Premenstrual Syndrome affects many (approx. 80%) women to varying degrees during the 7-14 days before their period begins. The female body is constantly changing throughout the menstrual cycle and many of us are aware of different feelings, mood and needs at different times of the month.
Reasons for PMS:
Hormonal imbalance – an excess of oestrogen and inadequate progesterone.
Unstable blood sugar – leading to cravings and mood swings.
Poor nutrition – the body is missing nutrients that help balance hormones and ease inflammation and cramping and there may be an excess of foods that aggravate this condition.
Poor liver function – this may be an overload of toxins such as coffee, processed foods, medication or alcohol. The liver has the role of breaking down and eliminating hormones to prevent their re-absorption.
Always remember to check with your GP if there is anything you are suspicious about.
Acne, anger, anxiety, bloating, backache, breast tenderness, cramps, cravings, crying for no particular reason, depression, general lack of energy and motivation, fainting, irritability, mood swings and over-spending.
What to Avoid:
Alcohol – can further upset the blood sugar balance, accelerate nutrient loss and increase levels of oestrogen.
Caffeine – linked to increased breast tenderness and can make you more anxious and jittery. Caffeine can also hinder nutrient absorption especially minerals such as magnesium that can help alleviate cramping and balance blood sugar levels.
Dairy – it can increase the body’s oestrogen levels and block the absorption of magnesium, particularly important at this time to help ease cramping. For those who are unable to digest dairy products there may be digestive discomfort and excess gas.
Salt – excess especially from processed foods can contribute to cramping, bloating and water retention.
Sugars and refined foods – they upset the blood sugar balance and rob the body of nutrients whilst giving nothing back.
Xenoestrogens - these are the chemical oestrogens that are in our environment. They are commonly found in beauty products and toiletries, cleaning products and plastics. Use glass food storage containers and avoid plastic bottles. Explore more natural makeup products like Tropics, Green People and my personal favourite - Lily Lolo. Use more natural household products like faith in nature, or make your own.
Your intake of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, essential for vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Do not go hungry! This is will do nothing for your mood, everything seem 100 times worse on a grumbling tummy. Eat little and often, around every 4 hours.
Wholegrains – they help to balance blood sugar by releasing energy steadily and they are a source of fibre needed to clear out old hormones and toxins.
Essential fats – nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocado and eggs – they help reduce the inflammatory response and balance hormones.
Exercise – a brisk walk a day is better than nothing, but aim to make it a regular part of your lifestyle – choose something you enjoy. It can enhance blood flow to the pelvic area and lessen bloating and cramping.
PLAN YOUR MONTH ACCORDING TO YOUR CYCLE
Days 1-7 (menstruation) (winter season)
Include gentle, regular exercise - this helps with circulation, particularly to the pelvic area and helps to balance hormones and ease cramps.
This is a time when the skin can be especially sensitive, so not a good time for a leg wax, try a massage instead.
Take it easy if you can, If your arm was bleeding heavily, you would rest. You are losing Iron and nutrients, so don`t take on anything too demanding.
Days 8-14 (pre-ovulation) (spring season)
The time you are feeling your best. Embrace life and get social. During this spring season of your cycle, you feel like you can be all things to all people. Don`t over commit to things later in the month or you may regret it when you are in your Autumn/ Winter phase.
This is a good time for planning and making phone calls as your verbal co-ordination is enhanced. A great time to ask for a pay rise!
Days 15-21 (post-ovulation) (Summer)
Incorporate some laughter into your day, be it a friend, a movie or a book – get those endorphins flowing.
Make sure you take time out for yourself. This might be as simple as a long soak in the bath with those magazines you have been meaning to read.
A great time for exercising and having fun.
Days 22-28 (premenstrual) (Autumn)
Your hormones will be dropping quite rapidly here and you may begin to feel more inward. People/ family may start to annoy you. Try letting them know that you are in your Autumn season and that you don`t mean to be snappy.
Things may upset you more than normal - be kind to yourself and tell yourself, it`s my hormones, it`s part of being the amazing woman that I am.
Your energy levels may flag a little here, don’t make this an excuse to give into cravings, ensure you have adequate sleep, relaxation and exercise
Self nurturing is very important so get that bubble bath running - try adding some epsom salts (don`t do this if you have a heart condition).
Pain? What pain? This is the best time for waxing, or a deep tissue massage, you’ll be able to handle pain better at this stage.