How to experience a period without PMSJune 2019
I am shocked with the amount of women I speak to who are experiencing PMS symptoms each month. Why do so many women accept that it is normal? Common yes. But PMS is not something you should be experiencing.
Your period every month
To gain an understanding of PMS, you first must understand the hormonal fluctuations during your cycle. The beginning of your cycle is called the follicular phase. This phase starts on the first day of your bleed. In this phase your oestrogen slowly increase, until its peak at ovulation.
Ovulation is also the time you get a surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which tells your ovaries to release an egg, and a smaller increase in follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which is responsible for maturation of the egg before release. You also get a little pulse of testosterone, which is why many women report feeling more randy during ovulation.
After ovulation oestrogen, FSH and LH all rapidly decline. This next phase, called the luteal phase is when progesterone starts to surge, with a smaller increase in oestrogen again. This phase is where the body begins to prepare the uterus lining (endometrium) for implantation. (Hormone Cycle Chart source: Dr Hagmeyer)
Common Signs & Symptoms of PMS
Signs and symptoms of PMS can be mental, physical and gastrointestinal. It could be a combination of symptoms, and it can be different for every woman. Typically the most common symptoms include; anxiety/depression, irritability and mood swings, bloating, diahrrea/constipation, cravings, headaches, backaches, hormonal pimples and acne, sore boobs, cramps.
Crazy to think that many differing symptoms is experienced by half the population on a monthly basis right?
Steps to reduce your PMS symptoms
You’re reading this on a nutritionist blog, so if you think diet isn’t going to be first on the list you are cccrrraaaaaazy! It is the number one thing you should be reviewing and modifying.
- Stop eating/drinking inflammatory foods; this will be different for everyone, however the common culprits are alcohol, sugar, wheat, dairy and processed vegetable oils (soy, corn, canola).
- Support a healthy microbiome (gut health) by eating a varied diet, that is predominantly plant based foods (vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds). Include probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir.
- Stop drinking out of or heating your food in plastic containers. These contain endocrine disruptors which impair the body’s ability to metabolise hormones.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium; leafy greens such as spinach leaves, pumpkin seeds, squash and cashews.
- Eat foods that are rich in Vitamin B6; tuna, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, turkey.
- Reduce your stress; exercise, breathing, walking at the beach/in nature, yoga, whatever you need to do to reduce your stress.
- Prioritise sleep; get off your phone/ipad, computer at least one hour before bed. Go to bed at a reasonable time. Write a to-do list for the next day. Enjoy a warm shower or bath before bed. Meditate. Do what you need to do to get 7-8hrs each night. (Mums, I know this is hard some nights, but you need to have a goal).
I know that if you start incorporating some of the tips above, you will experience a period with no PMS. You can also start tracking your period via apps (Clue, Flo, Period Diary), your phone calendar or keep it old school by writing it in a diary. Tracking your symptoms and cycle length is so incredibly informative, give it a try for the next few months.
Until next time…
Written by Jessica Worth, Nutritionist, Sydney, Northern Beaches, Mona Vale
Jess regularly works with women to help them restore balance in their life, hormonal and nutritional.