Because premenstrual symptoms like anger, irritability, teariness, and depression as well as period pain are so common it’s easy to think that these issues are a normal part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. However, they aren’t.
As much as it might seem impossible if you’re a menstruating woman, in THEORY, your period should be an uneventful experience each month. Your period should arrive each month without any drastic changes to your personality or your mood. And you shouldn’t have to be reaching for the painkillers either.
But the unfortunate reality for many women, and you may be one of them, is that you’re filled (or your partner is filled) with a sense of dread every month as your period approaches. And this is the reason why so many women of all ages are on the oral contraceptive pill (OCP).
They’re not on it necessarily for contraception but to prevent debilitating emotional and physical menstrual symptoms.
However, the good news is it is possible to eliminate PMS and period pain naturally. You can rebalance your hormones so your period comes and goes each month without you blinking an eye.
The secret to this lies in getting your ovaries to produce optimal levels of the important female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
Oestrogen, boosts feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and oxytocin. Plus it also improves energy, mood and libido.
Progesterone is like a natural anti-depressant (it’s often referred to as ‘hormonal Valium’) because it increases the effectiveness of the soothing and calming neurotransmitter GABA in your brain.
The other great thing about progesterone is it also enhances thyroid function. So it’s crucial for good metabolism.
So, when you have optimal levels of these hormones your menstrual cycle runs smoothly and you feel even and balanced. However…
Because these hormones make you feel good if they get out of balance you feel it!
Unbalanced oestrogen and progesterone levels make you feel teary, angry, irritable, anxious, sad, depressed and unmotivated on the emotional level pre-menstrually.
And on the physical level oestrogen/progesterone imbalance is what causes pre-menstrual fatigue, breast tenderness, weight gain, insomnia and sweet/chocolate/carb cravings. So if you feel like you can’t control yourself in your pre-menstrual week it’s not your imagination. Your hormones do have control over you and hormones can make you do irrational things.
And then when your period comes oestrogen/progesterone imbalance is what causes period pain, heavy periods, clots and even light or non-existent periods (not including menopause).
No, if you suspect you have oestrogen/progesterone imbalance here are 3 ways to eliminate PMS and period pain naturally, forever.
Three ways to eliminate PMS and period pain naturally
- Boost Progesterone
The most common trigger for PMS is low progesterone levels. This can happen because of a number of reasons.
The number one reason is stress. Your stress hormone cortisol is made from progesterone. So when you’re stressed your body uses progesterone to make cortisol. And because modern life is stressful this means your body is constantly using up progesterone to make cortisol.
The result is it causes your progesterone levels to bottom out. Which means you don’t have enough ‘hormonal Valium’ to keep you calm and balanced. So this is why stress makes your PMS and other period problems worse.
The other critical factor that affects progesterone levels is ovulation. Most of your progesterone is made from the follicle the egg comes out of when you ovulate. Once the egg is released the follicle starts releasing progesterone.
However, if you don’t ovulate then the follicle doesn’t make progesterone. And if you don’t make progesterone then GABA can’t flow freely in your brain so you feel angry and irritable instead of calm.
Now low progesterone levels don’t just affect you emotionally. Heavy periods, clots and period pain are also signs of low progesterone levels.
One of the roles of progesterone in your body is to keep the lining of your uterus in place while it grows over the month. This is so a fertilised egg has something to implant into and start to grow. If the egg isn’t fertilized then two weeks after you ovulate the ovarian follicles stop making progesterone and this triggers your period to start.
If you have insufficient progesterone then what happens is your period might start early (short cycle). Or the uterine lining sheds too fast (heavy bleeding, clots and pain).
So to eliminate PMS and period pain naturally you need to boost progesterone naturally (as opposed to using synthetic progestins contained in the OCP and Mirena). The first way you do this is by counteracting the effects of cortisol. And you can do this with adrenal herbs (like ginsengs), B vitamins and magnesium.
Plus to boost progesterone you also need to support healthy follicle growth and ovulation since it’s the follicle that makes progesterone. The key to doing this is with nutrients like magnesium, taurine, zinc, iodine, selenium, B vitamins and the herb Chaste Tree.
- Enhance Oestrogen Elimination
While oestrogen is a wonderful hormone you can get too much of a good thing. Not usually because your ovaries make too much but because it builds up in your body.
Our modern world is full of hormone-disrupting chemicals (like parabens and plasticisers) that find their way into your body. These chemicals block your body from breaking down and eliminating oestrogen, causing it to build up.
Another reason oestrogen builds up in your body is that ‘bad’ bugs in your gut cause oestrogen to be reabsorbed from your bowel instead of being eliminated in your poo. This is why PMS can sometimes worsen after you’ve had a course of antibiotics.
As oestrogen levels build up in your body it creates the same effect as if you have low progesterone. So it causes you to feel angry, irritable, short-tempered and teary.
And it this isn’t bad enough oestrogen is your female growth hormone. Which under normal circumstances is fantastic because it keeps your skin elastic (oestrogen is essential for collagen formation) and your bone density and muscle mass up.
But when you have to oestrogen much of it slows your thyroid down, triggers fat making and storage, makes you retain fluid and grows the lining of your uterus too thick. Which of course means when it comes to the period time you have heavy clotted and possible long periods.
So to eliminate PMS and period pain naturally you need to stop oestrogen building up to unwanted levels. And you do this by enhancing how your body clears oestrogen. The number one nutrient do this is iodine because it desensitises your oestrogen receptors and unblocks oestrogen detoxification pathways.
This makes your cells less sensitive to oestrogen and flushes it out of your body more effectively.
Along with iodine you also need B vitamins and other oestrogen clearing nutrients like DIM and sulforaphane to help your body flush excess oestrogen away.
*Now a separate note on oestrogen. If you feel depressed and have trouble sleeping before your period this can be a sign that your oestrogen levels drop too quickly at the end of your cycle rather than you have too much. So you need to bring your oestrogen levels up not down with oestrogen enhancing herbs like Shatavari.
- Supress Inflammation
PMS and period pain are both made worse by inflammation. Inflammation depletes progesterone, impairs oestrogen detoxification, blocks GABA receptors, hyper-stimulates oestrogen receptors and sensitises pain receptors.
One of the simplest things you can do to eliminate PMS and period pain naturally is to remove inflammation-causing foods from your diet. The top ones to stop eating are cow’s milk dairy products, sugar, gluten and ALCOHOL.
The number one supplement for period pain is magnesium. Just like it stops muscle cramps it stops uterine cramps.
If you get intense period pain then an excellent alternative to anti-inflammatory medications is a high strength turmeric supplement.
And last but not least in regards to eliminating PMS and period pain naturally is you need to restore optimal gut bacteria balance. Too many ‘bad’ gut bugs in your gut causes a huge amount of inflammation in your body and this can be an underlying cause of your period problems.
The sensitivity of PMS and period pain to your gut health is perfectly illustrated by the situation where PMS and period pain often worsen after you take a course of antibiotics. This is because antibiotics mess up your balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ gut bugs.
Now if you currently suffer from PMS or period pain I can help eliminate PMS and period pain naturally. My Problem Free Periods Program is a natural treatment plan that applies all the strategies I’ve mentioned and makes your period… problem-free!
To eliminate PMS and period pain naturally call Happy & Healthy Wellbeing Centre now on 9524 2471 or contact us by email.
Hayden Keys – Naturopath & Healthy Hormones Specialist