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What is the point of PMS?

Many women experience PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) in their lives. Their symptoms vary and for some, can be severe.

What is PMS and how does it affect women?

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome affects a large number of and if you are reading this, the chances are it’s because you already know about how it feels for you. Symptoms can be very different and if you asked 100 women with PMS you would find a wide range of symptoms including:

  • bloating

  • water retention

  • tiredness

  • breast tenderness

  • skin breakouts

  • food cravings – such as chocolate and/or bread and other carbohydrates.

  • mood swings

  • anxiousness… as well as being tearful, forgetful, and fuzzy headed.

Some women may feel they could tick almost every box on the symptom list. For others it may just be one or two that they recognise, and with varying severity.

For women, it is natural to experience changes in our bodies and how we feel prior to our periods. Within a monthly hormonal cycle the levels of our key hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, naturally fluctuate and dip before our period.

Therefore, if there are imbalances in these hormones, this can lead to more severe PMS symptoms in the second half of our cycle, in-between ovulation and when our period starts. These vary between each woman, depending upon the extent and nature of the hormonal imbalance, and the overall health of the woman experiencing it.

What is the Point of PMS?

Maybe it would be more helpful to view the hormonal shifts we experience before our period as a light on areas of our lives that need attention. It can prompt us to address a range of issues that affect our health and happiness.

PMS is a signal from your body to pay attention. How in balance are we? Are we looking after ourselves: how is our general health, our work, our relationships, fun, sleep, diet, etc.? There are many factors at play when we look at imbalance in our physical and emotional life, with there being an element of chicken and egg when looking at what comes first. Therefore, it’s important to find an approach that incorporates diet, lifestyle, supplements and perhaps remedies and herbs as support.

Using Homeopathy for Support

As a homeopath, I consider not only how a woman experiences her PMS, but also her general health and medical history, as all this information fits together as a jigsaw to help find a remedy to best support each woman. Each remedy covers not only the physical aspects of our health, but also how we feel. I then aim to choose remedies that are a good match for a woman in general, and not just for her PMS.

For example, if a woman feels incredibly tearful and reactive, I may consider a remedy like Ignatia. Whereas if she is feeling tearful but more withdrawn, I may use Nat-Mur. If a woman’s fuse is a little ‘shorter’ than usual and she feels overwhelmed and angry, with no support from family, I may consider Sepia. However, I may give Nux-Vom if that anger is more universally expressed with the world at large.

Signs to Help You Restore Balance

The pre-period shift in hormones may be pointing out an imbalance in how we are living and how we really are. By being curious about those signals you can take advantage of them as insight into changes in whatever area is being highlighted for you. Perhaps see it as your body communicating with you every month. Over time you will start to see a pattern in how your body responds to the fluctuation in hormone levels and will be able to use this insight and understanding to help bring balance to your body and hormonal system.

One option to balance your hormones, is to try to avoid oestrogen-stimulating foods and increasing your intake of foods that release excess oestrogen:

  • Eat 2-3 portions of either broccoli, spring greens, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, celery, beetroot, kale, cabbage, radish (all these vegetables help to reduce oestrogen)

  • Eat1 serving of citrus fruit as they contain d-limonene which help the body to detoxify oestrogens

  • Eat 2 servings of insoluble fibre: wholemeal bread, brown rice, whole-grain cereal and wheat bran, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, courgettes, celery and tomatoes. Insoluble fibres bind to the oestrogens in the digestive tract and help carry them out of the body.

  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or sesame seeds to smoothies, salads or sprinkle over steamed vegetables. The friendly bacteria in our intestines convert these foods into substances with weak oestrogen-like activity.

  • Avoid any saturated fats which contain high oestrogen levels ie: bacon, sausages, ham, chips, pasties, crisps, butter, biscuits and pastries

  • Avoid any processed foods containing white sugar, flour and rice as they stimulate the release of insulin and this negatively impacts hormone balance.

  • Avoid caffeine as 2 cups a day can increases oestrogen levels

  • Avoid soya products as they compound an underlying hormone imbalance

If you would like some support in understanding your PMS and finding a way to improve your symptoms, do get in touch.

With gratitude

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