How can you relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and all its inconveniences – which affect between 60% and 90% of the female population according to studies – can take on very different forms! It’s important to learn how to decipher premenstrual syndrome, which evolves from puberty to the perimenopause (with PMS manifestations often intensifying around the menopause).
Dear SPM, who are you?
In a menstruating pubescent woman, the uterus produces a thick tissue called the “endometrium” (thickened uterine mucosa) each month, in preparation for a possible embryo. But most months, without fertilization resulting in the release of an embryo, the removal of the endometrium triggers the cyclical bleeding we call menstruation. But then, can this cyclical period and its manifestations give us an idea of our general state of health? Yes, they can!
And that’s why it’s so important to observe and understand them: menstruation is also an excellent way for the body to rid itself of toxins! So the more intense the PMS, the more likely it is to indicate a high level of toxemia. As Hippocrates said, “The body makes an illness in order to heal itself”. So let’s learn to cope with it, so we can live with it better and tame it!
The different symptoms of PMS
They are diverse and can vary from one woman to another. The most common are :
- Stomach aches
- Digestion problems (constipation followed by diarrhea, bloating…)
- Water retention, weight gain, congestion (breasts, stomach…)
- Lower back pain
- Mood swings
- Intense fatigue
- Anxiety, irritability
Less frequent (except around the menopause) :
- Joint pain
- Intimate discomfort and pelvic and/or vulvar pain
- Climacteric disorders (hot/cold)
Physiological or psychological?
PMS can also be physiological in origin, i.e. associated with a natural hormonal imbalance of estrogen dominance (or progesterone deficiency) common at puberty and perimenopause. It can also be linked to ill-adapted or incorrectly dosed hormonal treatment (pill or hormone replacement therapy), or amplified by psychological imbalance (chronic stress, emotional shock…). The intensity of PMS can vary considerably from one cycle to the next.
Most of these symptoms are linked to hypersensitivity to sex hormones. Hypersensitization means that cells are more sensitive to the messages carried by hormones.
The ballet of estrogen and progesterone
Hormone secretions vary throughout the cycle, and PMS appears particularly after ovulation, i.e. a few days before the onset of menstruation, when estrogen secretion falls and progesterone secretion rises. The levels of these two hormones then fall, leading to menstruation. These two hormones have antagonistic effects. There is therefore an imbalance in the estrogen/progesterone ratio, which can lead to many PMS symptoms.
Excess estrogen (or insufficient progesterone) may be due to :
- Insufficient hepatic detoxification: the liver plays a central role in estrogen elimination.
- Direct competition between cortisol and progesterone at their common receptors: Progesterone would then no longer be able to bind properly and act, as cortisol monopolizes the receptors.
- Chronic stress: this leads to exhaustion of the adrenal glands, which are unable to function properly. These glands produce the precursors of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. So, when they malfunction, a hormonal imbalance can set in.
Hormones other than sex hormones are also involved in PMS and its symptoms:
Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia and cravings frequently occur before the onset of menstruation. These hypoglycemias are linked to the increased sensitivity of cells to insulin during the premenstrual period. As the ovaries have insulin receptors, too much insulin will over-solicit the ovaries, which will produce excess estrogen or testosterone. This is why eating sweets can make you nervous and irritable.
Melatonin, secreted from serotonin, plays a major role in our biological rhythms: sleep, activity, rest. A reduction in melatonin could lead to sleep and mood disorders. One explanation for sleep disorders in the premenstrual period may lie in the rise in body temperature after ovulation, which may delay peak secretion at night and cause melatonin secretion to stop earlier in the morning.
Dr. Guy Abraham has proposed another classification of premenstrual syndrome, based on the symptoms experienced, with natural solutions adapted to each type:
- A as in “Anxiety”: Irritability, insomnia and mood disorders.
- H is for “Hydration”: With dry skin, swelling and water retention.
- C is for “Craving”: With sugar cravings, hunger pangs and hypoglycemia.
- D as in “Depression”: Confusion, sadness, dark thoughts.NB : Les différents types de SPM peuvent aussi se cumuler entre eux (quelle chance !).
PMS type A for Anxiety
Why is this? Estrogen dominance could overactivate the brain’s excitatory neurotransmitters (noradrenalin, adrenalin, serotonin) and reduce production of dopamine, the happiness hormone.
- Prefer wheat bran and germ, oats and avocado, which contain good quantities of magnesium.
- Avoid dairy products and refined sugars, which promote magnesium leakage.
PMS type H for Hydration
Why is this? An excess of estrogen and a deficiency of dopamine are thought to promote water and salt retention in the tissues.
Nutrients to consider: Vitamin B6, rosemary, magnesium, saffron, griffonia, desmodium, rosemary, pilosella, magnesium, pilosella, nettle…
- Reduce refined sugars and salt.
- Eat a diet with a low glycemic index.
PMS type C as in Craving
Why is this? Excessive consumption of fast sugars (alcohol, sweets, etc.) leads to hypoglycemia phases, linked to increased cell sensitivity to insulin in the premenstrual phase. Deficiencies in chromium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and prostaglandins (derived from essential fatty acids) are thought to be key factors in this metabolic disturbance. This situation is exacerbated by an excess of refined sugars (white bread, white rice, pasta, etc.).
Preferred nutrients: Vitamin B6, ashwagandha, saffron, magnesium, chromium, brewer’s yeast, spirulina, evening primrose, borage…
- Reduce refined sugars.
- Increase fiber intake with less refined foods and essential fatty acids (rapeseed oil, oily fish, etc.).
PMS type D for Depression
Why is this? High progesterone levels (hyperprogesteronemia) are thought to have a depressive effect on the central nervous system. In fact, the high presence of progesterone is thought to cause a drop in serotonin, which can lead to feelings of sadness and affect mood.
Preferred nutrients: magnesium, vitamins B and C, brewer’s yeast, ashwagandha, saffron, griffonia, rhodiola, spirulina, zinc, selenium, rosemary, desmodium…
- Support the liver by performing a hormonal detoxification with broccoli DIM, rosemary or desmodium.
- Combat stress with physical activity, yoga or meditation.
- Adapt your diet by choosing foods with a low glycemic index, rich in magnesium (bananas, oilseeds, dark chocolate, etc.), B and D vitamins and anti-inflammatory fatty acids (omega 3).
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Eat fermented foods rich in pre- and probiotics (kefir, kombucha, fermented foods, etc.).
Premenstrual syndrome reduces women’s quality of life on a daily basis, and solutions are not always easy to implement. That’s why Miyé has developed a range of natural and organic products for women to help them cope with the main symptoms of hormonal imbalance, particularly premenstrual syndrome.