood instability.
6. BLACK COHOSH is another herb that improves emotional symptoms surrounding PMS especially tension, anxiety and depression. It has also been found to decrease fatigue, insomnia, heaviness, discomfort, etc, which is why it’s also useful in menopause.
Although these guidelines are very basic and generally regarded as safe, they may not be the best for you. In order to determine exactly what hormone balancing protocol you need and which supplements will be best for your condition, it is important to test your hormone levels and talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplements or protocols.
If you have other symptoms we didn’t address here, you may qualify to work with one of our doctors for a life changing hormone support protocol. Have PCOS, endometriosis, menopause or maybe no period at all? We can help you regain your health so you can feel your best daily!

Heard of the seed cycling protocol? Ask your Naturopathic Medical Doctor about how this simple seed protocol could help balance your hormones, regulate your menses and improve your PMS symptoms!

The above information is not intended to diagnose or treat and disease and is not a substitute for appropriate medical care.


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