Natural Remedies for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)



By Jordan Miller;

Premenstrual syndrome is a term to describe many symptoms that women endure every month between ovulation and menstruation. It is a disorder that affects many women during the seven to 10 days before menstruation begins. The symptoms that women experience may be physical, emotional, or behavioral in nature and are thought to be caused by either hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiencies which can affect the fine hormonal balance in the body. Symptoms may include any, but not limited to, the following: abdominal bloating, acne, anxiety, backache, breast swelling and tenderness, cramps, depression, fainting spells, fatigue, food cravings, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, nervousness, skin eruptions, water retention, and personality changes such as mood swings, outbursts of anger, violence, and, sometimes, even thoughts of suicide.

Understanding PMS

Although there is no consensus on what “causes” PMS, there are certainly a lot of theories to sink your eyes and ears into. For many years PMS was dismissed as a psychological problem; however with the advancement of science, PMS is now understood more as a physical problem, although it is still far from clear what causes all the symptoms. It is possible that there is more than one cause of PMS and that there may be different causes of symptoms in different people.

One of the reasons for PMS may be hormonal imbalance where there are excessive levels of estrogen and inadequate levels of progesterone being produced by the body. Further to this of course is that certain women have greater sensitivities to fluctuating hormone levels. Diet may also be an important contributing factor for some women; unstable blood sugar levels are an important factor as well. PMS has also been correlated to food allergies, changes in carbohydrate metabolism, hypoglycemia, and mal-absorption.

“Other suspected causes of PMS symptoms include serotonin dysfunction (a problem with the brain’s mood regulator), erratic levels of beta-endorphin (a narcotic-like substance produced by the body), vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies (especially calcium deficiency), and an inability to metabolize fatty acids.” All of these symptoms play a role in PMS.

Natural Remedies

Herbs:

-          Try an infusion (herbs steeped in boiling water) agnus castus or false unicorn, which have a balancing effect on the hormones.
-          Water retention can be eased with couchgrass or dandelion teas drunk 2 to 3 times a day during premenstrual phase.
-          Rosemary, oats, cinnamon, and lemon balm will help to lift the spirits.
-          Skullcap, wood betony, and vervain are good for addressing tension, anxiety and depression.
-          Cornsilk and burdock are useful for symptoms associated with bloating.
-          Cleavers and poke root will help with monthly breast tenderness.
-          Chamomile, cinnamon, and peppermint will help with nausea and vomiting.
-          Yellow dock and wormwood will balance the blood sugar levels.
-          Milk thistle cleanses the liver and helps improve liver function, thus enhancing the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. For best results, the herb should be taken on a daily basis for a period of three months.
-          Peppermint, strawberry leaf, and valerian root help to stabilize mood swings and tone the nervous system.
-          Wild yam extract contains natural progesterone and has proved effective in alleviating many symptoms of PMS, including cramps, headache, mood swings, depression, irritability, and insomnia.

Traditional Folk/Home Remedies:

-          Swelling can be prevented by eating plenty of fresh, crunchy apples in the week prior to menstruation.
-          Celery is also a good diuretic, and acts on the kidneys to encourage their action.
-          Eat fresh grapes to prevent bloating.
-          Barely water which is rich in B vitamins can be drunk freely throughout your menstrual cycle to ease symptoms.
-          To ease irritability and other emotional symptoms, eat plenty of oats.

Other Suggestions:

-          Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Have high-protein snacks between meals.
-          Include foods that are high in complex carbohydrates into your diet. They can help the body get rid of excess estrogen.
-          Drink 1 quart of spring, or filtered water daily, starting a week before the menstrual period and ending one week after.
-          Do not consume salt, red meats, processed foods, or junk/fast foods. Reducing sodium (principally salt and foods that contain it) is especially important for preventing bloating and water retention.
-          Eat fewer dairy products. Dairyproducts block the absorption of magnesium and increase its urinary excretion. Refined sugars increase magnesium excretion. Be srue to get calcium, magnesium and vitamin D from other foods and supplements.
-          Avoid caffeine and xanthine-containing foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate. Caffeine is linked to breast tenderness, and is a central nervous system stimulant that can make you anxious and jittery. It also acts as a diuretic and can deplete many important nutrients.
-          Do not consume alcohol or sugar in any form, especially during the week before symptoms are expected. These foods cause valuable electrolytes , particularly magnesium to be lost through the urine.
-          Get regular exercise. Walking, even if only one-half to one mile per day, can be very helpful.  Exercise increases the oxygen level in the blood, which helps in nutrient absorption and efficient elimination of toxins form the body. It also helps keep the hormone levels more stable. Stress management practices are also helpful, such as cognitive behavioral therapy programs.

In essence PMS is a syndrome with many causes, and the problem may not have one solution that fits every woman. It may be best to experiment with altering your diet, using natural progesterone cream, avoiding certain foods and drinks, taking up meditation, or trying acupuncture, and seeing which one suits your best and gives you optimum relief from your particular symptoms. When all else fails, follow your instincts…

Feel Free to check out all our other Natural Remedy articles

Your question: What do you do to relieve your symptoms? (post your comments below)

Sources:
Prescription for Nutrional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies; C. Norman Shealy
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

1 comment:

  1. PMS is something women cannot just ignore. There's no way I can think or work well while having this. I'm glad that there are possible remedies that I can find at home.
    flu remedies

    ReplyDelete

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