Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome, more commonly know as PMS, is a disorder that
affects high numbers-almost 75 percent-of menstruating women. It usually
occurs a week or two before bleeding begins and is characterized by a wide
range of symptoms including (but not limited to) bloating, breast
tenderness, emotional changes, cramps, and fatigue. Some women with PMS
experience just one or two of these symptoms and find them quite mild and
tolerable; others are hit with several symptoms, each so intense as to be
incapacitating. Most women's symptoms exist somewhere between the two
extremes, producing a moderate level of discomfort and at least some
disruption of daily activities.
Because so many women experience PMS, Western medicine long considered most
PMS symptoms a normal part of womanhood. If a woman had debilitating PMS,
she was likely to be dismissed-to a Western doctor, her symptoms were
clearly "all in her head." We now know that PMS is a physical disorder-and
a highly treatable one, at that.
Each month, a woman's hormones follow a predictable cycle of change. Some
fluctuation is absolutely normal and necessary, but when the ups and downs
become severe, or when the different kinds of hormones needed to regulate
body functions are knocked out of balance, the result is water retention,
cramps, fatigue, or any of the other symptoms of PMS. Hormone imbalance is
a common problem with PMS. While excessive estrogen and progesterone
deficiency (or an imbalanced ratio between the two) are believed by many
practitioners and researchers to be the key imbalance, there can also be
issues with elevated prolactin (pituitary hormone), increased aldosterone
(adrenal gland dysfunction), serotonin deficiency, and thyroid abnormality
(usually, low thyroid). One must also consider the role of the liver with
PMS, as it is responsible for metabolizing hormones. Improving liver
function with natural therapies often helps to lessen the symptoms of PMS.
Poor diet and nutritional deficiencies can be root problems of PMS as well.
One must also consider the role of "hormone disrupters" in the environment,
such as pesticides and herbicides.
In addition, PMS can be caused or aggravated by food allergies, seasonal
affective disorder, stress, and depression; a wise course of treatment will
address each of these potential triggers. If you have severe PMS that is
not resolved by using the home treatments suggested here, consult with a
holistic doctor. You may have an underlying disorder, such as hypoglycemia
or an under active thyroid.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help Premenstrual Syndrome
The Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark
Premenstrual Syndrome - PMS
Super Prescription #1
Women’s Balance - PMS Formula
- LifeSource Product - This exclusive
formula was scientifically engineered to support the
normal hormone function of today's active female. With
Wild Yam, Borage Oil, Dong Quai and more, this
perfectly balanced blend of potent herbal extracts and
essential fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) may encourage
normal menstruation, reduce the severity of cramps and
support a healthy positive mood.
Super Prescription # 2 Homeopathic Combination PMS
Take as directed on the container. It contains a blend
of the most common homeopathic remedies for PMS. It's
very effective for acute relief of can be used
Super Prescription #3
Vitamin B Complex
- LifeSource Products – See All of our
Vitamin B Products
Take 50 mg daily. Numerous studies have found vitamin
B6 to help PMS. It works synergistically with magnesium
as a co-factor for estrogen metabolism by the liver.
Super Prescription #4
- LifeSource Product - Take 250 mg
twice daily. Magnesium is a co-factor required for the
metabolism of estrogen, and it relieves cramping.
Super Prescription #5
Progesterone Creme - Natural
- LifeSource Product - Apply 1/4
teaspoon (10 mg) twice daily to areas of thin skin,
such as the insides of your forearms and your wrists,
beginning after ovulation (approximately Day 15 if you
have a regular 28-day cycle) until one day before your
period begins. Natural progesterone is a stronger
therapy for women with severe PMS.
Super Prescription #6
Calcium / Magnesium
– LifeSource Products -
See All of our Cal/Mag Products.
Take 600 mg twice daily. Studies have shown that this
mineral prevents PMS.
Super Prescription #7
Take 300 to 500 mg twice daily, on the last seven days
of your cycle. Dong quai reduces the painful cramps and
the breast tenderness that are associated with menses.
It is thought to relax the smooth muscles of the
uterus, thereby relieving cramps.
Click here to see all products, articles and
studies for PMS
Loss of concentration
Mental confusion and fatigue
Change in libido
Weight gain (fluid)
Pelvic discomfort and pain
Change in bowel habits
Generalized aches and pains
Seasonal affective disorder
Environmental toxins (e.g. pesticides)
Poor liver function
A diet that's high in meat, fat, sugar, and salt will make hormones
fluctuate out of control and will intensify the symptoms of PMS. It has
been shown that vegetarian women have much less circulating free estrogen
in their blood than nonvegetarian women do. This does not mean you have to
become totally vegetarian. However, it does suggest that a diet that
focuses on plant foods leads to less circulating estrogen, thus decreasing
one's susceptibility to PMS. A good, wholesome diet can significantly
reduce or even eliminate problems altogether.
