PMS - Premenstrual Syndrome

BASIC FACTS

ying and yang symbol PMS is a hormonal disorder.
   
ying and yang symbol Women do not get PMS before they start their menses, after menopause or when they are pregnant.
   
ying and yang symbol It affects about 40 million women in this country.
   
ying and yang symbol There are many symptoms associated with PMS. (Over 150 different symptoms.)
   
ying and yang symbol The most common symptoms of PMS, as you well know, are bloating, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, fatigue, food cravings, acne and breast pain.
   
ying and yang symbol We hate it.

A QUICK FIX MAY NOT BE SUCH A GOOD IDEA

PMS is a great place to illustrate the difference between masking symptoms by medicating versus returning the body to a state of balance. To mask the symptoms of PMS, we take a pill. We have cramps; we take an aspirin. We have bloating; we take a diuretic, etcetera. More invasive treatments might be the use of birth control pill for PMS. The problem with this approach is that you never get to the cause of the underlying problem.

DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS

From a holistic perspective, we look at why the hormonal imbalance occurs and work to correct it. For example, the imbalance could be coming from a nutritional deficiency. Some of the common supplements for PMS are B vitamin complex or calcium magnesium. There are also dietary approaches.

An effective herbal treatment is Vitex, which we talk about in the breast cysts page. There is also a Chinese herbal treatment called Xiao Yao Wan or the free and easy pill.

Eating more complex carbohydrates, drinking more water, reducing sugar intake, reducing caffeine intake, lowering fat intake and/or eating more fiber are all common suggestions for getting rid of PMS using diet. These things can help balance your body so that you are getting the nutrients that you need. Then, the hormonal symptoms actually go away.

Rebalancing the hormonal system is not an instant fix. Foods and supplements need to be taken over time as they work to correct the underlying problem, reduce the symptoms and restore balance.

ENERGETIC APPROACHES

There are also energetic approaches to PMS. In Chinese medical theory, PMS may be caused by energy stagnation. This stagnation over time can lead to other more troublesome problems, like breast disease. In Chinese medicine a hormonal issue, an ovarian issue or some other symptom, always precedes breast disease. PMS is one of these hormonal issues.

The Breast Health Project is very motivated to help women learn how to correct these hormonal imbalances. Simple techniques to move energy in the body are very effective at restoring balance. They reduce stress and increase energy. These are side effects we wish all medicine had.

One way to start is the breathing exercises we have listed for you in the articles archive. Yoga is another way to get the chi moving again. There are chi gung exercises on the movement page along with information on where to learn more. Getting your energy moving does not mean exerting your energy and exhausting yourself. It means building energy in your body rather then dispersing energy and exhausting yourself.

MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL ASPECTS

There are psychological, emotional and spiritual issues that may come up for women around PMS. Some women have an internal sense of what it would take to change these symptoms, but change can feel overwhelming. Diet and lifestyle issues have emotional components that may need to be addressed.

Ask yourself some questions:

(1) What could you do to bring yourself into balance?

(2) What could you do to nurture yourself more deeply?

If you do not know the answers to these questions, really take some time to get quiet and listen, or before you go to sleep, ask for a dream in which you receive answers.

There are a lot of ways to correct PMS that actually will bring your body into balance. PMS is a sign that needs you to pay attention. Remember if the warning light goes on in your car you would not want to just pull the fuse out, you would want to understand why that light was going on and fix whatever the problem that light was warning you about.

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