Let’s go ahead and put an end to the long argued debate – PMS is REAL!
If you’ve ever felt sad, depressed, tired, anxious, irritable, bloated, moody or experienced reoccurring backaches, cramping, or extreme food cravings in the weeks leading up to your period, you may have fallen prey to the dreaded premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
PMS is a combination of both emotional and physical symptoms that can manifest prior to the onset of a woman’s period. Most women experience it about a week or two leading up to the first day of menstruation. However, it can happen anytime from ovulation on. While only a small inconvenience for some and yet a serious problem for others, it affects women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and colors. For some it can cause huge disruptions in daily life.
Maybe you’ve been there before?
You wake up feeling totally fine, get dressed and ready for the day, then go about your schedule as you normally would and then…BAM! All of a sudden you find yourself in THE WORST POSSIBLE MOOD.
One of the most common symptoms expressed among women who experience PMS is moodiness. PMS can cause extreme and uncontrollable mood swings for some ranging from hysterical crying spells, to anxiety, to random angry outburst.
Although the exact cause of PMS is unknown, we can take an exceptionally educated guess in that the cause of it is likely due to estrogen dominance and the imbalance of certain hormones. The thought is that when you are experiencing PMS symptoms, your hormones have fallen out of whack on some level. These symptoms often occur when the hormone estrogen is not in balance with its counterpart progesterone.
Changes to estrogen and progesterone can also have a direct effect on your body’s serotonin levels, which makes sense when examining your mood. Without getting too technical, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate things like your sleep/wake cycle, your appetite, and (coincidentally) your mood. When estrogen and progesterone are thrown out of balance, it could very well mean bad news for serotonin levels too. Low levels of serotonin can be linked to intense food cravings, sadness, irritability and (surprise, surprise) moodiness, which are also all common PMS symptoms.
The goal is to focus on bringing your hormones back into balance by not only lowering estrogen and raising progesterone, but by also removing as many environmental toxins as possible and reducing inflammation within the body. Though this might seem difficult or intimidating to get a handle on – I assure you it can be done!
Below I’ve put together five surefire ways to combat PMS moodiness the most common PMS symptom, while also balancing hormones and reducing inflammation:
#1 Control Your Blood Sugar:
First things first – make sure you are consuming a balanced diet with quality whole, minimally processed foods. Try eating 4-6 smaller but more frequent meals - each with small amounts of quality proteins. Larger meals, particularly ones high in simple carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop quickly, causing blood sugar swings which can trigger more intense PMS symptoms. You can also try adding in complex carbs to aid in stabilizing blood sugar such as whole grains, beans, brown rice and sweet potatoes.
#2 Limit The Consumption Of Triggering Foods:
I know it may seem harsh – but try your best during the week leading up to your period to limit your consumption of both chocolate and sugar. Steering clear of these sweet treats can help aid in stabilizing blood sugar. I would also shy away from things like coffee, soda and other caffeinated beverages as these can also influence your mood causing an increase in anxiety as well as irregular spikes and drops in blood sugar. Work on also avoiding beer, wine or any alcohol like the plague. Alcohol acts as a depressant, which can of course negatively affect your mood.
#3 Get Up & Get Moving:
We recommend working out around 3 to 5 times a week and doing core-strengthening exercises to help support the lower back and pelvic area, two common problem areas for women dealing with intense PMS symptoms. In addition, consistent and appropriate physical activity can cause a rise of endorphins, which feed good chemicals that are released during physical activity, which can help boost your mood and combat depression. This can also help to counteract some of the hormone changes that we experience during our cycle which trigger PMS to occur. Also try adding in 10-15 minutes of daily stretching or yoga and Pilates to help keep that blood flow moving!
#4 Prioritize Self Care:
Maintaining a consistent & proper sleep schedule will help lessen tiredness and moodiness. Stress reduction and relaxation techniques are also keen to help control your mental awareness, which needs to be on high alert to detect changes in your hormones that are influencing your mood, triggering PMS moodiness. Try to reduce your exposure to stress or stress triggers as much as possible. Something that might be helpful is to create a morning and evening ritual to help to wake up and wind down each day properly. It is important to note that stress release and self-care looks different for everyone. Maybe it looks like cuddling up for a movie, taking a warm bath or sipping on some nice hot tea? Whatever works for you! If you find that you are unable to remove all the stressors from your life, try breaking up the stress by participating in relaxation techniques such as yoga, mediation or deep breathing. An alternative to using physical exercise as stress relief is to try keeping a journal to record your mood and feelings. This can help track cyclical symptoms.
#5 Consider Taking Quality Fertility Supporting Supplements:
There are a few quality supplements that I would recommend to add to your toolkit should you experience PMS moodiness. The top three would be calcium, magnesium and B6. Recent studies show that adding enough calcium to your diet can help ease mood changes related to severe PMS symptoms.
Calcium combined with magnesium is also a powerful PMS fighter. In one study, the combination of these two supplements resulted in a 50% reduction in the participant’s PMS symptoms. Magnesium also plays a vital role in muscle contraction, so it can be useful for fighting intense bloat and cramping – things that can have a direct effect on our mood too.
Then there is B6. Studies have shown that supplementing the diet with B6 can help relieve PMS symptoms including anxiety, food cravings and low mood – which makes sense as B6 plays a vital role in creating the brain's neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers responsible for carrying information between different brain cells which includes serotonin a known mood regulator
Lastly to aid in detoxification I would recommend trying a quality liver support, like Milk Thistle, or dandelion root to help support the body’s natural detoxification process to help rid the body of harmful environmental toxins and chemicals.
Ready to kick the PMS moodiness to the curb and arm yourself with the tools to take control of your hormonal health? Gear up with Empirica’s PMS LESS Supplement Bundle!