Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PMS - Pre-Menstrual Disorder

PMS is pre-menstrual syndrome. The cause is truly unknown to the medical profession, but it is theorized to be brought on by the hormonal imbalance during this time period and the inability of the body to cope with the shifting levels. It occurs beginning 7 – 14 days before the onset of menstruation and can vary in degree from very mild to severe and incapacitating.

The symptoms might include, but are not limited to:

Back pain
Bloated abdomen
Changes in appetite, including cravings for certain foods
Crying spells
Fast heartbeat
Feeling irritable, tense or anxious
Feeling tired
Hot flashes
Joint pain
Mood swings
Not feeling as interested in sex
Tender and swollen breast
Trouble concentrating
Trouble sleeping
Swollen hands or feet
Weight gain
Wanting to be alone

Some suggestions for managing symptoms:


Maintain a Healthy, well balanced diet
Avoid sugar consumption, try to avoid giving into cravings!
Eat small, frequent meals (need to stabilize blood sugar)
Avoid alcohol (Drinking it before your period can make you feel more depressed)
Cut down caffeinated beverages (caffeine increases depression, irritability and
Crunch on carbs
Cut the fat
Cut the salt (to reduce bloating and fluid retention.)

From the Kitchen:

Oatmeal - It breaks down slowly and gradually releases sugar into the bloodstream. This slow, steady release combats the sugar craving that comes with PMS. Rye bread, pasta, basmati rice, and fruit produce the same effect.
Pasta - This is enriched with magnesium, which is important for normal hormonal function. A lack of magnesium may be the cause of muscle cramps. Other magnesium-rich foods include green vegetables, breakfast cereals (skip those sugary ones), and potatoes
Sunflower seeds - They're rich in omega-6 fatty acid, which may be missing in women who suffer with PMS. Pumpkin and sesame seeds are also rich in it.
Kitchen towel - Soak it in water, wring it out, then warm it up in the microwave for a minute. Moist heat is soothing, so apply this to your belly when you're having abdominal or ovarian cramps. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Avocados - These contain natural serotonin, which may supplement the mood-lifting brain chemical naturally produced by the body. Dates, plums, eggplants, papayas, plantains, and pineapple are also sources of serotonin.
Bananas - Rich in potassium, they can relieve the bloating and swelling of water retention that comes with PMS. Other foods such as figs, black currants, potatoes, broccoli, onions, and tomatoes are potassium-rich, too.
Cherries - An Ayurvedic remedy to relieve PMS symptoms, including bloating and mood swings, is to eat 10 fresh cherries on an empty stomach each day for one week before the start of the menstrual period.
Chicken - It's rich in Vitamin B6, which may be depleted in women who suffer from PMS. Vitamin B6 may help relieve depression by raising levels of serotonin, a mood-enhancer, in the brain. Other B6-rich foods include fish, milk, brown rice, whole grains, soybeans, beans, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables.
Turkey - It supplies tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into serotonin, a mood-enhancer. Cottage cheese is another source of tryptophan.
Black pepper - Add a pinch to 1-tablespoon aloe vera gel, and take three times a day with meals to relieve symptoms such as backache and abdominal pain. Aloe vera gel taken with a pinch of cumin works well, too.
Cinnamon - Good sleep habits are important in the treatment of PMS, and a brew of cinnamon tea is relaxing just before bed. Sweeten to taste with honey. Chamomile tea is a relaxing bedtime choice, too.

Relaxation: Lack of sleep and anxiety can lead to a tension in the bodies muscles causing the body to unwittingly fight its normal processes, which will make symptoms worse.

Practice stress management
Sleep – keep normal cycles of sleep
Talk – share the reasons for the behavior
Avoid entertaining – too much stress at a bad time
Take a hot bath - 1 cup of sea salt and 1 cup of baking soda

Exercise: Many of the symptoms felt during this time may be related to not keeping the body fit and toned.

Aerobic exercise – jogging, biking, stair stepping, exercise class - Work up to 30
minutes, 4 to 6 times a week - relaxes muscles, stimulates blood flow, and
combats fluid retention

Vitamins and Minerals: Lack of the proper nutrients can cause many of the woes felt during this time. Lack of calcium or potassium can cause muscle cramps at any time of the month!

Magnesium – 1000mg daily - This will help you to get relief from the PMS symptoms
Calcium - 1,500 mg. Daily - this helps reduce some symptoms (such as of water
retention, cramps and back pain)
Vitamin E - reduces breast soreness (do not overdose)
Vitamin B6 - helps in blood circulation and water retention (do not overdose)

Herbs: Herbology has been used for many years to treat the complaints that many women have about this time of their cycle. The Chinese have many centuries under their belts in this field. The West only lags behind because of their later start in civilization itself, but I believe women used herbs for these complaints even before civilization recognized the need.

Evening Primrose – 5gms oil in capsules
Dong quai – 2 capsules daily - regulates the menstrual cycle, relieves menstrual
pains and cramps
Nettle – 100 mg 3x daily - a uterine tonic and will reduce bloating and swelling
during your cycle
Chasteberry - two 225 mg capsules per day – balances hormones, relieves cramps
Dandelion - Take 1/2 teaspoon of root tincture, mixed with 1 cup of water
three times per day - helps to eliminate the irritability, insomnia, anxiety, help
eliminate excess water and bloating
Rosemary - Mix 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves in 1 cup of boiling water
- helps to stabilize monthly hormone levels
Black Cohosh - Take two 20 mg capsules of extract daily - helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, mood swings, and tension. Also, menstrual cramps and water retention, helps control mood changes.
Peppermint or Chamomile – used in tea may help cramps

Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy has proven to be very effective in easing PMS symptoms. If you are looking for a natural treatment for the woes of ‘that time of the month’ try Aromatherapy. The essential oils are all encompassing, and can be quickly assimilated by the body through the olfactory nerves found in the nose or through the skin…the largest single organ of the body! There are some cautions associated with use…so check out the Essential Oils for the cautions to see how they may apply to you. (The next blog will have specific recipes with warnings for the oils used).

Clary sage

Yoga: New research shows that yoga can relieve both psychological and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Through stretches and poses designed to stimulate and relax the female body in the appropriate areas, great relief can be felt.

Yoga stretches to try

Leg Extension
Forward Stretch
Nose to Knee Stretch
Hands and Knees Walk
Throat Massage
Spinal Twist
Crossed Legged Walk
Hands and Heels Walk

Poses to Try:

Modified Bridge
Child’s Pose
Upward Facing Dog

No comments:

Post a Comment