Your PMS management strategy
It is estimated that 85% of women experience pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) – I’m one of them. This can include a wide range of symptoms such as low mood, irritability, tearfulness, being extra sensitive, tiredness, headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, spot outbreaks and food cravings for sugar, salt or carbohydrates. The symptoms usually start in the second half of the cycle and stop by the end of the period – hence why you know it is PMS rather than something else due to the cyclical nature.
PMS affects women at any age, but often becomes worse during the perimenopause due to the changing hormone levels.
When PMS is bad you can start getting symptoms two weeks before your period and feel awful – and those around you will probably notice the change in your mood. Once you get it under control you may find it only starts a few days before your period and is much less noticeable both to you and others. I used to use the PMS symptoms as my warning that my period is due, but some months I don’t get the early warning signal now as my period can start without me experiencing any telltale symptoms.
These are some of the things that I’ve found helpful in managing PMS symptoms, both in myself and others.
It’s ironic that one of the things we crave can actually make the problem worse. As our blood sugar levels rise when we eat sugary foods, this releases insulin, which in turn increases oestrogen which can make our hormone imbalance worse and so drive further symptoms. Reducing sugar intake and focusing on balancing blood sugar levels by eating more wholegrains, proteins and healthy fats can help to balance hormones. Have a look at my bloods sugar balance blog for more ideas on how to do this.
Reduce salty foods
Again, we often crave salty foods as part of PMS, but too much salt can make any fluid retention and bloating worse.
Support your liver
Supporting your liver can help to ensure that hormones are broken down into less harmful compounds and removed from the body, so helping to balance any hormonal symptoms. One of the best ways to support the liver is to include plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower and cabbage in your diet. Have a look at my liver blog for more ideas on how to support your liver.
Include healthy fats in your diet
Not all fat is bad, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil can help to balance hormones.
Reduce stress levels
If we are already feeling tired, irritable or tearful then the last thing we need is to feel stressed as well as this can just make the symptoms worse. When we are producing cortisol our stress hormone, this can also increase the level of hormone imbalance by reducing progesterone levels. Taking time out to relax can help to reduce the symptoms of PMS. See my blog for ideas on how to reduce stress levels.
Choose drinks wisely
Alcohol can increase oestrogen levels and so exacerbate any hormone imbalance. It also gives the liver extra work to do, when we need the liver to be focusing on hormone breakdown. Caffeine can increase levels of breast tenderness and too much caffeine can also increase levels of cortisol which in turn affect hormone levels. Instead opt for calming herbal teas such as chamomile or peppermint to help with bloating.
If you would like a personalised plan for managing your PMS symptoms, then do book in for a free hormone health review to find out more.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.