PMS Symptoms Change Each Cycle; Here Are 11 Tips To Help Combat Them

PMS Symptoms Change Each Cycle; Here Are 11 Tips To Help Combat Them

This guest blog post was written by Sabina Braverman, MPA, with tips from a group of phenomenal and passionate practitioners from around the world.

Disclaimer: the information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not designed to replace individualized recommendations from a practitioner. Always check with your doctor before adding supplements or making changes to your treatment plan.

PMS. Three letters that come with a host of symptoms, ranging from the emotional to the physical, typically starting one to two weeks before menstruation.

With the first ever National Period Day coming up on October 19th, we thought it was a great time to provide some education around this syndrome, which 90% of women report having during their cycles.

Read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as to discover some natural tips for symptom relief from eleven brilliant practitioners.

"The symptoms of PMS can be physical and emotional"

PMS 101

What is PMS?

PMS is a set of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the days leading up to the start of the menstrual cycle. These symptoms can potentially interfere with daily activities and can sometimes be so severe as to prevent a woman from attending work or school.
 
Although the causes of PMS aren't fully understood, it is believed that falling levels of estrogen and progesterone after ovulation lead to its symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of PMS?

The symptoms of PMS can be divided into two categories: physical and emotional. You likely won't experience all of these symptoms at once, but if they begin to interfere with your daily life, you should seek medical advice. It's interesting to note is that symptoms of PMS may vary throughout your life; sometimes you may be bloated and anxious and other times you may have tender breasts and insomnia.
 
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

Physical symptoms of PMS include:

      • Cramping
      • Tender Breasts
      • Headache
      • Hormonal Acne
      • Bloating
      • Abdominal Pain
      • Fatigue
EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS

Emotional symptoms of PMS include:

      • Angry Outbursts
      • Depression
      • Anxiety
      • Crying Spells
      • Insomnia
      • Confusion
      • Social Withdrawal
      • Exhaustion
      • Appetite Changes
      • Irritability
      • Decreased Sex Drive

How Do I Know If I Have PMS?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a provider must be able to identify a specific pattern of symptoms to diagnose a woman with PMS.

These symptoms must:

      • Be present in the five days before menstruation, for three consecutive menstrual cycles.
      • Interfere with some normal activities.
      • Conclude within four days after the start of menstruation.

ACOG recommends keeping a thorough record of symptoms for at least 2-3 months to help your doctor come to a diagnosis.

Need help with tracking your symptoms? Here are some free resources that you can use to get started!

NOTE: PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a more serious form of PMS, which is known to affect less than 5% of women of childbearing age.

 

Peace Out, PMS

Tired of dealing with the symptoms of PMS? Check out these fantastic tips from eleven passionate practitioners taken from our free Period Tips e-book.
1. Magnesium is a Must
Registered dietitian and in-house nutrition expert at Betches Media, Tracy Beckerman (MS, RDN), says you should "enjoy magnesium rich foods to help relax your uterus, and yes, that means dark chocolate counts.”
 
2. Eat Cruciferous Veggies
Author and founder of Fertile Foods, Kathryn Flynn (B.Ed) suggests that you "eat cruciferous vegetables to help the body properly metabolize estradiol.”
 
3. Eat High-fiber Foods
According to certified women’s health coach, Jolinda Johnson (CHHC, M.S.Ed), you should "try supplementing with a B-complex vitamin and magnesium glycinate throughout your cycle to ease anxiety and mood swings in the days leading up to your period. Eat foods high in fiber to encourage the daily elimination of excess estrogen and avoid coffee, alcohol, and foods high in sugar which will cause fluctuations in blood sugar and make PMS symptoms worse."
 
4. Treat Your Body Well
“Treat your body well all month long and not just the week before your period,” says registered dietician nutritionist and women’s health expert Cory Levin (MS, RDN).
 
5. Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
According to period guru and functional nutrition practitioner, Jenna Longoria (FDN-P),"we should eat well everyday but make it a priority to eat an anti-inflammatory and low histamine diet in the luteal phase especially. Address any emotional blockages and connect with your cycle by charting.”
 
