PMS is such a bitch!

I would have to say there is not one woman I have come across who hasn’t suffered from some symptoms of the dreaded PMS at some point in their life. 

The suffering goes from headaches and backaches, pimples, kidney pains, throbbing legs, restless legs, a swollen, bloated body, abdominal cramping and pain, inability to exercise or some cases even move out of bed, swollen, painful breasts, anger, rage, moodiness, weepiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, painful and aching muscles…and the list goes on.

"It’s just not fair! It feels like these hormones of ours are out to get us, like they are attacking us for being beautiful women.  I know I for one can act like a complete irrational cow, I am completely aware of the situation and that I do not need to react in that certain way, or that it is not nearly so dramatic or important, yet I can’t seem to control what comes out of my mouth or how I act. It’s horrific! "

So what exactly is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur 1 to 2 weeks before your period/menstruation/bleed starts. The symptoms usually go away after you start bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and as discussed the effect is different for every single woman. For some people, PMS is just a monthly bother. For others, it’s a debilitating situation that may be destroying a normal life.

I have noticed, since analyzing my hormones to the n’th degree, my diet, my lifestyle and all other influential factors in my world, I have gained control of my PMS. I also have to say that without sounding like a broken record – ditching sugar from my life has made the most profound impact.  All the symptoms I suffered eased and now the lead up to, and days of my period are completely ‘livable’ and I think my family may be none the wiser as to what time of the month it is.

Some of those holistic treatments and lifestyle changes for PMS included:

  • Regular exercise, this can vary from high-intensity, moderate-intensity and low-intensity, do what your body is calling for; if you went for a huge run or a crazy session at boot camp yesterday – then today is a great day for some yoga, or movement class. Also remember, walking is absolutely awesome.
  • Eating healthy foods; We have been harping on for long enough about this so you will have some idea, but for those of you who still want to reach for the 'skinny/trim' milk, or eat a 'low-fat-but-high-sugar-biscuit' what I am meaning here is to fill yourself up on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, good fats and plenty of water.
  • Avoid processed foods, salt, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol, especially when you’re suffering from PMS symptoms.
  • Getting enough sleep. Try to find about 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress. Talk to your friends, exercise, or write in a journal. Some women also find yoga, massage, or relaxation therapy helpful.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • And I also found that cutting dairy out if I had tender breasts solved that problem.

In more severe cases of PMS, prescription medicines may be used to ease symptoms. One approach has been to use drugs that stop ovulation, such as birth control pills. Women on the pill report fewer PMS symptoms, such as cramps and headaches, as well as lighter periods.  However, there are many other implications of taking the pill (that we will save for another blog) so make sure you have done your research hard and deep before starting on a specific birth control – just to ease pain. Maybe its best to look at your natural options first?

I most definitely have to take my hat off to magnesium, it has taken my horrific cramps from high on the scale of agony down to zero, as I say, I seem to float through the month with no cramping these days.

The following vitamins and minerals have also been found to help relieve some PMS symptoms:

  • Folic acid (400 micrograms)
  • Calcium with vitamin D (1300mg for ages 9-18, 1000mg for ages 19-50, 1200mg for ages 51 and older)
  • Magnesium (400 milligrams)
  • Vitamin B-6 (50 to 100 mg)
  • Vitamin E (400 international units)

Some women find their PMS symptoms relieved by taking supplements such as:

  • Black cohosh
  • Chasteberry
  • Evening primrose oil

The above supplements are certainly based on your individual situation, and hormone balances. Please speak to your doctor or a registered practitioner before popping these pills on mass!  They may affect any other medications you are on and are not to be taken lightly.

If you do want to head down a more natural, holistic route, feel free to send us an email: realfood@squareonehealth.co.nz and we will be able to set you up a program tailored to your unique lifestyle and symptoms.

We are women, we have been there, we know how much it sucks…but now we can say we have made it through the other side. It is an ongoing quest as we age and our hormones change due to life changing, but, remember you don’t need to live half of every month in a horrible state, try some of these options or reach out for help. You are NOT alone!!

Written by: Jess Eastwood