Stress and PMS: Break the Cycle

Stress and PMS: Break the Cycle

Do you feel more stressed than usual in the weeks leading up to your period? I see many patients who arrange their lives around their menstrual cycles, trying to lighten any burdens that may be placed upon them during these two weeks before their periods occur.

Stress and PMS can be a vicious cycle: PMS and its many symptoms increase stress, and stress increases the symptoms of PMS. Fortunately, there is a way to break this cycle! Below, we’ll outline a strategy to help you on those days when you feel like your life is out of control!

Start Your Month Off the Right Way

Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. This is the best time to set a plan into action. The hormonal shifts and loss of fluid that take place during menstruation can cause many women to feel extra fatigue. It is important to listen to your body at this time, and slow down when possible. You should also consider implementing the following:

Diet to Support Your Body

Choose natural, organic, whole foods that will balance your blood sugar and sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Lean protein like cage-free eggs and omega-3 rich walnuts will ensure that your body is supported by the purest sources. Choose organic, colorful vegetables and in-season fruit to dress up your meals. Avoid sugary, overly-processed foods. Though they may be exactly what you are craving, the rise and subsequent drop in your blood sugar will leave you desperate for something more substantial.

Hydrate Like a Pro

During menstruation, the average women loses between 10-35ml of fluid. Ensure that you are rehydrating your body by drinking pure, filtered water regularly. Try to drink between meals in order to allow your body to properly digest food. Avoid sugary drinks, caffeinated beverages, and thirst-quenching sports drinks, and instead opt for good old H2O. You’ll have more energy, feel more vibrant, and set your body up for success in the weeks to come.

Pick Up the Pace Mid-month

As you sail into the follicular portion of your cycle, you may experience a surge of energy. Now is a wonderful time to continue the healthy habits you started last week, and to add in some nourishing exercise. There are two different types that I recommend: aerobic exercise and mindfulness exercises.

Aerobic Exercise

Participating in heart-pumping aerobic exercise for 30-60 minutes at least three times per week is a great way to manage any pre-PMS anxiety. It will increase your circulation, release endorphins, and can also lower your risk for obesity, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers!

Mindfulness Exercises

Practicing exercises that encourage mindfulness can help banish stress, anxiety, and worry. Starting this habit now while you’re still on top of your symptoms is essential. As you close in on PMS, take extra time to connect with your breath in these techniques and examine where you’re feeling stress in your body. Both yoga and meditation are excellent options to help you achieve this connection.

Be Kind to Yourself

Premenstrual syndrome typically appears anywhere from two weeks before menstruation up until the first day of your period. As you feel your hormones shift, be extra patient with yourself. Continue eating nutritious, wholesome food and staying hydrated. Incorporate mindfulness and aerobic exercise into your daily routine. If you feel like PMS is starting to make your day unmanageable, try the following strategies:

Soak in a Luxurious Bath

Relax in a tub of warm water. Throw in a handful of Epsom salt. It’s is composed of magnesium sulfate, which is easily absorbable and helps reduce inflammation. You can also add a couple drops of lavender essential oil, which can alleviate stress, help you relax, and calm your nerves.

Visualize Relaxation

This can be done anywhere, but is especially helpful while soaking in the bath mentioned above. Close your eyes and visualize a place where you feel completely at peace. What does this location look like? What colors do you see? Are you out in nature, or in a safe place indoors? Take note of this place, and mentally return here throughout the week when you feel overwhelmed.

Choose Herbs to Help

Choosing the right herbs can be as easy as enjoying a delicious cup of chamomile tea. Chaste berry, Lemon balm and cinnamon are also known to help calm nerves, increase circulation, and ease discomfort. Be sure to mention any herbal medications to your health practitioner, as they may interfere with supplements or medication you may currently be taking.

If you feel like PMS has caused your stress level to go through the roof, and your stress level is making your PMS symptoms more intense, these tips should help you start to take control of your life once again. For more answers on how to manage your hormones including how to eliminate PMS entirely, schedule a free consultation with me today!

Depression During PMS: It Doesn’t Have to Be Normal for You

Depression During PMS: It Doesn’t Have to Be Normal for You

For many women, the two weeks before menstruation are especially trying. This condition is commonly referred to as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Hormone fluctuations, insomnia, anxiety, food cravings, bloating, and a lack of motivation are a common occurrence.

