Are you concerned about how PMS is affecting your mood and emotions? Do you feel like PMS is intensifying with each passing year? Do you feel EXTRA sensitive, more stressed, and way less patient with your kids and hubby?
Now, do you feel like these experiences are normal? Just a normal part of your life that you have to live with?
If you said yes, this could not be further from the truth.
Yes, PMS is common. But it is anything but normal.
In this brief article, I want to explain what may be happening in your body that may lead to the intensifying PMS. Why your symptoms may worsen with each passing year. And what you can do to get back into balance!
What is happening in your body?
There are so many hormones in the body. Digestive and metabolic hormones such as insulin & thyroid, stress hormones cortisol & adrenaline, and reproductive hormones such as estrogen & progesterone.
They are all interrelated! If one is off-balance, all can become off-balance, especially cortisol, progesterone, estrogen & thyroid!
Up until menopause (the cessation of your monthly cycle), your reproductive hormones fluctuate over the course of a month.
There are four stages in a monthly cycle: the follicular phase, the ovulation phase, the luteal phase, and the menstrual phase.
Follicular: The beginning of this phase is marked by the end of menses. FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) is produced to prepare the egg (key for fertility).
Ovulation: Luteinizing hormones are produced, causing the release of the egg. Estrogen levels increase, thickening the uterus and encouraging the growth of immune cells. Also, testosterone plays a role in the release of the egg, as it spikes up and then decreases when ovulation ends.
Luteal: This is typically the time that you may experience PMS. This period lasts 7-10 days. During this period, progesterone rises, and estrogen remains low until the end of the cycle. However, if estrogen and testosterone levels are too high during this period, PMS could be worse.
Why do we experience PMS?
As I mentioned earlier. When estrogen and testosterone are high in the luteal phase when they should be low (up until the end), PMS rears its ugly head. As a result, you may experience emotional disturbances for a week or two before the arrival of your period.
But why would estrogen rise? For several reasons, but one particular reason is STRESS. Chronic stress is a significant factor impacting a woman's cycle. When we are stressed, we lose minerals (especially our electrolytes such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium). As a result, copper signaling is turned off, we produce fewer ceruloplasmin enzymes (our most significant anti-oxidant enzymes), and ultimately progesterone production drops. Now progesterone and estrogen behave like a seesaw. When one drops, the other rises. So when progesterone drops, estrogen rises and becomes the dominant hormone. So often it's not that we produce too much estrogen (although that can happen) it's often that we produce too little progesterone.
Elevated cortisol also impacts the thyroid. It reduces the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary gland), which will impact T3 & T4 production from the thyroid gland. This also causes a dip in progesterone production, leading to a rise in estrogen levels.
When estrogen increases - Excess estrogen levels, aka “estrogen dominance,” causes the liver to produce high levels of something called thyroid-binding globulin (TBG), which, as its name suggests, binds thyroid hormone and decreases the amount of thyroid hormone available to the body. This results in hypothyroid symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, weight gain, low libido, low mood, constipation, and irregular menstrual cycles. In fact, the symptoms of estrogen dominance and low thyroid levels are often the same.
What can you do about it?
There's so much that you can do to improve PMS symptoms. The responsiveness of your body will vary. Some women experience improvements within 1-2 cycles, and for others, it takes more time. It all depends on how long you have been experiencing these symptoms.
There was a point in time when I personally experienced all of the above symptoms I described above. I was irritable, tired and my mind felt crazy. My family walked on eggshells, and I could NOT handle stress. If something new sprung up on my calendar or life threw a new challenge my way, I would crumble and fall apart. However, with some shifts in my diet and mindset, these symptoms have become a distant memory. And they can be for you too!
The first place to start is to support your adrenal glands in order to increase your resilience. The adrenals run on potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Therefore you should focus on increasing your intake of these key nutrients. You can do this by taking in plenty of well-cooked green leafy vegetables such as beet greens, collard greens, and spinach. It's important that these vegetables are cooked preferably in vitamin A-rich butter which allows the minerals to become more bio-available.
In addition, you can add herbs such as ashwagandha and Rhodiola. Which can both support adrenal function.
Next, it's important to manage stress. To deal with the stressor or develop stress management techniques. Sleep and deep breathing can be a life-changer. Ensuring you are getting deep restorative sleep will significantly impact your cortisol/melatonin levels and help improve your stress response.
Make some downtime for yourself. Read a book, walk barefoot on grass, spend time in nature. Take a bath. Do YOU! Take time to relax and schedule "me time" on your calendar. I know many women struggle with this because it feels selfish. But it is truly the MOST selfless thing you can do. When you restore your health, everyone benefits.
If you would like to pick my brain on how you can improve your hormonal imbalances, schedule a FREE complimentary call with me by clicking here.
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