PMS

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Okay guys, I figure this tip is in your interest too as by simply understanding what your wife, girlfriend, or sisters go through each month, you can be a better support when they are SUFFERING!

Premenstrual syndrome is the name given to a constellation of emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms that occur during the last couple of weeks of the menstrual cycle that interfere with a woman’s quality of life.

Common symptoms include abdominal pain, breast pain and swelling, muscle and/or joint pain, headaches, depression, anger, anxiety, irritability, bloating, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, food cravings, difficulties concentrating, forgetfulness, lack of sexual interest, confusion.

Some women that suffer badly from PMS may be hurting 2 weeks of every month, or almost half of each year. I know of a woman that takes a 2 to 3 days off work each month when the abdominal pain is at its worst, because she actually finds it difficult to stand up.

Yet women rarely tell their bosses that they are not coming into work because of PMS – it still is somewhat of a taboo subject, and so most women that get PMS suffer in silence. Or they take something for pain control, which deals with the symptoms but not the cause.

Most commonly, PMS is caused by a lack of, or an imbalance in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, and also cortisol.

POP QUIZ: What is the raw material nutrient that estrogen, progesterone and cortisol are made from? If you have been reading these tips for a while, you should know that the answer is …. drum roll …. saturated fat and cholesterol!

So are you avoiding quality saturated fat, such as butter for example? Estrogen dominance over progesterone is frequently linked to PMS symptoms, and is also interestingly enough, thought to be a causative factor in breast cancer and uterine cancer, and probably cervical and ovarian cancer as well.

So hormonal balancing can go a long way to ridding oneself of PMS and preventing disease. POP QUIZ BONUS QUESTION: What can women easily do today, and tomorrow, and every day after to reduce their estrogen levels? Yes, you can find the answer in one of my other tips … Maybe you can figure it out???

The answer? Go to bed early to get enough dark time. Melatonin controls estrogen levels. Women that are suffering severely may find it helpful to stop taking estrogen only birth-control pills (Katie Singer’s book The Garden of Fertility gives natural methods of birth control that don’t mess with a woman’s hormone cycles), and they could speak to their doctor about getting bio-identical progesterone cream (not Provera or Megestrol).

If you are under a lot of stress, progesterone is often shunted off to help build cortisol, your stress coping hormone, which explains why stress increases PMS symptoms. Therefore anything that can be done to reduce stress, would reduce the need for cortisol, which would help maintain progesterone levels and reduce PMS symptoms.

Another probable contributing factor to estrogen dominance is the quantity of soy isolate foods like soy milk, soy cheese, soy protein powders and bars, soy oil, soy lecithin, MSG, etc. that people are consuming these days, believing them to be healthier alternatives to dairy or other real food.

If you suffer from PMS, do not consume soy isolate products. Dealing with the xenoestrogens, those synthetic chemicals used in plastics is tougher – don’t use those hard plastic containers with the recycling symbol #7, as the BPA (Bisphenol A) in them is a xenoestrogen that can leach into the water, and then bind with your estrogen receptors.

Store your food in glass or ceramic rather than plastic, and if you insist on microwaving your food, do not microwave in plastic or use plastic wrap. Xenoestrogens are frequently also put in the hormones fed to cattle to fatten them up for slaughter (guess what – too much estrogen makes cattle fat, just like it makes women fat!), so choose organic meats and poultry to be certain you are not consuming extra xenoestrogens in your food.

Exercise and careful sauna use can help eliminate xenoestrogens via sweating, although fully removing these toxins may take years.

Glycemic control (blood sugar control) is very important in hormone regulation, because insulin, which controls our blood-sugar, is a master-regulator hormone, and if there is a problem with insulin, it will throw off the balance of all the hormones including estrogen.

Chronically high insulin levels leads to insulin resistance which leads to estrogen dominance. So, reduce your intake of sugar and flour products, and instead choose vegetables and legumes as your carbohydrate, and consume them with quality protein and fat in order to slow the sugar absorption into the bloodstream.

