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PMS - Helping Yourself Through PMS

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Modalities: Holistic Health, Holistic Nutrition Therapy
Conditions: PMS, pre menstrual tension

Chocolate. Wow! Gotta have some. No one cares about anything I do ever! I’m bloody useless at everything! You just say that one more time and I’ll put a meat cleaver through your head! I feel like a big fat cow! My boobs are like hard melons! I hate everything and everybody!

Familiar? Maybe you suffer from PMS when for anything up to two weeks prior to your period, you feel like poop. It is generally believed that PMS stems from neurochemical changes within the brain caused by oestrogen levels. The female hormone oestrogen starts to rise after menstruation and peaks around mid-cycle (ovulation). It then rapidly drops only to slowly rise and then fall again in the time before menstruation.

Some tips to help you through PMS:

  • Oestrogen holds fluid and with increasing oestrogen comes fluid retention: many women report weight gains of five pounds premenstrually. Include natural diuretics in your diet such as: parsley, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, coffee, tea (because of the caffeine), watermelon, lettuce, celery, cantaloupe and water to name but a few.
  • Oestrogen can also contribute to retention of salt. When our body retains salt, it also retains fluid to compensate. I would suggest you limit your salt intake and include natural diuretics in your diet.
  • Oestrogen can cause a drop in blood sugar making women feel fatigued, anxious and irritable. To help deal with this, eat little and often. Have a breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner during the time you experience PMS. Make sure you have protein at every sitting. For breakfast have something like cereal with unsalted, chopped nuts or peanut butter on toast or egg on toast or if you can stomach it so early, beans on toast. For the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack have a small handful of unsalted nuts and raisons. For lunch have a granary or wholemeal sandwich with lean ham, tuna, cheese or egg plus salad or a jacket potato with fish, cheese or humus or a pulse and lentil salad or ryvita with humus and salad. For dinner, you can have turkey, chicken or fish with vegetables or salad or a vegetarian dish with protein. When you have your main meal, 50% should be vegetables, 25% protein e.g. fish, meat, cheese, humus, pulses or eggs and 25% carbohydrate e.g. potato, rice (short grain brown rice is best) or pasta.

Another couple of points to bear in mind. Firstly, although our PMS is primarily physical and can thus be partially managed through physical solutions, there is also a psychological side to PMS. For example, if we were taught that periods were a “curse” or something to be ashamed of, then we are likely to experience greater discomfort and even pain when it comes to our monthly bleed. Our mind very much affects our body and if we have been conditioned to dread menstruation, then our body will learn to hold the tension of shame through uncomfortable symptoms.

The second point is that the anger, anxiety and increased emotionalism of PMS can be affected by our emotional flow throughout the month. If we have a tendency to stuff our emotions, PMS can become a good dumping ground. If we have unresolved emotional stuff floating round, what better excuse than PMS?

There are lots of ways we can help ourselves through PMS using diet and supplements. Not forgetting of course, the good old comfort zones of cuddling down with a good book or front of the telly, clutching a bar of chocolate in one hand and a glass of something bubbly in the other. Other comfort zones I’ve indulged in are loads of cuddles from someone I love, snuggling down in a warm bed, clutching a fluffy hot water bottle, having a fragrant bath, bawling my eyes out over a soppy film or if all else fails – sulking in the garden shed – with a bar of chocolate in one hand and a glass of something bubbly in the other!

by Laurel Alexander, complementary therapist, author and teacher

Last Updated Friday, 27 January 2012 06:52
This article was written by VitalityLink Finder

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