Many women come to my office for help with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Naturopathically speaking, the good news is that PMS is treatable. If you have moderate to severe PMS symptoms almost every month, or if your PMS symptoms interfere with your ability to enjoy your relationships or activities, please know that this is “common”, but not “normal” – meaning that menstrual-related difficulties represent imbalances in the body that can and should be corrected with gentle, naturopathic therapies, and there is no need to endure troubling PMS symptoms every month. You can start naturopathic treatment before, during or after using conventional medical therapies for PMS such as the oral contraceptive pill.What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS) anyway?
PMS is a group of symptoms that many women experience in the 7-10 days before the menstrual period. Women may experience physical symptoms such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, acne, headaches or migraines, as well as emotional or mood–related symptoms, such as feelings of weepiness, depression, increased tension or irritability. You may have difficulty concentrating, crave certain foods like chocolate, sugar, alcohol or coffee, or you may experience changes in your sleep patterns. PMS symptoms typically get better soon after your period starts.
Various effective naturopathic therapies are available to treat PMS, including dietary modifications, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and physical treatments. We’ll work together to identify ways to improve your hormonal, reproductive and overall health – keeping in mind that women who are in an optimal state of health will likely experience only mild or no PMS symptoms each month. That’s right, it is possible to have a PMS-free life! It’s my role as a Naturopathic Doctor to identify and remove the underlying causes of your symptoms to provide you with both short-term and lasting relief from the suffering of PMS.
What can I expect when I see my naturopathic doctor (ND)?
When you visit my office with a concern of PMS, I will invite you to tell me about your menstrual cycles and how you feel at different times throughout the month. I may recommend that you have certain lab studies, such as an abdominal or pelvic ultrasound, or blood work done. I’ll take the time to explain my assessment and answer any questions that you may have about how your individualized treatment plan will help you start feeling liberated from the symptoms of PMS.
For more about what to expect when visiting your naturopathic doctor, click here.
TIPS for a healthier, happier period:
- Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats like omega-3 fish oils and cold water fish, hemp seeds and ground flax seeds to decrease inflammation that contributes to cramps, acne, headaches
- Add a few teaspoons of freshly ground flax seed to a smoothie or cereal – these are a source of fibre and phytoestrogens, which combat excess estrogen levels in the body
- Reduce your intake of inflammatory foods like fried vegetable oils, peanut oil, trans fats, coffee, sugar and refined carbs like white flour products, which can increase inflammation and pain
- Iron deficiency can worsen menstrual cramps and fatigue. Include iron-rich foods, like grass-fed beef, free-run poultry, blackstrap molasses, dark green vegetables, raisins and use cast iron cookware to optimize your iron stores
- Keep hydrated with at least 8 glasses (2 litres) pure water daily, and eliminate caffeine and alcohol which are dehydrating and contribute to breast tenderness
- Get enough sleep, exercise and rest, especially during the week before your period
I’m doing all of the above and still having PMS symptoms. Where can I get more information?
Not to worry. Your ND will help you identify an approach that is effective for you, as a unique individual.
Contact your naturopathic doctor with any questions that you may have about natural ways to treat PMS. We are here to help.
Elizabeth Cherevaty ND
Naturopathic Doctor in Guelph, ON