What if you never had PMS?

What would change in your life?

What does PMS mean?

PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome refers to the physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the one to two weeks before your period – days 14-28. Symptoms are cyclical and vary between women and often end 1-2 days after your period begins. Common symptoms include acne, tender breasts, bloating, feeling tired, irritability, and mood changes.

And, PMS can be worse after having children due to hormonal changes.

When PMS hits you

First, it’s important to note, there is a wide range of variations of women’s cycles including timing, bleeding, and symptoms. It’s essential you discover what is “normal” for YOU.  {I LOVE the app My Flo, created by Alisa Vitti, to help you chart your cycle and get to the root of your symptoms.}

What is a ‘normal’ cycle?

Menstruation occurs between the ages of 12 and 50 years and lasts 3-6 days for most women,  arising once in a 25-28 day cycle.  More extended periods (>8days) are associated with anovulation or no ovulation.

The most substantial flow tends to be day 2 of the sequence; loosing about 30-80 ml of blood total.

And, If you are between 30-40 years of age…..

Due to a decline in ovarian function, women between the ages of 30-40 will experience a change in their irregularity, frequency, duration and amount of blood loss during their cycle.  Women in their 30s experience a shortening of their cycle due to increased production of FSH.¹

Then 2-8 years before menopause, the period lengthens again in preparation for the change, the average age of menopause in the US is age 51.

Factors that affect your menstrual cycle

Stress, changes in light exposure, sleep patterns, diet, travel, amount of exercise and illness can all affect the endocrine glands (these glands include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands) which determines our cycle.

Other factors affecting our cycle include; a woman’s nutritional status, body weight, attitudes and beliefs about menstruation and environmental and workplace exposures.

PMS is real, here is how you can reduce your symptoms

#1 Track your cycle

Use a new app or the calendar on your phone to chart your period.  The first day of bleeding is considered Day 1, Day 14 you may notice some cramping and change of cervical fluid during ovulation, Day 25-28 you may experience some premenstrual symptoms before your period arrives.

Your cycle is unique to you and by tracking it; you can see any changes that may occur and encourage some self-nurturing practices before your period to get back on track. This also can provide valuable detailed information for when you would like to explore a health consultation. 

#2 Eat Whole Foods

Overall you want to consume fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and cold water fish.  Add a good quality oil (like olive oil or walnuts) and essential fatty acids (think flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds to name a few) to each meal.

Stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day by eating often and adding good fats and proteins to each meal.

If you struggle with constipation, add 1 tbs. of flaxseeds daily from day 14-28.  Also, consider removing dairy and meat during the last half of your cycle; especially if you struggle with breast pain as well.

I like to add mung beans to week 3 of my cycle, filled with B vitamins, they can decrease bloating and PMS symptoms. Alisa Vitti, creator of the Myflo app does a fantastic job of breaking down the foods we need each week during the month to reduce unwanted symptoms.

#3 Exercise

Moving your body most days of the week can improve your mood, reduce stress and encourage bone mineralization which supports a healthy cycle. As your mood changes weekly, your exercise should change too.

Day 14-28 you may have more energy and want to run, hike and bike.

Day 1-14 you may wish to do more yoga, dance or Pilates. Listening to your body will result in a healthy cycle.

#4 Reduce Stress

Reducing your stress can be very powerful and useful for women with irregular cycles.  Cutting out caffeine, adequate rest, learning to say “no” to events on Day 1 and Day 2 of your period can encourage a positive experience each month.

Herbal adaptogens and botanicals that soothe the nervous system can improve your stress response, promote relaxation, reduce cramps, PMS and bloat each month.  Say bye bye to Advil and hello to herbs to aid digestion, reduce pains and ease PMS anxiety.

#5 Your Attitudes & Beliefs

Our bodies pain creates unhealthy thoughts and poor self-image. By cultivating a sense of nourishment each month, you can begin to enjoy the rest that our cycle allows.  On day one make yourself a cup of tea, journal, go for a walk or curl up in bed with a good book. One of the first books my mother gave me and I still own is; “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Christine Northrup, M.D. She says

“We can reclaim the wisdom of the menstrual cycle by tuning in to our cyclic nature and celebrating it as a source of our female power.”-Christine Northrup, M.D.

#6 Reduce Environmental Exposures

Chemicals in our environment can mimic as estrogen in our bodies, and they are known as exogenous estrogens. Many of these compounds are endocrine disruptors which affect our cycle and also may contribute to reproductive problems and cancers.

To reduce your exposure to these toxins avoid foods that readily absorb the leached material from plastics like dairy foods. By removing plastic from our foods (think plastic wrapped cheese) and reducing the number of water bottles that touch our lips; we reduce our overall exposure to these harmful chemicals.

You can also reduce your exposure to chemicals by purchasing organic tampons, pads, condoms and vaginal lube from companies like; organique or sustain.

Conclusion

PMS is common but not normal.  You don’t have to suffer every month and suppress the pain.  Getting to the root of your discomfort will help alleviate your monthly stress and possibly improve fertility.

Your diet, particularly removing dairy and meat, may decrease cramps and breast pain.  By improving elimination with an increase in fiber, you can reduce bloating and constipation and help your body eliminate excessive estrogens.

Tired of suffering every month? Book a health consultation with Tara to learn how diet and natural remedies can change your monthly PMS. 


References

¹Romm, A. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Churchill Livingstone, 2010

Discover natural remedies to decrease bloating, constipation and premenstrual tension. Click for your freebie; 6 Botanicals to decrease PMS.
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