Related tips:
How hormones, neurotransmitters and steroids work
The soy controversy
Plastic waterbottles
Blood-sugar regulation
Saturated fat – the misunderstood nutrient

Daniel, Kaayla T. The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food NewTrends Publishing, Inc., March, 2005.
Singer, Katie, The Garden of Fertility Penguin Group, New York, 2004.
Sacks, Frank M. et al. Soy Protein, Isoflavones, and Cardiovascular Health; An American Heart Association Science Advisory for Professionals from the Nutrition Committee Circulation 113: 1034-1044, 2006.
Sharpe RM et al. Infant feeding with soy formula milk: effect on testis and on blood testosterone levels in marmoset monkeys during the period of neonatal testicular activity. Human Reproduction Jul;17(7):1692-703, 2002.
Bell, DS et al.Use of soy protein supplement and resultant need for increased dose of levothyroxine Endocrine Pract. May-June; 7(3):193-4, 2001.
Ju YH et al. Dietary genistein negates the inhibitory effect of tamoxifen on growth of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer Cancer Research May 1;62(9):2474-7, 2002.
Doerge DR and DM Sheehan. Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity of soy isoflavones Environmental Health Perpectives June;110 suppl 3:349-53, 2002.
Hunt,Patricia;“Bisphenol A Exposure Causes Meiotic Aneuploidy in the Female Mouse” Current Biology, Vol 14, 546-553, 1 April 2003.
vom Saal, Frederick and Hughes, Claude; ”An Extensive New Literature Concerning Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 8, August 2005.
Davis, Scot et al. Light at Night and Working the Graveyard Shift Linked to Increased Risk of Breast Cancer Journal of the National Cancer Institute October 2001
Blask, David, MD, PhD et al. Melatonin-Depleted Blood from Pre-Menopausal Women Exposed to Light at Night Stimulates Human Breast Cancer Xenografts in Nude Rats Cancer Research
65, 11174-11184, Dec. 1,  2005.
Verkasalo, P. et al. Sleep Duration and Breast Cancer: A Prospective Cohort Study Cancer Research 65, 9595-9600, Oct. 15, 2005.
Harder, Ben. Bright Lights, Big Cancer Science News Online Jan. 7, 2006.

Copyright 2005-2007 Vreni Gurd

6 Comments

  1. Paul said,

    March 28, 2007 @ 9:06 am

    I didn’t know that a problem with insulin resistance could throw the hormones out of balance, too. Good information.

  2. Ian said,

    March 30, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

    Hi Vreni,
    Luckily (or not) we haven’t had to deal with the whole cyclical thing for a number of years now. Early onset menopause.

    You will see that I have finally got things together and even figured how to put together the start of a blogroll, on which you appear!

  3. michelle said,

    November 1, 2009 @ 10:57 pm

    in the last paragraph you say to stick with above ground veggies, what is the reason for this?…i have a yam in the oven as i write this,lol

  4. amy said,

    May 11, 2011 @ 7:26 am

    actually, you are completely wrong about soy. women with high estrogen levels that cause pms do benefit from soy products because the estrogen-mimicking hormones in soy prevent the more potent estrogen in the body from being re absorbed. it actually reduced the body’s estrogen and helps fight pms. i have SEVERE pms, or PMDD and soy DOES help me. I suffer from intense anxiety, irritablity, lack of concentration, and insatiable hunger for a week every month. i’m truly a different person and it’s awful for everyone around me.

  5. diana said,

    May 27, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    I also believe soymilk, and other soy products have help me with pms. Ever since I had my tubes burned I started having severe pms. I started change my diet to vegeterian and consume more veggies, tofu and of course soymilk I don’t have severe symptoms of pms like I did before.

  6. Natasha said,

    July 9, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    Soy helps me too.

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