75% OF WOMEN SUFFER from headaches, mood swings, bloating, and other problems that threaten their relationships, work life, and well-being.

PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) has been known by women for many years. However, it is only for the past 30 or so years that pharmaceutical companies have targeted and created a market to treat this normal part of a woman's cycle as a disease.

Premenstrual syndrome refers to the collection of symptoms or sensations women experience as a result of high hormone levels before, and sometimes during, their periods.

One type of PMS is characterised by anxiety, irritability, mood swings & depression around cycle time, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness or itchiness, cyclic insomnia, night sweats & fatigue. These feelings are usually relieved with the onset of bleeding. Most likely, this type relates to the balance between oestrogen and progesterone. If oestrogen predominates, anxiety occurs. If there's more progesterone, depression may be a complaint.

Sugar craving, fatigue and headaches signify a different type of PMS. In addition to sugar, women may crave chocolate, white bread, white rice, pastries, and noodles. These food cravings may be caused by the increased responsiveness to insulin related to increased hormone levels before menstruation. In this circumstance, women may experience symptoms of low blood sugar; their brains are signalling a need for fuel. A consistent diet that includes complex carbohydrates will provide a steady flow of energy to the brain and counter the ups and downs of blood sugar variations.

Simple Steps to ease PMS

1:   Take care of your diet.

This means:

  • Cut out caffeine.
  • Stop eating refined flour, sugar, and processed foods.
  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Balance your blood sugar by eating protein, such as a protein shake, eggs, and nut butters, for breakfast.
  • Eat evenly throughout the day and don’t skip meals.
  • Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime.
  • Increase fiber in your diet from vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Increase omega-3 fats by eating more fish and walnuts.
  • Eat organic food, especially animal products, to avoid environmental estrogens from pesticides.

2:   Take supplements.

A number of supplements have been shown to help ease PMS symptoms by improving metabolic function and hormone metabolism. Here are the superstars:

  • Calcium citrate.
  • Vitamin B6 ,folate and vitamin B12.
  • Evening primrose oil
  • EPA/DHA (omega 3 fats)
  • A daily dose of multivitamins (all the nutrients work together)
  • Isoflavones from soy
  • Replacing healthy bacteria in the gut also helps normalise oestrogen and hormone metabolism. Take 5 to 10 billion live organisms in a daily probiotic supplement.

3:   Get moving.

Exercise is very important for balancing hormones. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 4 to 5 times a week.

4. Address stress.

Dealing with stress is also critical. Take a hot bath at night, get a massage, try yoga, learn deep breathing or meditation.

If your symptoms are severe and are affecting your daily life, you should consult a Gynaecologist for Medical intervention.

Dr. Jyotsna Gupta