3 Causes of PMS
PMS is something that affects many women and unfortunately most women seem to think that it is something normal, to be expected at “that time of the month.” Bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings and increased appetite are just some symptoms that plague women for a few days up to a couple of weeks before their period and unfortunately much of the medical community leads us to believe that these symptoms are simply an unfortunate part of being a woman. In the mean time these symptoms not only feel uncomfortable, but can contribute to self esteem issues, relationship troubles, and an overall quality of life.
I want to let you in on a little secret. YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIVE LIKE THAT!
When it comes to PMS, Naturopathic Doctors have many tools to get to the root of your hormone imbalance and get you feeling like yourself for the whole month, without the use of “the pill.” Here is a little bit of information about how to eliminate PMS for good.
PMS is usually caused by 3 different issues, progesterone deficiency, estrogen excess and inflammation.
Progesterone is produced by the ovaries once a woman ovulates and is naturally produced at a higher level than estrogen in the second half of a woman’s cycle. If progesterone isn’t high enough in after ovulation then women may experience low mood or anxiety, headaches, sleep disturbances and extreme hunger before their period. All of which can last up to 2 weeks.
Estrogen is usually produced in highest amounts before ovulation, but for some women estrogen levels get out of control resulting in very high levels all cycle, leading to many unwanted symptoms. There are many causes of estrogen dominance such as issues with detoxification, high stress, excess intake of caffeine and alcohol and exposure to estrogen mimicking chemicals in self-care products and plastics. It is not difficult to end up with high estrogen levels with the lifestyles we live and the environment that we are exposed to. This often results in bloating, breast tenderness and irritability before menses. If this is coupled with low progesterone which is often the case in Perimenopause you can have even more unwanted symptoms and they will often be much more severe.
Chronic inflammation can cause an array of problems, in addition to increasing the severity of PMS. Inflammation can prevent ovulation therefore keeping progesterone low. It can also decrease our abilities to detoxify estrogen. It is suggested that this is directly related to stress, cortisol production as well as blood sugar control leaving our hormones in disarray.
There are several tools that can be used to manage these issues. It is important to note that even though you have PMS you may not be affected by all 3 and so hormone testing might be necessary depending on your case.
Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND