PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) the Monthly Monster
Not every woman has problems dealing with PMS or even suffers from pre-menstrual syndrome, but for those who do, there often seems to be no escape from the monster that arrives with hideous, cyclical regularity.
For some sufferers, Pre Menstrual Syndrome is purely physical, causing a range of symptoms, particularly lower back pain, abdominal cramps, swollen and tender breasts and water retention.
These range from being uncomfortable to extremely unpleasant. For others, however, there are also emotional symptoms, which make PMS nothing short of a prison sentence.
Irritability and mood swings, anger or violent outbursts - even thoughts of suicide - are features that sufferers are unable to control, making them withdrawn and antisocial.
Women dealing with PMS often describe their experiences as 'having someone else move into my head', and they are frequently surprised by some of their own uncharacteristic behaviour.
In many cases, it is husbands and partners who are the quickest to identify the symptoms and attribute them to their true cause
Dealing with PMS and Your Hormonal Balance
Find Balance in your oestrogen and progesterone levels
One of the major causes of PMS is an imbalance of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Although such imbalances may be 'natural', in that they occur without outside triggers, there are also many other factors that can cause PMS.
Every day we are exposed to many products (such as plastic containers and food wraps) that have oestrogen-like properties that can upset the normal levels of oestrogen circulating in the body.
Oestrogen naturally drops mid-cycle, to allow progesterone levels to increase (progesterone is the hormone that supports a potential pregnancy), so an excessive amount of oestrogen will disturb this delicate balance.
Poor blood-sugar management is also a contributing factor in PMS - eating a lot of sugar, simple carbohydrates and processed foods will adversely affect blood-sugar levels. Also, a high sugar intake depletes the body's stores of magnesium, a primary nutrient required for muscle relaxation.
B-complex vitamins are necessary for relaxation, reduction of breast tenderness and water retention, support of the adrenal glands and stress management.
Wholegrains are good sources of B Complex vitamins.
Dealing with PMS and Food Cravings ...
Grrrrr! Give Me Chocolate ....
Pre-menstrual food cravings are common and they usually include stimulants such as tea, coffee and alcohol, all of which disturb blood-sugar management, stress hormone output, and consequently your mood.
Eating small meals regularly throughout the day will reduce cravings.
Prior to menstruation, many women crave chocolate. The reason for this is that chocolate contains a significant amount of magnesium and also satisfies the immediate energy requirements that blood-sugar imbalances induce.
It's better to eat other magnesium-rich foods, such as apricots, figs or peaches, which will satisfy a sweet tooth without leaching away other vital nutrients.
Combining any of these foods with a small protein snack such as almonds (which also contain magnesium) or other nuts or seeds, will help to balance blood sugar levels and reduce the effects of PMS.
Dealing with Period Pains and Water Retention
- To Relieve Period Pains ... Try to eat magnesium rich foods such as; Wholegrains, Green leafy vegetables, Dairy products, Fish and Seafood.
- To reduce breast tenderness and water retention, relax, manage any stress and eat foods rich in the B-Complex Vitamins such as Millet, Rye, Buckwheat and Brown rice