Add to that the usual stresses of an overly-busy lifestyle, and it’s no wonder more and more women are becoming fed-up with over-the-counter and prescription drugs to deal with their symptoms.

If you struggle with mental fog, sadness, and irritability in the weeks before your period, know that you are not alone, and you’re not destined to endure this discomfort until menopause. Read below to find out steps you can take TODAY!

What is PMS?

PMS occurs during the premenstrual period in the weeks before menstruation begins. Hormone shifts, changes in brain chemistry, and a stressful lifestyle are all contributing factors. Depression during PMS can be similar to clinical depression (also known as major depression), but differs in that it only occurs during this part of the menstrual cycle. Symptoms of PMS include the following:

  • Acne
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach Upset
  • Back Pain
  • Headaches
  • Change in Appetite
  • Pain in Joints
  • Mental Fog
  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety

When Depression is More Than a Symptom

If feelings of hopelessness and sadness are part of your monthly routine, you don’t have to live this way! Depression occurs for many reasons, and hormonal shifts in the luteal phase (also known as the premenstrual period) can trigger this condition for many women.

The female hormone Estrogen is largely to blame, as it rises and drops off at various periods throughout the month. During the luteal phase, estrogen bottoms out, causing many women to experience extreme mood swings, carbohydrate cravings, and a downward shift in serotonin levels, which many associate with depression.

If you have days where you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, depression has become more than a symptom for you; it has taken control of your life. The good news is that there is hope!

Balancing Your Hormones

Addressing PMS and other mood disorders begins with a thorough examination of your health and lifestyle. Many of the “healthy” foods we eat and habits we maintain are adding to this imbalance. Functional medicine seeks to uncover the underlying cause and provide you with a new set of tools to achieve optimal health.

There are many tests available to determine what may be causing your discomfort, including the DUTCH hormone test, a comprehensive panel that measures hormone levels. Our office will recommend the right testing for you so that we can get to the bottom of your most pressing health concerns, including the symptoms of PMS.

Choosing the Right Support

Both diet and supplements play a huge role in your heath as well. We will help you determine which foods are helping, and which may be causing discomfort in your body. As your hormones shift and cravings take over, it is important to have a plan in place. Do your shopping beforehand to ensure that the foods you eat are supporting your health, stabilizing your blood sugar, and helping to banish bloating.

The right supplements are an integral part of achieving your ultimate health. Choosing supplements can be intimidating, especially with the range in price and quality. We will help you determine which ones are essential for you, and find the highest quality options for your price range.

There is not one magic pill that is a cure-all, but with our advanced diagnostic techniques, we can determine the cause of your uncomfortable symptoms and take steps toward giving your body what it really needs. By eliminating the guesswork, you save loads of time and money trying to stumble upon the right combination of support and begin uncovering tools that will help you thrive immediately.

Living the Fullest Life

If you’re one of the many women who has struggled for weeks out of each year with the discomfort of PMS, treat yourself to better health by uncovering the cause of your discomfort. Choose foods and supplements that support a healthy hormone balance. Follow these steps to take charge of your health once again in order to live the fullest life.

  1. Eliminate the guesswork by choosing the RIGHT TESTS for you.  The right tests uncover the shifts in your hormones, imbalances in your gut health, and nutrient deficiencies in your diet.
  1. Choose the best SUPPORT with nutrition and supplements tailored to your health needs.  Using your unique test results, we can help you discover the underlying deficiencies that are adding to your monthly discomfort, and recommend a diet that will support your health goals. We will recommend supplements that will give you more energy, reduce bloating, and help balance your hormones in order to banish feelings of depression and anxiety.
  1. Make it at LIFESTYLE.  Once you realize how much better you feel when you support your body in this way, it’s nearly impossible to turn back. Approach these new habits as a complete shift in lifestyle, rather than a quick way to shed pounds or feel better. Not only will you live without the sadness and discomfort of PMS, but you’ll enjoy robust health all month long!


If you’re tired of having to tiptoe around your changing hormones, schedule a FREE CONSULTATION today!

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