PMS Blues

Premenstrual Syndrome happens at any age, until menopause, for 1 day to 2 weeks preceding a menstrual cycle. Symptoms are carbohydrate cravings, aggression, teariness, depression, fatigue, fluid retention, sore breasts/nipples and abdominal bloating.

What on earth could be going on?

A short biochemistry lesson explains why. In the first 2 weeks of a woman’s cycle, estrogen is the dominant hormone and progesterone is but a trickle, waiting for mid cycle when the egg pops out of the ovary leaving a sac to produce a huge spurt of progesterone. Progesterone is then meant to dominate the 2nd half of the cycle until both progesterone and estrogen then drop and a ‘period’ occurs.

Estrogen’s role is to build up the uterine lining (and breasts) ready for implantation, and progesterone ‘struts’ up these blood filled tissues making them firm. If the mid-cycle ovulation is missing or unhealthy, the progesterone spurt doesn’t occur and estrogen is left to run rampant, over-building tissues and causing sore breasts, abdominal bloating and heavy periods. Therefore fragile tissues slough off in chunks because progesterone didn’t firm them up adequately.

So then, the solution comes from asking WHY progesterone wasn’t produced adequately or why estrogen remained dominating the 2nd half of the cycle. There is a lot of knowledge now about the answers to these questions. At this level, intervention can be made with very successful results for PMS sufferers.

We enter a century with more and more chemical challenges from spray residues in our foods, to antibiotics in our chicken and milk, to drug effects and alcohol, cigarettes and illicit substances; not to mention PCB (plastics) and heavy metal contamination. Any of these will create extra liver detox work, especially the special detox pathway using sulphur called Sulfation, and the Methylation detox pathway using folic acid, B6, B12, SAMe and Zinc.

We exist in a world of greater expectations, more and more regulations and restrictions as well as looming financial crisis – just what we all call STRESS. Stress elicits cortisol stress hormone, and this can impede a successful ovulation. So then the menstrual cycle is disrupted and PMS is the result.

After the most likely causes are identified intervention may commence. Stress management, mediation, relaxation or time management may be of greatest importance. Otherwise, it could be dietary changes or nutrient supplementation.

Some herbs are known to have progesterogenic effects and certain ‘smart nutrients’ such as SAMe have powerful estrogen detox ability. Another tool now available is salivary assays collected through the whole menstrual cycle to view the interactions between estrogen and progesterone. Not just a spot check on day one.

So if you suffer PMS, endeavor to identify causes. Generally a bit of estrogen dominance will be occurring from either failure of ovulation to occur or failure of liver detox to control estrogen by-products. Simple interventions with zinc level correction and selected forms of B6 supplementation often do the trick. If more expert intervention is needed feel free to seek advice here are Professional Naturopathics.

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