Meals based on whole, high-fiber foods will balance your blood sugar, ease
digestive problems, and reduce stress on your liver. Vegetables, fruits,
whole grains, legumes, herbs, nuts, and seeds should be plentiful in the
Fermented soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso, can also help
prevent PMS, due to their hormone-balancing phytonutrients.
Make sure your animal products (meal, poultry, etc.) are hormone free.
Eat at least two servings of green leafy vegetables every day. They're a
good source of calcium, which supports and calms the nervous system, and
they also have a diuretic effect.
Essential fatty acids, found in cold-water fish, flax seeds, and flax seed
oil, will reduce inflammation.
Consume 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily, along with 10 ounces of
water, to promote healthy estrogen metabolism.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of PMS. Add
wheat germ or brewer's yeast to one of your meals every day.
Foods to Avoid
A diet that's low in saturated fat (the type found in red meat and dairy
products) helps reduce excess estrogen levels. It is also important to
avoid harmful fats, such as trans-fatty acids, which occur in margarine and
partially hydrogenated oils. Studies have shown that women who follow a
low-fat diet experience a reduction in PMS symptoms.
Food allergies often mimic the symptoms of PMS or make existing symptoms
worse. If you can identify foods that give you trouble, eliminate them from
your diet completely.
Sugar throws blood-sugar levels off balance, promoting mood swings and
tension. Excessive consumption of highly refined sugar can deplete valuable
reserves of chromium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and B vitamins. These
nutrients are necessary for the metabolism of sugar. Sugar also worsens
symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), especially premenstrually,
resulting in symptoms of irritability, poor concentration, sugar cravings,
and headaches. Restrict your intake of sugar food throughout the month, and
eliminate it during the two weeks before your period.
If you retain water, drastically restrict your consumption of sodium.
Processed and junk foods are the highest sources of salt in the American
Restrict caffeine-containing products, such as coffee, soft drinks,
chocolate, and some pain relievers. Caffeine worsens PMS symptoms, such as
anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness. Instead of coffee, we recommend
that you focus on herbal teas, such as peppermint and chamomile.
Alcohol has a dehydrating effect, which only makes many PMS symptoms worse.
It also wreaks havoc on your blood-sugar levels. Avoid it during the two
weeks before your period.
Every month, plan a vegetable juice fast for one to two days before your
symptoms usually begin. If they don't begin at a predictable time, do the
fast two weeks before your period starts. This fast will help eliminate the
toxins, especially the environmental estrogens, that make PMS worse, and it
also gives your liver a break from processing hormonal imbalances.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate) gently relaxes the nervous system
and improves symptoms of restlessness, irritability, and insomnia. Take
2 ml or 300 mg three times daily for anxiety and irritability.
Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale) lessens the water retention that
is associated with PMS. Take 3 ml or 300 mg three times daily for the
one to two weeks before your cycle when you experience water retention.
Zinc has been shown to be low in women with PMS. Take 15 to 30 mg daily
as part of a multivitamin.
Vitamin E-complex helps to effectively reduce the breast tenderness
that is associated with PMS. It has also been shown to significantly
reduce other PMS symptoms. We recommend 400 to 800 IU daily. Natural
vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), with a blend of mixed tocopherols and
tocotrienols, is best.
Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) is an excellent dietary source
of GLA. This essential fatty acid is a precursor to prostaglandins,
which have a regulating effect on hormones and other systems of the
body. Some studies have shown the benefits of evening primrose oil
supplementation for PMS-related depression, irritability, breast pain
and tenderness, and fluid retention. Take 2,000 mg (200 mg of GLA) to
3,000 mg (300 mg of GLA), along with an oil blend that includes omega-3
fatty acids (flaxseed oil and fish oil).
D-glucarate is a phytonutrient that assists the liver in metabolizing
estrogen. Take 500 mg twice daily.
Indole-3 carbinole assists the liver in metabolizing estrogen. Take 300
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) improves liver detoxification. Take 250
mg of a 80 to 85 percent silymarin extract three times daily.
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) also promotes good liver
detoxification. Take 300 mg three times daily.
Crampbark (Viburnum opulus) is an herb that alleviates menstrual
cramps. Take 3 ml or 500 mg every thirty to sixty minutes for acute
A high-potency multivitamin provides a base of nutrients that promotes
hormonal health. Take as directed on the container.
The supplement 5-HTP reduces depression and anxiety associated with
PMS. Take 50 to 100 mg three times daily for relief of symptoms. Do not
use it if you are taking a pharmaceutical antidepressant or an
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