PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
PMS refers to the cyclic occurrence in some women of a variety of undesirable symptoms before getting their period. Symptoms can be physical, emotional or a combination of both. There are many symptoms of PMS and they can range from mild to intense. Extreme premenstrual syndrome symptoms are known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD. PMDD is very debilitating and can also be addressed through natural treatment. Here we list some of the more common symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of PMS?
- mood swings & irritable behaviour
- appetite changes & food cravings
- fluid retention
- abdominal bloating
- breast tenderness
- constipation or diarrhea
- acne flare-ups
What causes Premenstrual Syndrome?
It can be caused by a number of factors:
- Diet – Your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs. Deficiencies of vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids are associated with worse PMS symptoms. Our naturopaths will assess which of these you may be lacking and supplement appropriately.
- Stress – Stress wreaks havoc on your body, your hormones, and your emotions, potentially making your symptoms worse. Exercise, along with naturopathic treatment, is the best way to balance hormones and relieve stress.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture can help with your symptoms while getting to the cause of your PMS. Our naturopathic doctors and acupuncturist help relieve PMS symptoms.
- Neurotransmitter imbalance – An imbalance in the neurotransmitter serotonin has been associated with particularly severe PMS, termed PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. There are nutritional and supplement means of correcting neurotransmitter imbalances.
- Hormone imbalance – The most common hormonal presentation in PMS is estrogen dominance, which means having relatively higher estrogen than progesterone. Herbs help correct that imbalance. Through diet, we improve the excessive production of estrogen. PMDD has also been associated with excessive levels of the hormone dihydro-progesterone or DHP. Facilitating glucuronidation, a process that allows the liver to remove excess DHP can help PMDD symptoms.
Your naturopathic doctor will work with you to help you get to the root cause of your symptoms. We’ll devise the most appropriate natural treatment for you so that you can feel like yourself no matter what day of your cycle it is.
By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopath, updated Jan. 6, 2020
Natural Treatment Research
This research highlights just a few of the natural remedies that our naturopathic doctors can use to help you tackle your symptoms and get to the root of the problem. We have many natural treatment options. If you’ve already tried these, we have many other possible treatments to help you.
Vitex agnus castus
Vitex agnus castus extract was found to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for the relief of mild to moderate PMS symptoms. Source: Acta Med Iran. 2012; 50(2):101-6.
Magnesium and vitamin B6
A study found that supplementation with magnesium and vitamin B6 led to the greatest decrease in PMS symptoms. Source: Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 401-405, December 2010.
Taking a daily omega-3 supplement led to a reduction in PMS symptoms including decreased severity and duration of depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and bloating. Source: Complementary Therapies in Medicine Jan 2013 (In press).
The limited evidence available suggests that acupuncture and acupressure may improve both physical and psychological symptoms of PMS when compared to a sham control. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Aug 14;8:CD005290. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005290.pub2. [Epub ahead of print] Acupuncture and acupressure for premenstrual syndrome. Armour M1, Ee CC, Hao J, Wilson TM, Yao SS, Smith CA.
High dose vitamin D supplementation can reduce the prevalence of PMS and dysmenorrhea as well as has positive effects on the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. Bahrami A1,2, Avan A2,3, Sadeghnia HR4, Esmaeili H5, Tayefi M6, Ghasemi F7, Nejati Salehkhani F8, Arabpour-Dahoue M8, Rastgar-Moghadam A2, Ferns GA9, Bahrami-Taghanaki H10, Ghayour-Mobarhan M3. High dose vitamin D supplementation can improve menstrual problems, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome in adolescents. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2018 Aug;34(8):659-663. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2017.1423466. Epub 2018 Feb 15.
The results of this study indicate the efficacy of C. sativus L. in the treatment of PMS. Agha-Hosseini M1, Kashani L, Aleyaseen A, Ghoreishi A, Rahmanpour H, Zarrinara AR, Akhondzadeh S. Crocus sativus L. (saffron) in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: a double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial. BJOG. 2008 Mar;115(4):515-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01652.x.