PMS is my favorite thing to treat because it responds so well to natural treatment. I love to hear patients say: “I was surprised when my period just arrived. I didn’t even feel it coming.”
No irritability. No headache. No food cravings. It is possible.
The first step to easy periods is to value female hormones. Both estrogen and progesterone are powerful assets, and not something to be switched off with hormonal birth control.
For example, estrogen boosts serotonin and oxytocin. It improves mood and libido and enhances insulin sensitivity. Progesterone is soothing and calming because it connects with GABA receptors. It’s also anti-inflammatory and supports thyroid function.
It’s because your hormones are so beneficial that you feel it when they rise and fall and fluctuate. But fluctuation is not a bad thing. Hormones fluctuate because they’re made in a cyclic pattern with ovulation, and that is the only way they can be made. If you’re going to have female hormones, they’re going to fluctuate.
The PMS solution is to be physiologically adaptable to the natural, necessary fluctuation of hormones. I call this “hormonal resilience”.
The PMS Cure:
1. Enhance and stabilize progesterone
Women with PMS and PMDD (a severe form of PMS) have GABA receptors in the brain that are more sensitive to the ups and downs of progesterone. The strategy is to stabilize the GABA receptors and establish progesterone resilience.
- Support GABA and progesterone resilience with magnesium and vitamin B6. Read Why progesterone is both good and bad for mood (and how to treat PMDD).
- Consider taking Vitex which supports progesterone and soothes PMDD with its mild opiate effect.
- Consider taking a natural progesterone capsule.
2. Reduce estrogen excess
Estrogen is a great hormone, but if you experience premenstrual irritability and breast tenderness, it may be a sign that you have a little too much estrogen.
The main way that estrogen contributes to PMS is that it can cause or worsen histamine intolerance. Read The role of histamine and mast cells in PMS and PMDD.
- Reduce histamine by avoiding cow’s dairy, alcohol, and high-histamine foods.
- Supplement with vitamin B6 to assist with the healthy clearance of both histamine and estrogen.
- Ensure adequate iodine, which stabilizes and down-regulates estrogen receptors.
- Improve gut health to improve the metabolism and healthy clearance of estrogen.
3. Reduce inflammation
Chronic inflammation interferes with hormonal health on every level. It impedes ovulation and depletes progesterone. It also impairs estrogen detoxification, blocks progesterone and GABA receptors, and hyper-stimulates estrogen receptors. Chronic inflammation is the perfect storm for PMS.
- Reduce inflammatory, histamine-activating foods such as cow’s dairy.
- Supplement with natural anti-inflammatories such as magnesium.
- Maintain healthy gut bacteria.
For more information, read Chapter 8 in Period Repair Manual.