The more I do this work, the more I am convinced that there is something wrong in the medical field when it comes to understanding a woman’s body.
Over so many years, decades, in fact, people who menstruate have been complaining of having a certain amount of pain during the second part of their cycle and yet, they were brushed off saying: “it is normal”, “it is ok”, “take the Pill”, “let’s sterilize you” and the new thing is: “let’s burn your endometrium if you suffer from heavy bleeding”. This is a procedure that is called “ablation”.
Most of the studies have been done on the male body. Furthermore, females were often excluded from the research as they feared females would throw off the results due to their menstrual hormones. We are only 51% of the population. Why would they need to do some research on us? Useless, right?
Our body is amazing. It tells us if everything is ok with it and it also tells us if something is off. We just need to pay attention and listen to it. PMS is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. It is our body’s way of telling us that we need to pay more attention to something, to go a bit deeper and check the root cause of the issue.
We live in a culture that often prefers to put a band-aid on rather than look deeper and maybe make some hardcore lifestyle changes. I get it, it is sometimes easier to pop a pill than to change things. The problem with the band-aid solution is that it doesn’t fix anything. It doesn’t solve anything; you just ignore the issue.
What is PMS?
PMS is a premenstrual disorder and I tend to be upset calling it a disorder. There is another condition called PDD which is more severe, but I am not going to talk about this one on this blog. Although it is called premenstrual, it can start right after ovulation up until your period plus the first days of your period.
How might that look? It is different from person to person and some of the symptoms are: bloating, feeling anxiety, cranky or depressed, mood changes, acne, breast tenderness, back pain, fatigue, headaches or migraines, cramps, emotional feelings and cravings.
After ovulation, there is a shift in our hormones and while in the first part of our cycle, estrogen was the main hormone, after ovulation the corpus luteum secretes progesterone in high levels and continues to secrete estrogen in lower levels. If the hormones are balanced, we shouldn’t feel these symptoms but if they are out of balance, such as having lower levels of progesterone, or too high levels of estrogen, we might suffer from a few symptoms.
Nutritional deficiencies can also cause PMS as it also might interfere with our hormones and cause imbalances. For example, low levels of magnesium might contribute to PMS, as well as not enough Vit D and others. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208934/
People with severe PMS are usually prescribed the Pill. While on the Pill, you are not ovulating and that can cause lots of other issues. Check out my blog post about why we need to ovulate. You are also not benefiting from the amazing protection of these hormones in our health.
What can throw our hormones off and cause PMS?
Stress is a big one. We are all so busy ALL THE TIME! Studies show that there is a link between worsening PMS and stress.
Inflammation happens when our body is too inflamed due to the environment and unhealthy eating habits. Prostaglandins are hormone-like that fights inflammation in the body and too much of them can contribute to PMS.
Sugar is another big one. It causes inflammation in the body which brings us back to inflammation.
Smoking is not good for our health but also people who smoke have more potential to increase their PMS.
Alcohol when consumed as more than 4 glasses per week causes inflammation. It damages the intestinal bacteria, impairs liver detoxification and depletes you from an important protein called glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant and immune regulating molecule. Its main job is to fight free radicals and eliminate toxins. This information comes from “Repair Your Period” by Lara Briden. Also, have a look at my blog post about alcohol and fertility.
Coffee is a real struggle for me! It elevates the prostaglandins and we know how that ends. It also depletes your body of micronutrients such as Magnesium which can contribute to the imbalance.
Not being in sync with our body and ignoring the signs of what it needs.
What can we do about it?
There are many things.
Our hormones are influenced by what we eat and our lifestyle. Working on these things can help a lot.
Lowering the inflammation in our body by eating foods that help to reduce it such as cruciferous vegetables which are good. Reduce or even eliminate sugar intake, coffee, alcohol and if you are smoking then, that too.
Choose organic. This is one of the biggest struggles I have. It is so expensive. Honestly, I cannot afford to buy everything organic but I can grow things and I can do a list of things that are very important to consume organic due to the heavy use of pesticides which are endocrine disruptors and others that are not that important.
Exercise reduces both stress and inflammation.
Be dairy-free for a while and see how that helps your period pains.
Supplement with Magnesium and Zinc.
Lastly, chart your cycles and try to live in sync with your menstrual cycle.
Do you need more information and guidance? Book a consultation with me.