Allopathic & Naturopathic Treatments: PMS
This week we continue to bring you an alternate view on common conditions that you may have been treated for conventionally in the past.
The goal of this is to bring to the table a variety of perspectives from which you can use to make the best choices for your unique self. Each branch of medicine and its health care providers offer you different strengths, and it is in working together, building up your personal team in which you'll really reap the rewards!
Premenstrual syndrome is a dreaded experience for many women, and unfortunately it is one of the most frequent concerns I see in practice. Although this is so common, we must not suggest that this normal.
Approximately 90% of women experience some symptoms within their lifetime. Talk about common! Women are fully capable of having pain-free periods (I'm sure some of you know that friend who breezes through them - lucky!).
However, for many women, they experience the following symptoms 7-10 days before their period: cramping pain that interferes with their productivity, breast tenderness which makes it hard to put on clothes or workout, get cystic acne, migraines, feel irritable, anxious, sad, fatigued, bloated, fluid retention, weight gain, cravings, constipation and or diarrhea... Fun.
This is also why I encourage men to learn about this topic as well. Not only because they are surrounded by women, but because they can appreciate and form empathy once understanding the mechanisms behind all the behaviours and reactions. Expressing emotions should not be dismissed as being "hormonal", but rather as being human (*big hint*).
Birth control pills - these shut down our endogenous hormones estrogen and progesterone, and replaces them with synthetic versions to alleviate symptoms. Symptoms can occur when we have an imbalance in hormones, and one is more excessive relative to the others (ie. higher estrogen and lower progesterone), so by bringing our hormones down, symptoms can subside.
NSAIDs for pain relief.
SSRIs to help with mood.
All of these treatments can disrupt our healthy microbiome which is protective for a healthy hormone balance.
We can view your PMS as a monthly health report card. All of the symptoms you experience are data for us to take into consideration when understanding the balance of your hormones. Naturopathic medicine's greatest strengths are figuring out the root cause and treating from there, supporting the amazing capabilities of our natural bodies.
Avoid dairy - associated with inflammation which really messes up our hormonal communication. Many patients report improvements in their symptoms with this dietary change.
Avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals from plastics and pesticides which can hyperstimulate our estrogen receptors and impair our ability to metabolize estrogens.
Magnesium calms your nervous system and reduces inflammation to help with mood, sleep, and pain.
Maintain a healthy gut bacteria to help you breakdown and detoxify hormones once your body finishes using them.
Depending on which symptoms predominate, your treatments will vary so it's important to consult with your naturopath to get effective individualized treatment.
I offer a free 15 minute consultation which you can book with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also speak with your naturopath or doctor about bio-identical hormones.
Our natural hormones are not to be villainized here. They are integral to our health, and having them helps with our fertility, and fertility can be a sign of health for women.
Estrogen is our happy hormone (Yang in Chinese medical terms), stimulates mood, libido, the growth of our uterine lining, bones, brain, and enhances insulin sensitivity.
Progesterone is the counterbalance, the Yin and thins our uterine lining, prevents cancer, boosts thyroid hormones to help with metabolism, reduces inflammation, promotes sleep, calms the nervous system, improves our resiliency to stress, and is protective against heart disease.
I highly recommend checking out Dr. Jolene Brighten's book "Beyond the Pill", and Dr. Lara Briden's "Period Repair Manual", to understand how we can take a more progressive approach in our modern times to address PMS.