Coping with PMS

If you are a woman, you already know the struggle. An estimated 70 percent of our lady folk suffer from the monthly PMS symptoms brought by the menstrual cycle. The Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, is a collection of emotional and physical symptoms related to a woman's menstrual cycle. More commonly known as "that" time of the month where men know better not to annoy any lady. We tend to accept this as part and parcel of life but it does not have to be this way.

You should not have to live with these painful symptoms just because you are a woman. PMS is a serious issue and if not dealt with could have drastic effects on your relationships. It is reported that two to ten percent of women experience premenstrual symptoms that are separate from the normal discomfort associated with menstruation in healthy women.

Symptoms of PMS

The severity of symptoms experienced will vary from woman to woman and sometimes even from month to month in the same person. Some of the more common symptoms of PMS are:

  • Physical - fluid retention and bloatedness, abdominal pain or discomfort, headaches, changes to skin and hair (usually becomes oilier), backache, joint and muscle pain
  • Emotional - Mood swings and easily irritated
  • Behavioural - Food cravings, low libido

The Main Causes of PMS

The underlying reason for PMS is hormonal imbalance when estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease, marginally or drastically.

High-sugar, refined carbohydrate diet, caffeine, stress, diary, hormones in dairy products and meat are factors that cause these hormone imbalance. Alcohol is also a partial contributor of the problem as it damages the liver and prevents it from excreting excess estrogen.

Conditions such as constipation and imbalances in the gut bacteria can worsen the situation due to the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut back into your blood after your liver has tried to get rid of it.

The good news for women is that research shows that there are many ways to get hormones back in balance, without having to resort to drugs. Try the natural way of getting your hormones back in check.

Treatment for PMS

Various treatments have been suggested for treating PMS which include diet and lifestyle changes. The use of natural remedies have been linked to improving symptoms. Treatment with Black Cohosh and St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) are common as they help to reduce symptoms. These herbs are known to be "adaptogenic" means they communicate with your system to provide you with the exact amount needed to bring your body back into its correct balance.

Black Cohosh, which is widely known to provide relief to menopausal symptoms, is great for PMS as well. It helps to treat irritability and sleep disturbances. This herb has been a popular treatment for women's health issues in Europe in the mid-1950s. Black Cohosh has effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen which helps to bring about a balance. It helps relief menstrual cycle pain, cramping, excessive bleeding, unusual or abnormal bleeding and headaches. It has been used for over two centuries as a pain killer for muscle pain and as a natural non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Black cohosh seems to be a phytoestrogen that acts very much like estrogen in your body and so in stage luteal it knocks out progesterone and causes a balance among the hormones to be restored. It is often referred to as a hormone equalizer. This herb relaxes the muscles so as to relieve the cramping that comes from the uterus. Taking black cohosh every day during your cycle will lead to less mood swings.

St. John's wort, treats mild depression and moodiness that is associated with PMS. However, it interferes with birth control pills rendering them to be less effective. Be sure to consult a health practitioner before taking them. It has effects in the brain similar to antidepressants which is why it is effecive in both depression and PMS.

Additionally, supportive therapy  evaluation, reassurance and informational counselling, and is an important part of therapy to help a woman regain control of her life. A healthy lifestyle helps to relieve PMS symptoms as well. It is important to reduce consumption of caffeine, sugar, and sodium intake and increase the intake of fiber. Regular exercise and sufficient rest also helps to play a part.

Ladies, let's improve this monthly struggle with our hormones. To get through this, it is worth looking into and taking the necessary steps to reduce the side effects if the monthly visitor.