The PMS Protocol - Heal your PMS naturally!
I felt very inspired to write about how to resolve PMS naturally after my recent success with resolving my severe PMS (PMDD). I have struggled with severe PMS on and off for a couple of years now. In the past, it was so bad that I literally could not function - I was having severe, debilitating mood episodes (extreme rage, depression, anxiety, crying spells) and extreme fatigue. I couldn't control myself at all and would have these "episodes" at work and everything would make me extremely angry, and I would end up bursting out in tears over nothing. At my worst, my severe PMS lasted the majority of the month - about a week before my period started, during, and for another week after my period ended. I literally felt psychotic and I am not even exaggerating; that's how bad my mood episodes were. I also would get swollen, sore breasts that would go up a cup size about a week or two before my period was supposed to start. Most people think mood swings, sore breasts, break outs, bloating, etc. are normal symptoms you just have to deal with when you have your period but it's really not normal. It signifies an imbalance in the body. It's not normal to have debilitating symptoms during your period. I was able to completely resolve my PMS issues in a month. My last period was like a dream - absolutely NO mood issues, my mood was great before, during and after my period, no cramps, lasted two days, and did not have tender/swollen breasts either! Literally no symptoms at all! It didn't even feel like I was on my period!
I feel that a significant cause of PMS is inflammation in the body that leads to hormonal changes. So, following a protocol that reduces inflammation will greatly lessen your PMS symptoms. I will be addressing these topics, and how they have an influence on PMS symptoms or can help to resolve your PMS symptoms:
- Omega 3's
- Liver function
- Chinese medicine supplements
- Maca powder
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Dairy products & gluten
- Iron & other minerals
First of all, dairy products can cause PMS symptoms, as dairy can alter hormone levels in some individuals; especially if you already have a dairy allergy or sensitivity. It is also inflammatory in general which is another reason why it can cause PMS in some individuals. I personally have an allergy to dairy and I noticed that when I eliminate dairy completely, I no longer have swollen/tender breasts. I am assuming that dairy products can contribute to other symptoms of PMS, such as mood swings.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega 3's are very anti-inflammatory, which is helpful in reducing PMS as I previously have mentioned, inflammation can lead to PMS symptoms. Omega 3's are also important for hormone productionn, and very important for the brain, which leads to mood issues if you are not consuming sufficient Omega 3's in your diet (or are consuming too much Omega 6 which will lead to an imbalance in your Omega 3:6 ratio). Consuming sufficient Omega 3's also reduces cramps as well.
LIVER FUNCTION & CHINESE MEDICINE:
According to Chinese medicine, PMS can be caused by a "congested" liver, or a liver that is not functioning optimally, and this happens because if the liver is not functioning optimally, it can't filter out your hormones, and so your hormone levels get too high leading to PMS symptoms such as mood swings. There are certain Chinese medicine supplements that help to target this problem and improve liver function to reduce PMS symptoms, which can give you relief immediately. I have personally been taking a Chinese medicine supplement called Xiao Yao Wan, by Free & Easy Wanderer and I believe this supplement had a great impact on reducing my PMS symptoms! Xiao Yao Wan in particular is known to be beneficial for reducing PMS symptoms. Also, you can improve liver function by consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables which I will discuss below.
I believe that diet is a VERY important, if not the most important aspect in resolving PMS. As previously mentioned, consuming omega 3's and eliminating dairy products are helpful in reducing inflammation. Not everyone is sensitive to dairy, but for those that are, dairy can certainly cause inflammation in the body and lead to PMS symptoms (as well as by altering hormone levels), so if you are having issues with PMS it's worth a try to eliminate it. Sugar and refined grains (I would recommend eliminating grains all together; but if not refined grains certainly must be eliminated) need to be eliminated. Increase consumption of leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables which help aid in liver detoxification which will also help to improve PMS symptoms. Foods high in omega 6, such as vegetable oils, need to be eliminated. Also, excessive consumption of foods high in Omega 6 in general will lead to problems - such as consuming too much peanut butter which is very high in Omega 6. Omega 6 is very inflammatory, and will disrupt your Omega 3:6 ratio which will result in inflammation, leading to mood issues and other PMS symptoms. Also, wheat and gluten products should be eliminated as they are known to cause inflammation in the body. Again, not everyone is affected negatively by consuming gluten, but it could potentially be causing PMS symptoms. An unknown intolerance to gluten can even cause severe cramps in some individuals.
Maca is an adaptogen root which is known to help regulate and balance hormone levels. It has been part of my protocol in resolving my PMS symptoms. I have been consuming maca powder everyday in the form of my dairy free, mood balancing & PMS relieving coffee creamer, and I believe it has had an impact on resolving my PMS!
Menstruating woman are very prone to suffering from iron deficiencies. This has been a significant issue for me, and has a profound impact on my mood and energy levels. Maintaining optimal iron levels is a must as low iron will cause mood issues and low energy levels.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
B vitamins are important for mood and energy levels. Low vitamins will contribute to PMS symptoms. Also, magnesium is known to cause PMS symptoms and cravings as well. So make sure you are consuming sufficient levels of all vitamins and minerals, however low B vitamins and magnesium are linked to causing PMS symptoms in particular.
I find that exercise has given me relief from my PMS symptoms. Exercise boosts the "feel good" neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins providing immediate relief from mood issues associated with PMS. Exercise also has an anti-inflammatory affect on the body as well, which is another way it can help relieve PMS symptoms.