It is estimated that nearly 80 percent of women experience PMS. Despite its exceptionally common occurrence, most know very little about it. Women who already have PMS and those who are at risk of developing it can benefit from acquiring a better understanding of this common and often frustrating condition. Read on to learn about the basics of PMS, common signs and symptoms of PMS and potential treatment options.
What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome is a common health condition most frequently experienced by women during their childbearing years. This cyclical disorder occurs monthly during the luteal phase of menstruation.
During the luteal phase, most women experience a significant shift in hormone values. This is caused by a structure called the corpus luteum follicle. The follicle is produced during ovulation after an egg has been released. When the luteum follicle is active, it produces a significant amount of progesterone and estrogen. If the egg is not fertilized and conception does not occur, the follicle deteriorates, and hormone values slowly return to normal. However, in many cases, the increased hormone production causes significant hormone imbalance, specifically an excess of estrogen known as estrogen dominance. This subsequently cascades into an array of symptoms and bodily dysfunction.
What are the Symptoms of PMS?
PMS is most often recognized through its symptoms and the regularity in which they occur. However, this can be challenging as PMS manifests itself in a variety of ways. The specific symptoms, severity, and occurrence of PMS are influenced by patient specific factors such as diet, hormone values and activity, lifestyle habits, and general state of health. An individual’s experience with PMS can be dramatically different from another’s. But, despite the unique nature of the condition, there are several symptoms that are commonly seen among those with PMS. These include:
- Breast tenderness
- Headaches or migraines
- Irregular shifts in mood
- Muscle and joint pain
- Weight gain
Severe Cases of PMS and PMDD
Experiencing many symptoms and at higher intensity may suggest a greater underlying problem known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Symptoms of PMDD are experienced during the same time frame as PMS but are broader and have a greater impact on the body. There are multiple factors that may cause increased symptom intensity and subsequent PMDD including:
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Food allergies
- Hormone imbalance
- Physical and/or emotional stress
- Poor diet
- Thyroid malfunction
Fortunately, most of the contributors of PMS and PMDD may be improved or resolved entirely through proper treatment and self-improvement.
How to Approach the Problem of PMS
Because PMS is a condition unique to the individual, it is important to have a treatment plan designed around your specific needs.
In addition to the specific treatments prescribed by your doctor, there are multiple natural ways to further improve underlying factors of PMS and alleviate its symptoms. The following treatment methods can be employed by most woman and have been shown to help alleviate PMS.
Take Natural Supplements
People have been using natural remedies to treat PMS for centuries. One of the most well-researched and widely used methods of treating premenstrual symptoms is supplementation with chasteberry. This small peppercorn-shaped berry, also known as vitex, is a powerful tool for PMS relief.
A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine, found that 93% of those who took chasteberry during their menstrual cycles experienced fewer PMS symptoms and had fewer PMS-related complaints overall. The herb’s primary benefit is found in its dopaminergic compounds, which help regulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This by extension aids in maintaining appropriate balance of estrogen and progesterone. The compounds in chasteberry also help regulate prolactin, which reduces the occurrence of mood swings, breast tenderness, and headaches.
Besides chasteberry, studies show that dong quai and ginger are highly effective natural ingredients for treating menstrual problems and easing symptoms of PMS. You can find these ingredients in the doctor-formulated supplement, HoltraCeuticals Cycle Restore.
As always, be sure to speak to your physician prior to starting a new supplement.
Diet is critical for the prevention and treatment of PMS. Studies show that limiting intake of inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, processed foods, hydrogenated fats, salt, and caffeine, can help limit discomfort and the risk of infection associated with PMS. Consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts has been shown to help balance estrogen levels by supporting the removal of excess estrogen and improving estrogen metabolization in the liver. Studies suggest that these foods help eliminate estrogen metabolites that contribute to the occurrence of PMS symptoms and breast cancer.
Stress management or limiting stress can notably improve PMS. Whenever we are stressed, the body releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol regulates many functions throughout the body and is the key component of our natural stress response. At the appropriate values, cortisol is beneficial. However, excess cortisol can cause serious issues including estrogen and progesterone imbalance. Such an imbalance can notably increase PMS symptom severity. You can help prevent the inappropriate and excessive release of cortisol by engaging in relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation, gardening, or even relaxing with a cup of tea.
Addressing PMS Properly
PMS is a common and aggravating condition. Fortunately, you don’t have to let premenstrual syndrome control your life! If you are sick of experiencing the debilitating and frustrating effects of PMS, it is worth exploring the above treatment methods. Being better-informed of the causes and effects of PMS allows you to choose the treatment approach that best suits you.
At the Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to find the answers you deserve and a treatment plan that is built to suit your specific condition. We can help you both uncover and treat the underlying cause of your PMS symptoms. If you are among the 80 percent of women suffering from PMS symptoms, call us at 877-508-1177 and let us help you get your life back!
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