Monday, March 24, 2014

The Health Journey: PMS - friend or foe?

Ladies, ladies, ladies!  Most of you probably read this article title and guffawed at the audacity I had for questioning if  PMS could even be considered a "friend"! For most women "that time" of the month is riddled with pain, discomfort, fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes and uncontrollable crying or laughing.  That's what we tenderly (or angrily) call: Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).  I've suffered from PMS since my cycle started when I was a wee age of ten.  I've never had bad cramps, but since I was 22 years old, I've suffered from the dreaded night sweats.  Years ago at an annual check up, my doctor asked me to explain my PMS symptoms.  I spoke of my crazy mood swings and she gave me some pink pills that would "help" me.  I've never been a fan of pill taking, but I took the sample anyway.  I never used the mood altering pills, and never actively sought a remedy for my PMS woes. I just dealt with the hand I was given month after month.   After I entered motherhood my body CHANGED!  My breasts didn't get as tender anymore and my energy levels were pretty stable but the night sweats came back and the mood swings I used to have turned into small anxiety attacks which currently scare the daylights out of me!


So what can I do??? Well I started researching PMS and natural remedies to manage my night sweats and increased anxiety. 

Here's what I found:
  1. There are over 150 symptoms linked to PMS.  In addition to what I listed above there are: headaches, acne, swollen feet, depression, joint pain, insomnia, impatience, dizziness, constipation, hemorrhoids.  I'm sure you can think of 20 more!
  2. PMS can occur 1-2 weeks before menstruation occurs.
  3. Bearing children or being married can increase the likelihood of suffering from PMS and it can be a major cause of divorce.
  4. Hormonal imbalance is the main cause of PMS.  Estradiol is a type of estrogen that builds up in the body if not eliminated.  When there is too much estrogen and not enough progesterone in your body fluid gets retained which affects circulation and impedes oxygen and nutrient flow to the brain and female organs. 
  5. Diet is key to managing/minimizing PMS.  Women who eat a lot of refined sugar, fat, dairy, and salt suffer more severe symptoms.
  6. During the premenstrual period the body wants more sugar for fuel.  When you over overindulge because of the craving  blood sugar levels shoot up then plunge which can trigger fatigue, mental fog, and emotional imbalance.
  7. If you are regularly constipated, your liver cannot get rid of excess estradiol effectively.
  8. Women who consume a lot of caffeine are more likely to have severe PMS.
  9. Most of our meat and diary products contain hormones.  Since PMS is all about hormonal imbalance the more hormones you ingest, the more severe your symptoms will be.  Food treated with hormones lack progesterone and have excessive estrogen.
  10. Vegetarian women eliminate 2 - 3 more times estrogen in their feces than non-vegetarians.  Which makes sense, because the meat containing hormones is not consumed.
Wowzers!!!!!! Last month my night sweats were unbearable and my anxiety and mood swings were on another level!!!!   I was under a ton of stress and was feeding the frenzy with junk food.  No wonder I had bad night sweats. I felt like I was LOOSING MY MIND! Can I get a witness???  This month I started early with my stress relief practices, eliminated junk and started drinking my herbal Hormone tea.  My night sweats were BETTER!



7 ways to cope with PMS the natural way:
  1. CHANGE YOUR DIET! If you are eating a lot of fat, sugar, salt, caffeine and diary products, then stop it.  Try it for two months and see what happens.
  2. You must start making changes early in the month.  Don't wait until the week of your period to make changes.  Start 2 weeks prior. 
  3. Eliminate meat and other hormone laden foods.  Don't put the extra estrogen in your body.
  4. Eat more fiber and drink lots of water so you can keep your system going....and going....and going.  Gotta help your liver get rid of the excess estrogen.
  5. Exercise regularly.  Walking, running, playing sports or dancing is a great way to increase your oxygen intake which aids nutrient absorption and the elimination of toxins.
  6. Get out in the sun.  Sunlight boosts melatonin and serotonin which help you sleep.
  7. Start using herbs for relief.  You can used herbal remedies in so many format such as ointments for aches and pains, teas, slaves or aromatherapy.
Herbs for PMS (I know there are many more):
  • Wild yam
  • Angelica
  • Chasteberry - can balance hormones
  • Skullcap - can relieve nervous tension and irritability
  • Raspberry - good for the uterus
  • Ginger - can be a substitute for chocolate
  • Dong quai
  • Fennel seed
  • Black cohosh
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Squaw vine
  • Blessed thistle
My herbal Hormone tea (Original Herbal Remedies) is composed of the following herbs: Black cohosh, Sarsaparilla, Ginseng, Licorice root, Blessed Thistle, Alfalfa, Red Clover, Dong quai, Black Haw bark, Fo-ti. 

I'm a firm believer that NATURE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS!

Have you found natural ways of dealing with PMS?

Men - please share this with the lovely ladies in your life! Remember...we love you in spite of what come out of our mouths....It's the hormones talking! :)

Peace and love!
 
 
Reference: Natural Remedies Encyclopedia - Vance Ferrell and Harold Cherne, M.D.