Treat PMS and hormone disruptions - naturally

22 Oct 2012 12:00 AMLicensee Person Treat PMS and hormone disruptions - naturally

PMS and hormones can be a nightmare - we can help through diet, lifestyle, nutrition and herbal medicine.

NATURAL MEDICINES FOR PMS AND MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS

Many women accept premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other menstrual irregularities as a normal part of life. In reality, menstruation should not cause any significant interruption to everyday living and symptoms of PMS or painful periods are a clear sign that your reproductive system is not working as well as it could be.

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)

PMS is the most common female hormonal imbalance, affecting up to 75% of women at some time in their lives. Medical texts define PMS as a group of physical and psychological symptoms that occur in the second half of a womanís menstrual cycle, between ovulation and the onset of menstruation.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS OF PMS

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability, anxiety and nervous tension
  • Depression
  • Mental confusion, poor concentration and forgetfulness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

 
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF PMS

  • Abdominal bloating and distension
  • Weight gain from fl uid retention
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Headaches
  • Altered appetite - especially cravings for sugar, alcohol, fatty foods
  • Physical fatigue and weakness
  • Changes in libido
  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea

 
WHY DO WE GET PMS?
PMS occurs due to imbalances in female reproductive hormones. In particular:

1. Low levels of progesterone throughout the cycle with elevated oestrogen during the second half of the cycle.

2. It can also be related to too many ìbadî oestrogens and not enough "good" oestrogens. Oestrogen exists in different forms in the body, some of these forms are good for the body and are essential to female reproductivehealth; other forms are not and are associated with PMS and other menstrual irregularities.

3. High levels of another hormone called prolactin may also be involved. Various other factors can also play a part in influencing hormonal balance and causing PMS. These include stress,
diet, weight issues and thyroid dysfunction.

PAINFUL PERIODS

Dysmenorrhoea or painful periods are very common. Dysmenorrhoea literally means ìdifficult monthly flow.
Symptoms of dysmenorrhoea include:

  • Moderate to severe abdominal cramping beginning at the start of the period and lasting 72hrs
  • Lower back and upper leg pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea/vomiting


High oestrogen levels throughout the menstrual cycle, or too much of the ìbadî oestrogens are thought to be a Primary cause of dysmenorrhoea, by stimulating excessive production of compounds called prostaglandins, which cause inflammation, cramping and pain.

IRREGULAR PERIODS

Amenorrhoea is the absence of a menstrual cycle during a womanís reproductive years for reasons other than pregnancy and lactation. Oligomenorrhoea refers to infrequent or very scant menstruation. Amenorrhoea and oligomenorrhoea can transpire for a variety of reasons, including hormonal imbalances, low body weight, stress and/or over-exercising.

HEAVY PERIODS

Menorrhagia is the term for excessive and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding (longer than nine days). Most often, menorrhagia is associated with hormonal imbalances such as too much oestrogen, too little progesterone or excessive amounts of "bad" oestrogen.

IS IT TIME TO BALANCE YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE?

Given that most women will menstruate for around 35 years, the value of a regular, symptom-free cycle should not be underestimated! If youíre looking at this and nodding in agreement, then read on. Donít be controlled by your hormones any longer -  it's time to turn things around so that you are in charge of them!

HOW CAN I HELP TO BALANCE MY HORMONES?

There are a range of herbs and nutrients we can use to correct hormonal imbalances. Vitex agnus castus has been shown to reduce numerous PMS symptoms. Vitex may assist in the management of PMS by reducing high amounts of prolactin and normalising progesterone levels. Symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and sugar cravings can be a thing of the past. Vitex is also the herb of choice for irregular periods. The benefits of Vitex can be enhanced by the addition of herbs such as evodia, ginger, cinnamon and dong quai.

These herbs have a long history of use in the management of painful periods, heavy periods, irregular periods and PMS symptoms such as headaches, sore breasts, fluid retention and abdominal bloating.

ARE MOOD SWINGS DRIVING YOU MAD?

Is stress worsening your menstrual cycle or is your menstrual cycle worsening your stress? Either way, itís not pleasant.
So for women who know that stress is affecting them, herbs such as Bupleurum (bupleurum) and Paeonia  (Chinese peony) may be indicated. Bupleurum has a mild sedative action, helping with emotional instability and mood swings. Chinese peony is commonly used for regulating the menstrual cycle and reducing PMS symptoms. In combination with other PMS herbs such as nutgrass, tree peony, licorice and gardenia, symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, anger and changeable moods can be easily managed.

HEALTHY OESTROGEN BALANCE

We know that too much ìbadî oestrogen can be associated with PMS and other menstrual irregularities. Luckily, thereare many natural substances which may help to maintain a healthy oestrogen balance, including:

 

  • Flaxseed: Flaxseed supports the production of ìgoodî oestrogens, which are essential to female reproductive health, whilst reducing the production of "bad" oestrogens.
  • Polygonum and Kudzu: These herbs contain constituents that can help regulate the effects of oestrogen on the body.
  • Turmeric: This herb offers potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and also increases general detoxification within the body.
  • Folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12: These vitamins assist with the processing of oestrogen in the body.

 

FOOD AND FITNESS FOR A HEALTHY BALANCE

Some simple changes to diet and lifestyle can greatly improve your menstrual cycle and your general wellbeing.

  • Consume a diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables

  • Increase the good fats in your diet, especially those from nuts, seeds and oily cold-water fish

  • Drink at least 1-2 litres of water a day

  • Increase exercise and keep active

  • Limit salt and saturated fat intake

  • Reduce or avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption

  • Lose excess fat

  • Stop smoking

DON'T LET YOUR MONTHLY CYCLE CONTROL YOU ANY LONGER!
PMS and other menstrual irregularities are not a normal part of life. Herbs and nutrients, in combination with appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes, give you the opportunity to take charge of your menstrual cycle. If you are experiencing PMS or other menstrual irregularities, please consult your practitioner for suitable options.