Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Premenstrual Syndrome

Today, PMS still is often misunderstood and mistreated. Unfortunately, conventional medicine tends to emphasize treatment of PMS symptoms rather than the hormonal imbalance that is the true underlying cause.

PMS is not a disease but a syndrome; that is, it is a pattern of symptoms that may or may not have a logical connection. Symptoms vary from woman to woman, with the most common being cramping, bloating, breast tenderness, leg aches or backaches, nausea and various indigestion problems, diarrhea, headache, pimples and skin rashes, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, weepiness, and increased fastidiousness. It is therefore not surprising that conventional medicine has not found a cure for this syndrome.

PMS is common, occurring in 75% of women of reproductive age. For two to ten days before the onset of menstruation, millions (if not billions) of women are affected by a wide range of physical discomforts and mood disorders, including bloating, depression, insomnia, severe pain, uncontrollable rage, crying jags, and, in the most severe cases, suicidal depression.

Treatments for PMS

Start with foods. Strawberries, watermelon, artichokes, asparagus, parsley, horsetail herb (or organic silica), and watercress are all great natural diuretics, and should be added to the diet during PMS. Other beneficial foods include raw sunflower seeds, dates, figs, peaches, bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates and watch your sodium intake (use natural sea salt).

Diet plays a role in PMS, and avoiding the following foods can help to lessen the severity of the discomfort for most women: salt and licorice (licorice stimulates the production of aldosterone, which causes further retention of sodium and water). Likewise, avoid cold and icy drinks/foods. Here are some additional treatments:

  • Herbal treatments may work by stimulating the pituitary gland or by affecting dopamine or opioid receptors. There are several herbs that can help alleviate the symptoms of PMS. Dong Quai works for many women by eliminating water retention, and chasteberry and the Chinese herb xiao yao san are great for relief of abdominal cramping. Black cohosh herb is great for counteracting night sweats. You can also take 500 mg of evening primrose oil for an overall tonic and St. John’s wort for calming the nerves. 
  • Maca root is reported to help with PMS and has been used for centuries by women in the Andes region. 
  • Supplement your diet with foods high in calcium and B vitamins, like green leafy vegetables and legumes,  and exercise will help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Stay away from caffeine, which destroys B vitamins, potassium, and zinc while irritating the alimentary canal and increasing the desire for sugar, which further exacerbates PMS. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol, as it depletes magnesium and damages the liver, and like coffee, leads to an acid condition.
  •   Get out in the sunshine, it increases your vitamin D intake and may help elevate your mood.

No comments:

Post a Comment