Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or Tension (PMS or PMT)

PMS is the term used to describe a cluster of symptoms commonly experienced by women in the week leading up to menstruation.

Not every woman suffers from PMS but for those who do there seems to be no escape from its cyclical regularity. I’m talking about physical symptoms such as bloating, tiredness, swollen and tender breasts and headaches, lower back pain, abdominal cramps, water retention. These range from uncomfortable to extremely unpleasant.

For others, however, there are also emotional symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, anxiety, anger or violent outbursts, depression and even thoughts of suicide that the sufferer is unable to control, making her withdrawn and antisocial.

PMS questionnaire :

– Are your periods irregular?

– Do you crave chocolate before a period?

– Are you irritable, intolerant, or anxious prior to menstruation?

– Do you suffer from weight gain or water retention each month?

– Do you experience premenstrual cramps?

There are three main causes :

Glucose intolerance marked by a craving for sweet food and stimulants.

Oestrogen dominance and relative progesterone deficiency. These hormones control the monthly cycle and their changing levels affects women in as many ways as there are various symptoms.

Deficiency in essential fatty acids and vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium, which together create prostaglandins, which help to balance hormone levels.

Vitamin B6 is essential for all protein utilisation and it has been proved helpful in many conditions from PMS to carpal tunnel syndrome (strain condition affecting nerves in the wrist) and cardiovascular disease.

Magnesium is essential for many enzymes in the body. It works together with Vitamins B1 and B6, being involved in protein synthesis and therefore essential in the production of some hormones including prostaglandin of which higher level has beneficial effects on PMS.

Essential fatty acids are converted into prostaglandins with the help of Vitamins B3, B6, C and Biotin and minerals Magnesium and Zinc. So deficiency in any of these nutrients can also create the equivalent of hormonal imbalances.

Oestrogen dominance can be due to excess exposure to oestrogen substances, or lack of progesterone or a combination of both. But to help make sure it is not the earlier, it may be wise to eat less or avoid red meat and dairy products. Also, many pesticides, soft plastics used for wrapping and most birth control pill and HRT contain oestrogen and can participate in building up your oestrogen level and therefore making your PMS worse.

PMS symptoms can be eased by making changes to your diet and studies suggest that a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat is helpful. Eat little and often before menstruation, snaking on fruit but avoiding sugary treats and stimulants (coffee, tea, chocolate). Ensure that your daily diet includes 1 tablespoon of cold press vegetable oil rich in both Omega3 and Omega6 fatty acids (or supplement with cod liver oil capsules).

Good eating habits coupled with supplements can often relieve symptoms of PMS all together. So to help keep your hormones in balance :

  • keep animal fats very low in your diet.
  • choose organic vegetables and meat wherever possible to reduce pesticide and hormone exposure.
  • Don’t eat fatty foods wrapped in non-PVC cling film.
  • Reduce the use of stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar and cigarette. If you are addicted to any of these you will need to break the habit.
  • Do not let stress become a habit in your life. Make changes to your lifestyle to limit stress and the way you react to it.
  • Make sure you are getting enough essential fats from seeds, their oils or supplements of primrose or borage oil (omega 6) or flax oil (omega 3).
  • make sure your supplement programme includes optimal levels of vitamins B3 and B6, biotin, magnesium and zinc.

Helpful foods :

Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables for magnesium and vitamin B6

Wholemeal bread and whole grains (brown rice, oat) for complex carbohydrates, vitamins B3 and B6, calcium, zinc and magnesium

Eggs, avocado, nuts and cold press virgin olive oil for vitamin E.

Fish (salmon, sardine, mackerel, herring, tuna) for Vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium and essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6)

If you have PMS or menopausal symptoms, consider using herbs such as lemon balm, sage, vervain, black cohosh, or St John’s Wort. These can relieve tension in various parts of the body by relieving liver tension and improving blood circulation and cardiovascular tone. Many women like to drink lemon balm tea because it is good for menstrual problems and cramps. It can also be added to food for flavouring.

Do not use herbs without checking first with a professional as it could interfere with any other treatment you may be taking.

I believe in the power of prayer

As well as medical books, I take the time to read Christian books. And when I came across this prayer in a book called Lead me Holy Spirit by Stormie Omartian I wanted it to encourage you too.

Being healthy, feeling good, means for our body and our mind, which are very closely connected, to be well tuned. To that effect this prayer has helped me and it can also help you should you choose to read it.

“Lord, I pray You will give me the ability to walk away from any destructive habits I have with regards to caring for my body. Keep me ever mindful that my body is your temple and I need to take care of it. Help me to follow Your leading in every decision I make each day, especially what I put into my body and how I exercise. Help me to value my body enough to look after it. I confess the times I have been critical of my body and not grateful to You for it. Forgive me for that. Keep me from ever judging or mistreating it in any way.
Lord, help me to always observe a day of rest each week. Enable me to do it to Your glory so that I am rejuvenated in my body, mind, and emotions. Help me to give my body and mind rest from all else but Your voice to my heart. You know what is best for me because You created me. So I ask You to reveal to me all I need to do and avoid doing. Give me the discipline and self-control I need to carry it out. I know that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, so I pray I will have such a manifestation of self-control that it will be explained no other way than as a gift from You.
In Jesus’ name I pray.”

A couple of references you can also look up are 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and Romans 12:1

Consultation half price this Christmas.

Hello everyone.

Christmas is coming and although it is very exciting, those of you who have been working hard at keeping your resolution and others who are going to be in the kitchen preparing the food, may be getting nervous, anxious and slightly not so looking forward to it.

I want to help you this Christmas.
Keep the focus of Christmas in the right place, enjoy the planning, the preparing and the eating.
Together we can keep the stress levels down without adding pressure on the budget.

Book with your nutritionist Corinne, before the end of December to take advantage of the 50% discount. That’s £22.50 for 45-60 minutes initial consultation and £17.50 for 30 minutes follow up (normally £45 and £35 respectfully).

Contact The Haven Health Clinic on 01364 654954 to book your appointment with the receptionist.