6. Support Ovulation with Seeds
Naturopathic doctor, Dr. Meghan McNaughton (ND), explains that "low progesterone levels can cause breast tenderness, bloating, loose stool, and insomnia around your period. You can reduce these symptoms by supporting ovulation, since this will increase progesterone. Flaxseed and organic soy are phytoestrogens, which means they help balance high and low estrogen levels. Sunflower seeds naturally boost progesterone. You can add them to salads, trail mix, or use them as toppings on smoothie bowls.”
 
7. Catch Some Zzzzs
Functional nutrition practitioner, Amanda Montalvo (RD, FDN-P) suggests you "track your cycle and make sure you know when you will be getting your period so that you can only do what is essential for the day before and the first couple days of your cycle. It’s okay to take it easy—your body will thank you. Also, get more sleep. Aim for at least 8-9 hours a night the week before your period and you will likely have reduced symptoms.”
 
8. Destress Your Life
According to Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Kim Perez (MA, NTP), you must “manage your stress. Chronic stress directly interferes with our hormones, especially those that control our cycle. Some tips for doing this: set boundaries (say “no” more!), establish a morning routine, get to bed at the same time each night and prioritize 8 hours of sleep, practice gratitude and meditation, and do something every day that relaxes you and/or brings you joy.”
 
9. Track Your Symptoms
Naturopathic doctor Dr. Alexsia Priolo (ND) , suggests you "track your symptoms using the Daily Record of Severity of Problems. It’ll give you an idea of which symptoms are worse before your period and that will give you and your doc an idea of what treatment will work best for you!”
 
10. Be Compassionate (and Eat Protein)

Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Caleigh Sumner (ND), asserts that you must “be compassionate with yourself. Sometimes people deserve that extra dose of sassiness! But if they don’t, up your protein intake in the second half of your cycle. The vitamin B6 content in lean meats is helpful for combating PMS.”

11. Test Your Hormones

Registered nurse and founder of Holistic Health Code, Megan Tantillo (RN), says you should “test your hormones on days 3 and 21 of your cycle. PMS is often caused by hormonal imbalance which can be remedied. You don’t have to suffer, girlfriend!”


 

About The Practitioners

Tracy Beckerman is a registered dietitian with a focus on women's health. She is the in-house nutrition expert at Betches Media and is writing a book about period health, coming out in Fall 2019.
 
Kathryn Flynn is the author of the cookbook Cooking for Fertility and Founder of Fertile Foods. She provides nutrition support for fertility and healthy pregnancy to women worldwide.
 
Jolinda Johnson is a Women's Health Coach who empowers her clients to become their own experts by giving them the support they need to experience balanced hormones, pain-free periods, and fearless fertility.
 
Cory Levin is a Registered Dietitian and runs a virtual private practice out of San Francisco, CA where she specializes in hormone health, fertility, and digestion.
 
Jenna Longoria aka The Period Guru, is a board certified women's health practitioner specializing in hormonal health. She helps women reclaim their hormones by working with them to achieve pain-free, regular periods and optimize their fertility through the use of functional nutrition and diagnostic testing.
 
Dr McNaughton is a Naturopathic Doctor with a special interest in women's health, fertility, and digestion. She works with her patients to identify the underlying cause and barriers that are preventing them from reaching their health goals.
 
Amanda Montalvo is an Integrative Dietitian that runs Your Non Toxic Life, a blog, nutrition consulting service, and Facebook group that helps women detoxify their minds and bodies and balance their hormones.
 
Kim Perez is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and owner of Root and Branch Nutrition. She specializes in women's health and wellness, focusing on concerns such as fatigue and chronic stress, irregular and painful periods, thyroid imbalances, digestive symptoms, infertility, weight loss and more. Kim is passionate about whole-self nourishment, prioritizing self care, and living with intention.
 
Dr. Alexsia Priolo is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Canada with a special interest in the menstrual cycle and fertility.
 
Dr. Sumner was born and raised with naturopathic medicine! She is a fertility guru and reproductive medicine fanatic and she believes in the power of women helping women.
 
Megan is the nurse-founder of Holistic Health Code, a virtual health clinic providing accessible and evidence-based holistic care. Passionate about finding root cause, Megan specializes in women's health and natural hormone solutions.

In case you missed it, be sure to download our “How to Have Happy Hormones” guide today for some more tips about topics like Dysmenorrhea, Endometriosis, Hormonal Acne, PCOS, Perimenopause, and PMS.

Also, check out our two most recent blog posts all about breast cancer and PCOS.

Thank you to the wonderful women that made this booklet possible!



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