I see many women who have heavy, irregular, or painful periods and do not mention PMS because they assume that PMS is “normal.” Premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as migraines, irritability, fatigue, and depression indicate that there is an underlying hormonal imbalance and there are many natural therapies that correct hormonal imbalances.
Short-Term Treatments for Premenstrual Syndrome
In conventional medicine, PMS is treated with birth control pills or antidepressants and these work well for many people. I think of these treatments as short-term treatments because if estrogen and progesterone remain out of balance, the woman will someday experience heavy periods, painful periods or infertility and be at higher risk of uterine cancer.
Premenstrual Syndrome and Estrogen Dominance
Women with severe PMS often have some form of estrogen dominance – this can be because they have too much estrogen or not enough progesterone (or both). Here are some of the ways that these hormones can get out of balance:
Progesterone is a precursor to cortisol (the hormone that increases in response to stress) so if people are under a lot of stress and/or not sleeping well, they can end up depleting their progesterone in order to make cortisol.
Estrogen must be processed by the liver and leave with the stool so people who tend towards constipation can often develop high estrogen levels. Likewise, people who take medications or drink alcohol can have stress on their liver that prevents their body from getting rid of excess estrogens.
Treatment for Premenstrual Syndrome
Treatment for hormonal imbalances is individualized and changes over time. The goal of treatment is for your body to effectively regulate hormones without any ongoing intervention. In order to support your body in regulating hormones, I may prescribe herbs like Vitex or Rhodiola or nutrients like magnesium and Vitamin B6.
Often, people with PMS benefit from dietary changes like avoiding simple carbohydrates (sweets, breads, and pasta) to promote steady blood sugar levels or avoiding foods that cause inflammatory responses.
Contact me if you suffer from PMS and would like to explore options for relief.