Pre Menstrual Syndrome AKA PMS is a very familiar word for women as so many struggle with it to some or a large extent. Symptoms of PMS happen because there is an imbalance in your hormone levels. As women, we have an intricate set of hormones that fluctuate on a monthly basis. Unlike men who have a 24 hour hormonal cycle. Since our days are structured to accomodate a males hormonal cycle (energy in the morning that tappers off towards the end of the day) it is difficult for women to support their constantly changing hormonal levels and thus, we see imbalances largely through PMS. About 90% of women think it is normal to grief that week or two before your period and struggle with symptoms such as:
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Symptoms of PMS
- Cramps/pelvic pain
- Mood swings
- Diarrhea or constipation
Well ladies, I’m here to tell you PMS is not normal! There are lifestyle changes and habits you can adopt in order better support your hormones and relive yourself from whatever symptoms you are experiencing. However, I do want to point out that I have implemented most of these tips consistently and will still feel fatigued, and have food cravings to some extent. This is because the dominant hormone in the later half of your cycle (progesterone) will cause your metabolism to increase slightly and is associated with a higher appetite. As hormones drop right before your period, energy levels will be low and there is no going around that.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
Hormone Levels and PMS
Your cycle is effected primarily by these hormones:
- Vitamin D (yes its a hormone)
All of these hormones are needed to work in harmony with each other in order to achieve little to no PMS symptoms. Therefore, lifestyle and environmental factors such as:
What causes PMS
- STRESS (mental or physical (over exercise)
- Exposure to endocrine disruptors
- High toxic load
- Poor Diet
- Thyroid issues
- Food allergies
- blood sugar imbalance
Lets dive deeper into some of these causes to shed light on some issues that may be contributing to your own PMS issues.
PMS is a sign of high stress levels (cortisol) as when you are stressed at work or exercising too heavily, your body will prioritize the production of cortisol instead of progesterone (the calming hormone). Therefore, throwing your hormones out of balance. Too high of stress levels can even stop your period all together because your body does not like being in a constant “fight or flight” mode. The body sees stress as a threat and thinks conditions are not optimal to have a baby so your reproductive system will shut down.
Read more about a missing period: HERE
Endocrine disruptors can cause PMS and are found in everyday products such as plastic bottles, food cans, cosmetics, food, pesticides, and detergents. Now, I do not buy organic everything because my wallet would suffer greatly. However, you can do your best to buy organic products, natural makeup (or take it back on the foundation) and buy local fruits an veggies you know are pesticide free. No one is perfect and you do not have to be perfect with this! do your best and forget the rest and be mindful of the products you purchase.
High Toxic load
The use of chemicals these days is alarming. Not only does a high toxic load cause PMS but it can cause digestive issues, skin irritation, fatigue, and even body odor! Xenoestrogens have become prevalent in this day in age and act like estrogens in the body. This causes issues such as PMS due to estrogen dominance.
Did you know: toxins can be in the tampon you use! I use these TOXIN free tampons from tampon tribe to reduce the toxic load going into my body. Check them out!
By diet, I mean the way you eat not how much you eat or keto or low carb or any kind of fad diet. Dieting can actually cause added stress on the body due to calorie restriction. In addition to eating adequately and regularly, i recommend following the “cycle syncing method” as it is a way to support your fluctuating hormones all throughout your cycle. However, a balanced amount of proteins, carbs, and fats are really all you need to see some positive changes. be mindful of the quality of food you put in your body and prioritize whole foods.
It is best to see your doctor in regards to determining if there is disruption in your thyroid hormones. A blood test will give you a lot more insight on thyroid function. However, one can determine if they have hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormones) by tracking their cycle. When you track your cycle or chart you track your basal body temperatures in the morning. When temps are consistently low, this means you may have hypothyroidism and it can also mean you have low progesterone. both resulting in heightened PMS symptoms.
Food allergies and intolerances can flare up IBS and indigestion. Usually, a woman will have an intolerance to a common food allergen or one that is consumed on a daily basis. These common allergens cause inflammation in the gut which leads to elevated PMS symptoms. Some of the food allergens that may be causing PMS include: Wheat, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, eggs, gluten, alcohol, and sweeteners. Try to avoid the common allergens that are dominant in your own diet as those are most likely the ones causing issues.
Blood sugar Levels
When one eats high amounts of sugar, then the body must also produce high amounts of insulin to convert glucose into energy. If insulin needs to released in high mounts, estrogen and testosterone can rise causing increased PMS symptoms. In addition, unstable blood sugar levels can cause the release of cortisol (stress) and progesterone (needed for ovulation). If too much progesterone is being used, there may not be enough to support ovulation and fertility.
some ways to balance bloods sugar levels is to eat balanced meals, limit coffee (especially on an empty stomach), and reduce the amount of added sugars in your diet.
In conclusion, PMS is very common but not many women know it is not normal! I struggled with low progesterone, a missing period, and PMS symptoms for most of my life. My hormones where out of whack all the time and I had no idea why until I did some digging myself. With the help of cleaning up my diet, limiting stressors, and balancing blood sugar levels while keeping inflammation down was the key to my success, and it can be the key to yours too.
I hope you found this helpful xx