A Natural Approach To Health
Living With PMS
I had a question the other day about PMS, or premenstrual syndrome.
PMS is a medical condition with symptoms affecting many women of childbearing age.
PMS can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms just before your menstrual period.
The exact cause of PMS isn’t known, but it seems to be related to the changing levels of hormones preparing for menstruation.
There are many PMS symptoms.
The number and severity of symptoms vary from woman to woman.
And, the severity of the symptoms can vary from month to month.
Common PMS symptoms include bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain, aggression, trouble concentrating, headaches/backaches, food cravings/overeating, fatigue, tearfulness, irritability, anxiety, mood swings and/or depression.
Up to 85% of menstruating women experience some of these symptoms related to their period, but only 2%-10% experience severe symptoms.
You’re considered to have PMS if:
>Your symptoms occur during the last 2 weeks of your menstrual cycle (the 2 weeks before your period).
>Your symptoms impair your quality of life.
>Your doctor has excluded other conditions causing similar symptoms, like thyroid disease, depression, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
PMS itself can’t be prevented, but through education and treatment of symptoms most women can find relief.
To deal with PMS it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 1 quart of purified water daily, starting a week before your menstrual period and ending 1 week after.
*Angelica root, cramp bark, and red raspberry have antispasmodic properties and may alleviate cramps.
*Blessed thistle, dong quai, false unicorn root, fennel seed, sarsaparilla root, and squawvine are hormone-balancing herbs effective in the treatment of PMS.
*Black haw and rosemary are good for cramps and help calm your nervous system.
*Milk thistle cleanses your liver and helps improve liver function, thus enhancing your liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. For best results, this herb should be taken on a daily basis for a period of 3 months.
*Peppermint, strawberry leaf, and valerian root help stabilize mood swings.
*Wild yam extract contains natural progesterone and has proved effective in alleviating symptoms including cramps, headache, mood swings, depression, irritability, and insomnia.
*Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, 100% whole-grain cereals and breads, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds, and broiled chicken, turkey, and fish. Have high-protein snacks between meals.
*Include in your diet foods high in complex carbohydrates and rich in fiber. These can help your body get rid of excess estrogen if high estrogen levels are a problem.
*Don’t consume salt, red meats, processed foods, or junk or fast foods. At the very least, omit these foods from your diet for at least 1 week before the expected onset of symptoms. Reducing sodium (mainly salt and foods containing it) is especially important for preventing bloating and water retention.
*Eat fewer dairy products. Dairy products block the absorption of magnesium and increase its urinary excretion. Refined sugars also increase magnesium excretion. Be sure to get calcium and vitamin D from other foods or supplements.
*Avoid caffeine and foods and beverages like coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate. Caffeine is linked to breast tenderness, and is a central nervous system stimulant that can make you anxious and jittery. It is also a diuretic and can deplete many important nutrients.
*Eat foods high in phytoestrogens like organic soy products, flaxseeds, nuts, 100% whole grains, apples, fennel, celery, parsley, and alfalfa.
*Don’t consume alcohol or sugar in any form, especially during the week before symptoms are expected. These foods cause valuable electrolytes, particularly magnesium, to be lost through your urine.
*Fast on fresh juices and spirulina for several days before the anticipated onset of menstruation to help minimize symptoms.
*Get regular exercise. Walking, even if only 1/2 to 1 mile per day, can be very helpful.
*Eliminate toxic environmental exposures.
*Consider increasing Cal/Mag, VitalMag and GLA amounts the week before and during period to relieve cramps.
*Try taking Cal/Mag chewables and/or a glass of Performance to alleviate cramping.
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