Sunday, February 08, 2009
By Ursula Mack, N.M.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
What is PMS? One out of two women ask this question. The definition of PMS is that it is a hormonal disorder characterized by a regularly recurring group of symptoms which occur two to 14 days before a women's menstrual period, and usually disappear after menstruation begins, followed by a symptom free time in the menstrual cycle.
Menstrual cramps are not the same as PMS. Menstrual cramps are just that. Cramps may be caused by a magnesium/calcium deficiency or inflammation of the uterine tissue.
There are over 32 symptoms of PMS. Here is a list of some of the most common ones: irritability anxiety, tension, depression, crying for no reason, weight gain, migraine headaches, increase in appetite, cravings, fatigue, panic attacks, and many more
To find out if you have PMS, keep a log of your symptoms for 3 consecutive cycles. Day 1 of your period is the first day of your cycle. On a scale of 1-3, track the severity of your symptoms with 1 being mild and 3 being severe. Write down the symptom i.e., anxiety and then write down the severity. You will see a pattern. Take these symptoms to your practitioner.
What causes PMS? Medical science says there is no cure, but you may find relief with proper diet and natural substances. Some causes are vitamin-mineral deficiencies, (a diet lacking in calcium/magnesium, Vitamin E and B6), a diet high in fats and refined flour and sugar, low blood sugar, progesterone deficiency, excess prolactin (a pituitary hormone), stress, psychosomatic causes, and chronic yeast infection. When the liver becomes compromised in its function, it unable to break down the estrogen in our body. The resulting excess of estrogen and fats causes a large hormonal fluctuation before the menstrual period, resulting in PMS symptoms.
What can you do? Change in diet is a major factor in helping reduce PMS symptoms. Reduce or eliminate caffeine and chocolate. They increase mood swings and increase fibrocystic changes in the breast. High salt may lead to fluid retention. Reduce polyunsaturated fats. Use Safflower oil or Olive oil. Bad fat causes the body to make Prostaglandin 2, which causes inflammation in the tissues. Avoid dairy products. If you are going to use dairy, use only certified organic products. Increase your intake of fish-omega oils, (salmon is very high in this). EPA-DHA and primrose oil to help with estrogen balance. Increase your intake of natural fiber. There are also natural herbs available to help with your symptoms. Discuss this with your practitioner. Exercise 3 times a weeks for 1 hour or take a 20-minute walk every day. Find an exercise that you will enjoy and stick with it.
C. J. was a woman who came to me with fatigue, headaches, mood swings and heavy menstrual periods. After documenting her symptoms, we first discussed how she could relieve some of the stress in her life. One of the first things I suggested to her was to take time for herself and eliminate the caffeine in her diet. I asked her to decrease her consumption of red meats and increase her consumption of fish, fruits, vegetables and leafy vegetables. I gave her homeopathic remedies, to relieve her symptoms of headache, mood swings, and heavy menstrual periods. After some time, she called me and reported that she never felt better in her life.
Should you have symptoms of PMS, I invite you to call me for an appointment. Following a Health Appraisal for PMS, we can arrive at a customized plan that will fit your life style. Part of that plan is obtaining a very accurate hormone test using saliva. This saliva test measures DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, melatonin, and testosterone levels - all components of hormonal balance. The results of this test determine needed supplementation and natural hormonal replacement therapy for relieving symptoms and restoring a normal hormone balance.
Dr. Mack, N.M.D. graduated from a school of natural health with a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. She also has a Diploma in Homeopathy and is a Certified and Registered Hypnotherapist. She has been in Clinical practice since 1996. With 25 years experience in the medical field, she has had a varied background in the health field. She has written varies articles, taught classes and given lectures in the area of health improvement. She also has extensive experience in the area of personal development, working as a trainer for Anthony Robbins and teaching and writing modules in stress management. Dr. Mack provides a natural holistic approach as a compassionate, sensitive, well trained, and highly competent practitioner. She provides the very best client care possible and delivers results that her client's seek.