Ladies, Listen Up!
If you’re like 80% of women, you know your period is coming because of a few characteristic symptoms – you turn into a raving Xena-like woman (see above), start bawling your eyes out for no reason, eat a couple pounds of chocolate, balloon to the size of a house, etc. This is known as PMS – Pre-Menstrual Syndrome – and it refers to a group of more than 150 different symptoms that occur at some point in the second half of your menstrual cycle. And here’s the bad news – these symptoms tend to worsen as we age, up until menopause. PMS may be experienced by all women, including those who are using hormonal forms of birth control (pill, patch, ring, injection).
Isn’t PMS normal? Everyone I Know Seems To Have It…
Although most women experience PMS, it is NOT, I repeat NOT normal (or healthy) to find your symptoms debilitating. Your PMS should not interfere with your life in any way, shape or form. This includes:
- Unbearable, excruciating pain. Anything that you would rate as higher than a 2/10 on the uncomfortable scale, with 10 being horrible, shouldn’t be happening to you.
- Bowel changes so bad that you are scared to go out of the house – diarrhea, constipation, or both in a lovely alternating fashion
- Going up a dress size
- Massive acne breakouts
- Not being able to sleep
- Knock down, drag out fights with your significant other, family, friends and/or co-workers
- Feeling like you have gone insane
If this is you, your menstrual cycle definitely needs some fine-tuning – your body is sending you a message that you are out of balance, and its time to pay attention.
What’s My PMS Type?
Yes, PMS has been divided into four types based on the symptoms women experience. These are PMS-A (for anxiety), PMS-C (cravings), PMS-D (depression), and PMS-H (hyperhydration, aka water retention). Most people suffer from a combination of two or more different types – PMS-A and PMS-H are the most common types. Check out the table below to see your PMS type:
|· Anxiety, feeling on edge
· Heart palpitations
· Abdominal cramping
· Back pain
· Low self-esteem
· Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
· Cravings (sweets, chocolates, carbs, salty foods)
· Increased appetite
· Dizziness, fainting
· Crying easily
· Suicidal thoughts
· Withdrawal and disinterest in usual activities
· Problems sleeping
· Clumsiness, lack of co-ordination
|· Breast swelling and tenderness
· Weight gain of 3+ pounds
· Swelling of the dace, hands, fingers, ankles
· Acne breakouts, oily skin
All of the categories can have fatigue, bowel changes (diarrhea and constipation),vaginal itching, uterine cramping, libido changes, backache (milder back pain), night sweats, cold sores, nausea, and vomiting, so these things aren’t included in any one category. Symptoms can range from mild to extremely severe.
Do any of these sound like you? Chances are, the answer is yes.
So Why Am I Like This? The Causes
Each PMS category reflects specific hormonal, neurotransmitter, and circadian and ultradian rhythm imbalances. For example, PMS-A types typically have increased testosterone and estrogen. And PMS-H types? They often have increased aldosterone, an adrenal hormone that contributes to water retention in the body.
Diet is another big player in your PMS symptoms. For example, women who suffer from PMS may be deficient in several key nutrients such as vitamin B-6, magnesium, and/or essential fatty acids (especially those in the PMS-D and PMS-C groups), despite consuming these on a regular basis. Animal fats found in meat and dairy products increase production of harmful inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE2 and PGF2) that aggravate most PMS symptoms. And alcohol will typically worsen PMS symptoms, as the liver is less able to detoxify the body.
What Can I do About This?
If you find that you fit into one of these categories, not to worry! These imbalances can (quite easily) be corrected by a Naturopathic Doctor. The symptoms that you are experiencing gives your ND clues as to what is out of balance in your body, and what needs to be healed. It is absolutely possible to change your PMS picture so that your life is no longer interrupted every few weeks by your period.
An ND will use specific treatments based on you and your type to help get your PMS symptoms under control. Treatments can include key dietary changes and supplementation, herbal remedies, homeopathy or acupuncture. Your ND can also teach you how to restore balance to your emotions and hormones, as well as detoxify and rejuvenate your body as a whole.
Knowledge is power ladies! And when you know better, you do better. Come see me at The Etobicoke Naturopathic Clinic and let’s get started. This doesn’t have to be you anymore: