Which Type of PMS Are You?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about 6 Nutrients To Combat PMS & Cramps. Now, HEAL intern extraordinaire, Jacquie Conte, is going to share some tips and information around the various types of PMS. The neat thing about this is that often the types of symptoms you’re experiencing give you a signal as to what’s going on, and subsequently the tools to fix it. Jacquie, over to you!
PMS or premenstrual syndrome is all about imbalanced hormones. Many factors contribute to it on a daily basis, including toxins from your body care products, the birth control pill, stress, and of course, what you choose to eat, leading to behavioural and/or gastrointestinal issues around your period.
You might tend to associate symptoms of PMS solely with the act of menstruation itself, but being aware of your symptoms is a key factor in preventing them in the first place. Working backward by identifying your symptoms, you can avoid the things that lead to an uncomfortable period.
Categorizing Your Symptoms
There are five categories; however, if you experience PMS on a regular basis you likely recognize symptoms from multiple categories and can fluctuate between dominating types from month to month. Which one are you?
PMS-A: Anxiety (High estrogen, low progesterone)
The most common type, this affects 70% of PMS sufferers. Symptoms include anxiety, irritability and emotional instability. If this happens to you, you might notice every little thing sets you off and you become snippy with people. Alone time anyone? If this happens to you, you might feel like you want to be left alone because every little thing is setting you off. Chaste tree berry can be effective for raising progesterone.
PMS-C: Cravings (High insulin during first half of cycle)
Affecting 30% of PMS sufferers, symptoms include cravings for carbs & sweets and an insatiable appetite, heart palpitations, headaches, fatigue and fainting. This sounds like hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), right? If this happens to you, you are a serious cookie monster and if you don’t find something sweet the week prior, you can’t function. Make sure you’re eating enough protein and some healthy fat with every meal (like avocado), and go for a healthy dessert if you absolutely must.
PMS-D: Depression (Low estrogen, possible low serotonin)
Only 30% of PMS sufferers experience this, but it is commonly associated with PMS-A. Symptoms include depression, crying and confusion. Ever feel like you’re balling your eyes out for seemingly no reason? Exercise is a proven natural mood booster and while you might not feel like it, some gentle exercise like yoga will help boost serotonin and the yoga can help reduce cramps too.
70% of PMS sufferers experience these symptoms, include slight weight gain, bloating, swelling of the face, hands and/or ankles and breast tenderness. This is known as hyper-hydration and it’s less than pleasant when your pants don’t do up or you want to wear body armour around your boobs! Watching your sodium intake, combined with eating diuretic foods like celery, cucumber and parsley is recommended. That’s actually why I have this Lemony Dill Detox Salad.
PMS-P: Pain (High pro-inflammatory prostaglandin activity)
Simply put, those affected by PMS P or dysmenorrhea (a lack of period), feel pain in the form of cramps either leading up to or during the days of their menstruation. These bad boys can stop you from carrying on with your daily life as they can be rather painful and persistent. Before calling in sick to work, try some magnesium to calm those muscles down.
First of all, start a symptom journal for your menstruation cycle. Compare your symptoms to the information above and find out which hormones are probably out of balance for you. Secondly, have your hormone levels tested using a saliva test to determine the severity of your imbalances. You can book a time to chat with Mandy about how this works here.
Lastly, follow these simple steps to ensure a smooth transition through your monthly menstruation:
- During the week leading up to your symptoms, avoid alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy, salt and processed or fast foods. Instead, try herbal teas, natural sweeteners like raw honey, nut milk and home cooked meals. (Of course, the more you do this throughout the entire month, the better!)
- Chow down on nutrient-dense, high protein snacks like veggies and hummus or chia seed pudding between meals to avoid cravings. Click here for recipe ideas.
- Try seed cycling, which entails eating specific seeds during different sections of your cycle to regulate estrogen and progesterone levels.
Remember that your hormones are often a direct reflection of other things going on in your body. Be mindful to look deeper into the organs that support hormone production, release and detoxification, including your adrenal and reproductive glands, as well as your liver.
If you have a more serious imbalance, book a time with Mandy to dig a little deeper.