Symptoms can include any of the following: Abdominal bloating, acne, anxiety, backache, breast swelling and tenderness, cramps, depression, food cravings, fainting spells, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, nervousness, skin eruptions, water retention and personality changes such as drastic mood swings, outbursts of anger, violence and thoughts of suicide.
What causes PMS?
These symptoms are the result of changes in the hormonal balance in a women’s body. As the monthly cycle of preparing for reproduction progresses and ends, hormones interact and can unbalance. These changes can then bring on the pain and cramps that women suffer from every month.
These hormonal fluctuations lend to fluid retention, which effects circulation, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the uterus, ovaries and brain.
The imbalance will lead to unstable blood sugar levels creating more problems. This also is linked to food allergies, changes in carbohydrate metabolism, hypoglycemia and malabsorption. Diet is an important contributing factor.
When the old uterine lining begins to break down, molecular compounds called prostaglandins are released. These compounds create the uterine contractions that literally squeeze the old tissue through the cervix and out of the body by way of the vagina.
Other substances known as leukotrienes, which are chemicals that play a role in the inflammatory response, are also elevated at this time and may be related to the development of menstrual cramps.
The difference between menstrual cramps that are more painful and those that are less painful may be related to a woman’s prostaglandin levels. Women with menstrual cramps have elevated levels of prostaglandins in the uterine lining when compared with women who do not experience cramps.
Menstrual cramps are very similar to those a pregnant woman experiences when she is given prostaglandin as a medication to induce labor.
For many years, PMS was considered a psychological problem, and some women were even incorrectly diagnosed as “mentally ill”. It is now known that it is indeed a physically based problem. (See below for more information on this misdiagnosis) *
Note: We do not condone in any way using drugs to help “depression” whether because of PMS or any other health reason.
What can be done about PMS?
Instead of the traditional “three square meals a day”, women prone to PMS should try eating 3 small meals and 3 snacks daily. Eating food every three hours helps to stabilize the blood sugar level.
Whole grains and proteins are good staples in a healthy PMS diet. It’s also best to limit caffeine and sugar, since they can worsen symptoms.
“I always knew diet was important,” says Katharina Dalton, M.D. “What I didn’t realize in the early years, is just how important diet is in controlling premenstrual syndrome.” Dr. Dalton’s name is synonymous with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a phrase she coined in England in the 1950s. As a physician and women’s health pioneer, she first identified this disruptive cyclic phenomenon. Her classic book, Once A Month, set the standard for the many books and PMS studies. “A three-hourly starchy diet is essential, but now we know why. It’s the progesterone receptors,” she says. “Modern work has shown us that progesterone receptors which help progesterone bind to our DNA will not work if adrenaline is present, and adrenaline is released when our blood sugar level is low.”
Dr. Dalton uses the term “starchy foods” rather than carbohydrates because carbohydrates also include simple sugars, which can cause blood sugar levels to rapidly rise and fall. Women with PMS frequently crave and binge on high-sugar food and drinks before menstruation. “This actually creates self-induced hormonal imbalances,” Dr. Dalton says. The starches she recommends are complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, crackers, pasta, popcorn, pizza, pancakes, cereals, potatoes, and rice dishes. Women won’t gain weight if they eat normal amounts of food, divided into six snacks instead of three meals. In fact, she adds, by decreasing the bloatedness and water retention that comes along with PMS, women may actually lose weight.
Foods to Eat:
· Lean meat
· Milk, cheese, and yogurt
· Whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta
· Legumes (lentils, beans)
· Green, leafy vegetables
· Fresh fruit (moderate amounts–it’s high in sugar–best with small amounts of protein or complex carbohydrates, for example: ½ banana with 3 whole wheat crackers)
· Plain popcorn
· Unsalted pretzels
Foods to Avoid:
· Salty lunch meat, sausage, bacon
· High fat cheeses such as brie
· White bread, cake, cookies
· Jam, honey, molasses
· High salty snacks like potato chips
· Caffeinated drinks, coffee, tea, soda
Of course, the occasional piece of chocolate or glass of wine is good for the soul. Managing your PMS symptoms doesn’t mean you can never have these things again. It’s best to limit them though, especially during the two weeks before your period. If you do indulge once in a while, make sure you have some other food in your stomach first to avoid a drop in blood sugar.
Dr. Berg breaks down all the issues that can occur with estrogen and the female cycle.
Estrogen problems, related to the female cycle, are extremely common.
Hormones are communications that is created and sent through the blood system. It is sent by the gland to the blood stream and connects to the part of the tissue that has receptors for that specific hormone.
Estrogen has receptors in the uterus, the liver, in the bone, the brain and the ovary. The glands make hormones and organs don’t, except for the liver.
Every month one of your ovaries runs the show and sends hormones into the blood on a 28-day cycle. Day 14 you will have this spike of estrogen and then it goes down, this is called ovulation when you are most fertile.
Another hormone your ovary produces is called progestogen which increases as well and once the 28 day arrives you have your menstrual cycle. Then it starts over and over.
When you have a problem you can tell where you have the issue. Most women will feel pregnant with swelling of the breast and the stomach a week before their period – then we know it is progestogen verses estrogen. If the problem is during ovulation than it’s estrogen. If it’s during your cycle, then the problem is also estrogen.
The effects of estrogen create in the cell, whether it is the liver, uterus or the breast tissue. It can effective breast like tenderness or cyst. Estrogen can affect your DNA, sex drive and menstrual cycle.
Estrogen affects the shape of the body such as the hips and the curve. That’s why women have superficial fat that men don’t have in the lower part of their bodies. Too much estrogen will cause too much lower part of your body.
The function of the ovary is to send hormones to different parts of the body. One month, one ovary will do all the work and the other month a different will do the work.
It will alternate between the right and left. Depending on what part of your body has lower back pain – right or left, can determine which ovary has the problem with producing too much estrogen.
Effects of Too Much Estrogen
The most common problem most women have is the ovary creating too much estrogen or estrogen dominance which causes excessive heavy period, no periods, crampy, too much bleeding or long periods. One of the triggers could be low progesterone.
More of what estrogen dominance can cause:
What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
We are in an environment that is bathed in so much estrogen in pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Then there is DDT (Dichlorodiphenytrichloroethane) which was band in 1971, but we are still finding it in our fat tissues – even in kids.
Even though we do not sell it in the U.S., companies are allowed to sell it to 3rd world countries that grow our fruits and vegies in the winter which comes right back here to the United States. DDT mimics estrogen which is called endocrine disruptors. The cells can pick up these chemicals that can act like estrogen.
HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy – Is synthetic and made from female horse urine and is a lot different than human body’s This causes many problems.
Birth Control of course has estrogen.
Soy Protein Isolates – 95% is genetically modified that are in breakfast cereals, baby food, protein food and diet shakes.
Progesterone Decreases – When you start losing your period around perimenopause you can have a problem with increase estrogen.
Liver Problems – Detoxifies estrogen if the liver is healthy. But, if the liver is not healthy you will have digestive problems like constipation, gallbladder problems and you won’t be able to break down estrogen.
See the Video – Understanding the Menstrual Cycle & Estrogen
What About Vitamins?
The best bet with nutrition for hormonal imbalances is to use natural supplements and to build a healthy body. The body can get depleted of various vitamins and minerals that will contribute to this.
And for natural immediate help with cramps and other symptoms Dragon Time – Natural Plant based Therapy or Medicine available in essential oils. (coming soon)
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