Most women can relate to the letters PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) or PMT (Premenstrual Tension) with no explanations necessary. The husbands and partners of these women might also give a knowing look, perhaps a weary one, when they hear these letters uttered!
The range of problems women can experience before their monthly period arrives is large and varied, and can include mood swings, irritability, tension, tearfulness, as well as physical sensations of bloating, fluid retention, tender breasts, pimples, and headaches, to name a few.
PMS can last for some women for a few days, but others for a few weeks, making the whole month a strange and sometimes miserable place to be. Working towards optimal hormonal health is a goal for most women, who recognise that when their cycle is more balanced, so are they!
While some women will wonder what all the fuss is about, for many the experiences of PMS can be extremely uncomfortable and can make them feel like they are either being taken over by a crazy hormone monster or the victim of a rather cruel black joke. Thankfully, there is much that can be done to support women returning to a calmer and more balanced hormonal existence!
Some of the factors contributing to an individual woman’s PMS may include her stress levels, her nutrition, her diet, her lifestyle, her genetic makeup, her general health, her organ functions, and her age. Looking at PMS holistically means taking all of these different aspects into account.
Many women suspect that they have worse PMS when they have eaten foods which may not agree with them. Indeed, understanding which foods can trigger reactivity in the body, or which substances can slow down our ability to process hormones effectively, can have a hugely positive impact on our monthly cycles.
Nutrition plays a huge part in hormonal balance, with key players such as Magnesium and Vitamin B6 being particularly important. Every woman however has individual nutritional needs and understanding her specific imbalances will help in working towards greater hormonal harmony.
Being able to adequately process our hormones is the role of organs such as the liver, which is why reducing alcohol has such a positive impact on hormonal health. Understanding how each of our organs contributes to our hormonal profile is of great benefit in addressing PMS.
Hormones are what make us women, and learning to keep them in balance, and keep ourselves in balance, is a rich and vital part of the lifelong journey of being a woman.