PMS: Common But NOT Normal
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has been deemed 'normal' by society as the dysfunctions associated with it are so common among menstruating females. However, PMS being physiologically normal for a healthy female is not the case. Optimal hormonal health will not present with symptoms of PMS. So how do you differentiate what is ‘normal’ from what is ‘common’?
Common symptoms of PMS
What’s normal and what’s not? Do you experience the following symptoms just before or during your menses? While they may be common, they’re definitely not normal.
- Irritability, anxiety, depression, anger
- Mood swings, tearfulness or tension
- Restlessness, confusion or lack of concentration
- Loneliness or decreased self-esteem
- Bloating or fluid retention
- Food cravings and overeating
- Headaches, nausea, insomnia, fatigue, or dizziness
- Breast discomfort or pelvic discomfort
- Back pain, abdominal pain, muscle/joint pain
- Change in bowel habits
Pathophysiology of PMS
The classification of PMS is the somatic and psychological symptoms during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Cyclically, this is seen from 7-14 days prior to menstruation (luteal phase) and typically disappear at the commencement of menstruation or after the full flow of menses.
There are numerous theories regarding the pathophysiology of PMS; however, no definitive aetiologies have been established as a dominant cause. The aetiology of PMS is the consequence of complex and poorly understood interactions between ovarian hormones, endogenous opioid peptides, neurotransmitters and prostaglandins and the circadian, peripheral, autonomic and endocrine systems. Individual biological, genetic, psychological and sociocultural factors may also play a role in the severity of symptoms.
How to overcome PMS
Encourage the healthy function of our endocrine system via the HPA axis. This major control centre of the brain can be optimized through supplementation of Happy Hormones.
Improve liver and gastrointestinal health so the body can efficiently metabolize and excrete excess hormones. That way, excess hormones are not recirculated in the body. This also means saying adios to refined sugar. Sugar disrupts the microbiome within the gastrointestinal tract and creates an added burden on the liver. Minimizing sugar in your diet decreases toxic load and allows the gut to heal. For further support in excess hormone excretion, look no further than our Happy Greens
Nourish your body with a healthy and nutritious plant-based diet to create an internal environment that supports hormonal balance. Our 8-Week Program is the perfect way to jumpstart proper nutrition. Food as medicine is one of the most valuable tools we can use.
- Consider supplementing with magnesium. Magnesium may help with relieving PMS via its affinity to support a healthy GABA response and normalize the action of progesterone on the central nervous system.
Magnesium is important for healthy regulation of the HPA-axis, has calming effects on the nervous system and can relieve menstrual pain with its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin B6. B6 assists with oestrogen metabolism and helps to reduce tissue hypersensitivity to oestrogen. Excess oestrogen and histamine and two common culprits to PMS symptoms, which is why vitamin B6’s actions on clearing them out of the body so effectively makes it a perfect supplement to combat PMS.
Avoid or lessen stress as it contributes to endocrine disturbances. Meditation is a beautiful technique to implement every day if you need to de-stress. Also, a support network consisting of friends, family, partners or groups will come in handy during times of stress.
- Exercise daily. Even if it’s just a nice walk with a friend, keeping active and following an exercise regime have been shown to decrease stress levels, relieve menstrual cramps and headaches, reduce PMS, and improve overall wellness.
Listen, nurture and love - you're worth it and PMS isn't.
Above all, don't forget to give yourself some self-love! Listen to your body. Understand that when you present with symptoms, it’s your body telling you that something isn’t quite right whether it be physical, emotional or psychological.