So not fair!  After birthing a baby, suffering through chapped nipples, and surviving (hardly) sleep deprivation, mothers should NOT have to deal with this PMS BS.  Right?   The persistent headaches, debilitating cramps, and insatiable cravings – every. single. month.

Until menopause?  No thanks!

Did you know there were different PMS types?  More on this below.

Raising kids is hard enough without the added PMS symptoms.

How can we be calm and collected, or ‘parent peacefully’ when all we really want to do is curl up in a ball (with a bag of salty chips, and maybe some mint ice cream too).

Being a Nutritionist, I see enough clients come to be with PMS symptoms among other challenges.  I feel their pain as if it’s my own.  But as they’ve witnessed, PMS does not have to be your normal.

Let’s start to nip it in the bud, starting with some PMS 101…

 

So what’s your PMS Type?

 

When you have a PMS chat with your girlfriend, you’ll realize this time of the month doesn’t look the same for all of us.  You may crave chocolate like it’s nobody’s business.  She might cry at the sight of spilt milk.

PMS manifests in different ways depending on what’s happening in your body.   As I explain to clients, there are actually 4 PMS types or categories (some experts argue there’s 5).

Where do you fall?

PMS Types Potential Causes  Symptoms Incidence of women
PMS-A 

ANXIETY

  • High estrogen
  • Low progesterone
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tense feelings
  • Irritability
  • Clumsiness
  • Mood swings
65-75%
PMS-C

CRAVINGS

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Increased insulin (especially in early part of cycle)
  • Hormonal regulation
  • Carb & sweets cravings
  • Cravings for salt
  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue, fainting
  • Heart palpitations
24-35%
PMS-D

DEPRESSION

  • Low serotonin
  • Low estrogen
  • High progesterone
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Easily upset/crying
  • Poor concentration or memory
  • Low self-worth
  • Confusion
23-37%
PMS-H

HYPERHYDRATION

  • High aldosterone
  • High stress
  • High estrogen
  • Low magnesium
  • High salt
  • Weight gain (≥ 3 lbs)
  • Bloating
  • Swelling of face/hands/ankles
  • Breast tenderness
65-72%

 

PMS type solutions

Why are we PMS’ing?

 

We can thank our lovely hormones.

The most common driver of PMS symptoms is hormone imbalance.   

That hormonal imbalance is commonly a progesterone deficiency.

Here’s why:  Estrogen and progesterone have a teeter-totter relationship.  When one goes UP the other must come DOWN.   In the second half of our cycle (last two weeks), the hormone progesterone is supposed to be HIGH to prepare the body for pregnancy.  However, many of us have excess estrogen circulating in our system which keep progesterone from elevating.

This shift on the teeter-totter happens for a few reasons:

  • We may be eating a diet that is high in sugar, refined carbs, or caffeine.
  • We may be consuming hormones in our dairy and meat products.
  • We’re likely chronically stressed out
  • We’re exposed to estrogen-like toxins (called xenoestrogens) from pesticides, plastics, pollution, etc.

 

Start with these simple changes

Removing excess estrogens is an important piece of the PMS puzzle.  So this is where we’ll start.

Avoid xenoestrogens (hormone mimickers):

  • Cook in glass or non-coated metal pans (no non-stick or teflon!).  Cast iron is a great option (I have this one).
  • Avoid heating or storing foods in plastic. Bought this beeswax-based food wrap a few years ago and love it (bonus: it’s antibacterial too).
  • Eat organic produce and meat where possible (especially for the “Dirty Dozen“).
  • Avoid using chemical pesticides or cleaners.  Green at Home has some simple (and inexpensive!) recipes for toxic-free cleaners.
  • Avoid body care products containing hormone disruptors.  Check out the Think Dirty App or this awesome cheatsheet.
  • Opt out of taking receipts (which also contain BPA).
  • Look for BPA-free canned food.  I love this brand of canned BPA-Free Coconut Milk
  • Avoid PCBs by drinking filtered water (we use reverse osmosis).   Brita and other pour-through filters do not filter out BCPs, fluorine, and many other chemicals.

NOTE:   For those with symptoms of PMS-D, low estrogen may be a factor.  So focus on phytoestrogens in your diet including organic fermented soy (tempeh, tamari), flax seeds, and fennel.

But we can’t stop there…

Like most things when it comes to health, there’s no silver bullet.  We definitely need to look at what we’re exposed to through our environment and the products we use.

THENwe must also look at what we’re eating, drinking, and how we are moving, sleeping, thinking.   As I learned in my personal experience with overcoming PCOS (another hormonal condition), all of the above interfere with our web of hormones.

Same goes for PMS.  We will see the best progress when we take an holistic approach to our symptoms.

Sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.  We can tame your PMS, no matter which type you are.  Start with the seven simple tips in this Mini PMS Protocol.  

PMS type solutions

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