You don’t have to ‘put up’ with PMS
No one enjoys the symptoms of PMS. Whether you’re eating everything in sight for a week, about to rip off someones head or feeling exhausted, a holistic approach can help. Let’s look at how our multi-modality approach can alleviate PMS symptoms and get you back to feeling fantastic.
What is PMS?
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a group of symptoms that occur for women after ovulation and prior to menstruating. Symptoms can be both physical and emotional, and they can vary in severity. The most extreme cases of PMS are classified as PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Understand more about PMDD HERE.
There are several types of PMS, depending on which hormones are out of balance. Different types can have different symptoms. Here’s a quick overview of the main types of PMS:
- PMS (A) – caused by high oestrogen and low progesterone levels.The most common symptoms include anxiety, irritability and mood swings.
- PMS (C) – caused by insulin sensitivity.The most common symptoms are carbohydrate cravings, headaches, fatigue and dizziness.
- PMS (D) – caused by low oestrogen and high progesterone and aldosterone. Common symptoms including depression, crying, forgetfulness, insomnia and confusion.
- PMS (H) – caused by high aldosterone and oestrogen. The common symptoms are fluid retention, weight gain, breast tenderness, bloating and swelling.
As there are different causes of each type, it is possible to have more than one. But by getting clear on what is behind your PMS is the first step to balancing your hormones and reducing your symptoms.
Acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine and PMS
In TCM, the focus is on balancing the energy and flow throughout the body. But when there is a disruption of this flow, an imbalance occurs in the body. With PMS symptoms, the organs usually responsible are the liver and kidneys.
In terms of TCM, there are a few patterns that can emerge with PMS:
- Stagnation of blood and qi.This can be sharp or dull cramps and pains especially around the uterus area. The period may not flow freely over the week, have brown spotting at the start or end of the period, and may pass.
- Liver qi stagnation.The liver controls the free flow of blood throughout the body. But when it is stagnated, it shows up as symptoms of breast distention, anger, irritability, waking at 3am, mood swings, depression and frontal headaches. The period is heavy and blood clots are often present.
- Internal cold. Cold in the uterus can cause cramping pain, bloating (especially after eating), diarrhoea, cold hands and feet, and a general aversion to cold.
- Kidney deficiency ( yin and yang). The kidneys can become deficient due to a number of factors. Overworking, excess exercising, long term adrenal exhaustion are a few examples. Some symptoms that may be experienced include lower back pain, knee pain, feeling really cold or aversion to the cold, 3pm slump, and constant fatigue.
Looking for PMS tips from a TCM point of view?
Here are 6 simple steps from our acupuncturist, Karolina.
- Exercise regularly to encourage movement of qi and blood.
- Regular acupuncture sessions can increase feel-good endorphins and neuropeptides
- Eat plenty of cooked foods – they are gentler on the digestion and keep the abdomen area warm.
- A personalised Chinese herbal formula can help harmonise the body for free flow.
- Take a balanced approach to your nutrition – minimise your intake of sugar, dairy, processed foods, greasy and fried foods, alcohol and coffee.
- Incorporate stress-relieving practices such as tai chi, qigong, meditation, Pilates and yoga.
Massage and PMS
It’s always a good idea to get a massage for overall wellbeing. But can massage help with PMS symptoms? In short, yes!
A good massage can relieve several physical and mental symptoms associated with PMS. It can help to reduce fatigue, headaches and bloating, as well as reducing the intensity of cramps. But it can also soothe away irritability and stress while boosting your mood.
How does a massage for PMS differ from regular massage?
Our remedial massage therapist Sam shares:
Like any remedial massage treatment, there will be a focus on the areas that are causing the most trouble. For cramps and bloating a heat pack is placed on the lower back and abdomen. This gentle pressure and warmth helps release fascial restrictions and melt away muscle tension.
The sacrum and mid to lower back are significant areas in working with PMS. The nerves along this part of the spine are connected to the reproductive organs. So the uterus can receive the benefits of a massage through this nerve pathway.
It is also very beneficial to massage the legs. We have a system of nerves which go to the skin called dermatomes. The dermatomes that cover the legs link to the same areas of the spine and sacrum that affect the reproductive organs.
Naturopathy and PMS
With naturopathy, the goal is always to address the underlying causes of symptoms. When our naturopaths, Chantelle and Tania work with someone experiencing PMS symptoms, we’ll look for the root cause and take steps to balance the body back out.
Treatment will vary depending on your specific case and which form of PMS you’re experiencing. But some of the most common treatment goals for our naturopaths include:
- Hormonal balancing. Our in-depth case taking allows us to identify your hormonal imbalances allowing us to work on the root cause right away.
- Supporting liver detoxification. Once the body has used hormones, they go to the liver to be detoxified. But if your liver isn’t working optimally, you might struggle to detoxify the excess hormones.
- Managing stress levels. There is a close relationship between stress hormones and sex hormones. If your stress levels are high, your body is going to prioritise survival over your fertility. This can lead to all sorts of imbalances in your sex hormone levels.
- Balancing blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels can influence every hormone in the body, including stress and sex hormones. By ensuring your blood sugar levels are steady throughout the day, you can support your adrenal and reproductive systems.
Following this treatment approach, allows you to get a handle on your PMS and not have it ruin a week or two of your life every month.
Our treatment can help you be less snappy, more tolerable, not crying at the ads on the tv and have you feeling more human again.
For an appointment, call our clinic on 9372 9912 or make your appointment online HERE