PMS , estrogen dominance and natural remedies
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome is the term used to describe a set of symptoms that affect women on a monthly basis, 7-14 days before menstruation. PMS affects an estimated 30-40% of women.
Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Bloating and constipation (diarrhoea in some)
- Sugar cravings
- Tender and enlarged breasts
- Back and head aches
The menstrual cycle lasts about a month and is a delicate interplay of hormones. PMS is associated with a hormonal disturbance or imbalance where oestrogen is elevated and progesterone reduced ie an increased ratio of oestrogen to progesterone.
This imbalance leads to impaired liver function, reduced serotonin levels, lower endorphins, Impaired vit B6 activity, increased aldosterone and prolactin secretion… which in turn accounts for the range of symptoms above. There is also a link between hypothyroidism and PMS… But that’s a topic for another day.
My PMS recommendations:
-Diet: reduce caffeine, salt and dairy. And don’t hate me – alcohol too. Increase vegetables (especially dark green leafy veg) as well as beans and pulses (try chickpeas!). Try a spoonful of flaxseeds (or linseeds) in your porridge/cereal/smoothie every day.
-Nutritional supplements: Magnesium and B vitamins (especially vitamin B6)
-Herbal remedies: Chasteberry (also called Chaste tree, Vitex or Agnus Castus) to stimulate the pituitary to produce progesterone, Dandelion root and Milk Thistle to aid the the liver detoxification process (to rid your body of excess oestrogen) - you can get these herbs individually or in a detox formula.
-Lifestyle: avoid xenoestrogens, these are “foreign” oestrogens or substances that mimic oestrogen in your body (but are actually much more potent). These are found in plastics, pesticides and insecticides (think organic!), chemicals found in cleaning products and air fresheners, in the water system, in chemical-based beauty products, in nail polishes and removers… They are everywhere so start with avoiding plastic containers, choosing natural cleaning products and cosmetics, every swap matters. And where possible swap to organic versions of everyday foods and daily toiletries!