PMS is common for many women, particularly the first 2 years of a girl’s cycles as her body goes through intense hormonal shifts. Often the body is simply finding its new rhythm, though many girls suffer unnecessarily with painful heavy periods and distressing PMS.
Inflammation is a key piece of the PMS puzzle. Hormone shifts plus increased inflammation contributes to menstrual pain, cramping and heavy bleeding. Changes to skin sebum cause pimples or acne, worsened by increased inflammation. Low nutrient levels drive inflammation further, and contribute to anxiety and depression. Low iron levels will not only occur as a result of heavier bleeding, but also cause heavy bleeding, creating a negative feedback loop. Iron stores can be overlooked as the range is huge and ferritin ‘within range’ in a naturopath view can be sub-optimal.
Oral contraceptives commonly manage symptoms, and of course create immediate relief as the pill shuts the hormonal system down. There is no more real period as the pill creates synthetic hormones and stops ovulation. Skin sebum is reversed back to pre-pubescent time, and it may feel like a solution has been found. Unfortunately this doesn’t allow for delicate hormones to balance during such formative years. As a naturopath I am passionate about educating and empowering girls to work with their body instead of against it!
Addressing inflammation is key – through anti inflammatory foods, supplementation or herbal medicines, PMS improves. For example – increasing omega 3 fats such as fish oils (and oily fish), walnuts and hemp seeds can balance hormones, reduce inflammation, and help alleviate depressive symptoms. Removing inflammatory triggers, namely sugar and trans fats and processed foods further reduces inflammation and bring positive results.
Other nutrients commonly helpful for PMS are magnesium, B6 and zinc, and should be given in therapeutic doses. Zinc can help regulate skin sebum to reduce pimples. Magnesium can support anxiety, cramping, headaches and chocolate cravings!
During a naturopath consult I help you work out the best way to address PMS symptoms. Family histories of PCOS, endometriosis or fibroids means the earlier the work starts to balance hormones, the easier the path for young women moving into their fertile years and beyond. Don’t suffer in silence when you have the power to change!