PMS is characterised by a set of hormonal changes that trigger disruptive symptoms for up to two weeks prior to menstruation.
Symptoms may taper off as menstruation begins, and disappear until the two weeks or so prior to the next menstrual period.
PMS is most common in women between their late 20s and early 40s, and tends to recur in a predictable pattern. The physical and emotional changes experienced with premenstrual syndrome may be particularly intense in some months and only slightly noticeable in others.
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and tension
- Breast tenderness and swelling
- Water retention
- Weight gain
- Crying spells
- Sugar and food cravings
Hormonal shifts: the menstrual cycle is run by a delicate balance between the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. If the relative levels of these hormones become disrupted PMS can result.
High oestrogen is associated with weight gain, breast tenderness, headaches, dizziness, confusion, insomnia, anxiety and bloating. High progesterone can lead to moodiness, irritability, breast tenderness and muscle aches.
Imbalances in female hormones can be detected with a Comprehensive Female Hormone Panel. Smart Nutrition can also put together a specific diet and supplement plan to help redress the balance and reduce PMS.
Imbalanced blood sugar: a diet high in sugars and refined foods can make us feel great one minute and really low the next. This can lead to mood swings, irritability, cravings and fatigue, so it’s hardly surprising that blood sugar problems can exacerbate PMS!
Smart Nutrition can give you expert advice on practical diet changes to balance out the hormonal rollercoaster and calm your cravings and mood swings.
Stress: stress leads to high levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. In excess, cortisol can stimulate feelings of irritability, anger and rage.
Because cortisol and progesterone compete for common receptors on the cells, high cortisol levels means that progesterone can’t communicate effectively with cells. Impaired progesterone activity leads to an excess of oestrogen – with all the familiar PMS symptoms.
High cortisol levels also interfere with blood sugar levels, exacerbating other PMS symptoms.
If stress might be contributing to your PMS, an Adrenal Stress Test can help pinpoint precise imbalances.
Nutrient deficiencies: certain vitamins and minerals are needed to keep hormones levels even, maintain fluid balance and control blood sugar levels. A poor diet, stressful lifestyle or regular use of some medications can lead to nutrient deficiencies. This can greatly exacerbate the symptoms and causes of PMS.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be identified using a simple test. Smart Nutrition can also advise you on dietary changes and suitable supplements to help replace lacking nutrients, helping you to manage your PMS symptoms.