A Natural Approach to Managing PMS
What is PMS
(PMS) is the name given to the cyclic occurrence of distressing
symptoms experienced by women in their estrogen active years. The
symptoms appear one to two weeks prior to menses, and usually diminish
after the first day of menstration.
to 150 different symptoms have been reported. The most common symptoms
associated with PMS are as follows: 80% experience irritability,
anxiety, abdominal cramps; 60% report cravings for sweets and bing
eating; 40% report bloating, weight gain and fluid retention; 5-20%
describe depression, Mood swings, breast tenderness, fatigue, headaches,
insomnia, dizziness or fainting, crying, alternating constipation
and diarrhea, allergic complaints and skin irritations are also
Serious is the problem?
Premenstrual Syndrome is one of hte most common problems afflicting
younger women. Up to half of all American women between 20 and 50
years of age (10 to 14 million) suffer from PMS. In a six year study
with premenopausal women, it was found to be present in every type
of gynecologic problem.
also has a great impact on the family and society at large. Child
abuse and marital strife have been reported in PMS patients. Over
35 years ago, absenteeism due to PMS resulted in an estimated loss
of $5billion to American Industry. Today, with the high prevalence
of PMS and more than 40% of adult American women in the work force,
the loss to industry is probably several times that amount.
Experts believe that PMS results when there is and upset in the
delicate balance between specific feminine hormones. That imbalance
and its effects are illustrated below:
Action of Feminine Hormones in PMS
bloating, weight gain and water retention by causing sodium
bloating, weight gain and water retention by supporting sodium
as a central nervous system stimulant to produce irritability
as a central nervous system depressant to calm irritability
of hypoglycemia creating an increase in sugar cravings and binge
blood sugar, which may help to decrease sugar cravings and bing
histamine release, which may promote skin and allergic problems
to block histamine release, which may help prevent or reduce
skin and allergic problems
an increase in pro-inflammatory Progestaglandins, producing
a tendancy toward pain, redness and swelling.
an increase in anti-inflammatory Prostaglandins, inhibiting
pain, redness and swelling.
an increase in Prolactin, a hormone that can produce
depression and dysphoria
a decrease in Prolactin, helping to relieve depression
increased contraction and cramping of the smooth muscles of
contraction and cramping of the smooth muscles of the uterus
Deficiencies and PMS
Scientific studies indicate nutritional deficiencies play a
role in PMS development. One study showed that when comparing
women with PMS to women without PMS, those with PMS consumed:
more refined sugars
more dairy foods
times less vitamin B1
times less vitamin B2
times less niacin
times less vitamin B5
times less vitamin B6
12 of the 14 women without PMS ingested nutritional supplements
regularly. By contrast, only 6 of the 39 PMS patients ingested
nutritional supplements on a regular basis.
recent survey of 502 American physicians revealed that 90%
provide dietary guidance and nutritional supplements for the
management of PMS.