A Functional Medicine Solution to PMS

Of all the incredible things women do, creating and giving life is undoubtedly one of the most important. Our ability to survive as a species relies on a woman’s body to house and deliver a child. This process is demanding and, throughout history, often fatal for both the mother and child. Creating and giving life does not begin with pregnancy; however, it begins when a woman has her first menstrual cycle and is an often overlooked and neglected aspect of this incredible service women do for us. The menstrual cycle is the rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone in preparation for pregnancy in a woman’s body. Whether the woman plans to have a child or not, her body will go through a weeks-long process with an array of anything but comfortable symptoms. These symptoms are often experienced during the pre-menstrual phase of the menstrual cycle and are known as a pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS.

Although millions of women worldwide experience PMS, it is still a highly unknown health issue. The pre-menstrual syndrome can be related to as many as 150 symptoms, including those physical, mental, and emotional. Women everywhere make an effort to manage this monthly cycle, some with greater success than others. Obvious and better-known symptoms include mood swings, food cravings, breast tenderness, cramps, and bloating. However, other symptoms include poor coordination, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, feelings of guilt, and headaches. For many women, it can be difficult to know whether specific symptoms are caused by PMS or not. The cyclical nature of PMS can make connecting symptoms to PMS challenging. Women will often consult a doctor for symptoms related to PMS without realizing it. It is easy to misdiagnose symptoms related to PMS because of how varied the symptoms can be, which makes successfully treating the symptoms difficult.

If your migraines always come the third week of the month, PMS might be the reason you are having migraines. An excellent first step in figuring out whether PMS is causing your symptoms is by tracking the symptoms. Try one of these PMS trackers if you are curious about the symptoms you are experiencing: https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffnt&q=pms+tracker&atb=v178-1&ia=web.

Many doctors will recommend various medications for PMS, including antidepressants, diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and hormonal contraceptives. However, there are many natural ways of treating PMS. Symptoms such as breast tenderness, headaches, bloating, and fluid retention often indicates that there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone in the body. For this, chasteberry can be very helpful. For symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, depression, brain fog, cravings for chocolate and other carbs, anger, and snarkiness are often caused by a steep drop in estrogen during the few days before the period starts. The drop in estrogen can result in a loss of serotonin-the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Two supplements that can help with unhappy moods are the herb St. John’s Wart and the amino acid 5HTP. Moreover, eating nutrient-rich foods, cutting out junk food, and daily exercise can also help with PMS.

Like so many conditions women experience, western medicine is not always the best way to manage PMS. Functional medicine doctors are a great place to get alternative advice about your symptoms. Our chiropractors at The Balancing Center can help you figure out whether your symptoms are PMS-related through our muscle testing techniques. During your next adjustment, feel free to ask Dr. Ken or Dr. Dan if they can help you figure out whether PMS causes your symptoms.

Ellen Chambers

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