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PMS-Putting Up With Men's Stuffby Dave Foreman
That usually gets a smile from women and a few Amens.The fact remains, however: PMS can be debilitating and not funny at all for many women. There are drugs to mask the underlying cause(s), but these often come with a price not just financially, but in terms of side effects. It's estimated that about 85 percent of women have one or more symptoms prior to their period. These symptoms may be physical, emotional and/or behavioral, and they may vary in form and intensity depending on the woman, her age, and her health situation.
Common physical complaints:
Common behavioral complaints:
Common emotional complaints:
So what's causing all the women in our lives to suffer each month? The belief is it all revolves around hormones in the endocrine system. This delicate and intricate balance of chemicals (hormones) in the body can impact many aspects of health. Regrettably, modern medicine doesn't seem able to help balance this system. In fact, most "treatment programs" involve adding more hormones or just hiding masking symptoms for short periods.
Don't get me wrong, natural medicine does basically the same thing.Nutritional supplements can directly impact the symptoms of PMS (i.e. reduce fluid retention and anxiety, etc.), but without the harmful side effects often associated with drugs.
Before we get into the specifics of supplements, let's look at some lifestyle changes that can help. With regards to diet, removing sugar and other refined foods is a great start. Decreasing caffeine consumption can actually decrease the incidence and severity of PMS. Alcohol consumption (or other drugs that impact liver health) should be avoided. Alcohol bogs down the liver.This is bad because the liver helps metabolize hormones released during your monthly cycle. Increasing fiber and decreasing dairy and animal fats can also help reduce PMS symptoms. Increased activity can be a positive lifestyle choice, too
As stated before, dietary supplements can help significantly reduce PMS symptoms. I prefer to not treat symptoms separately, but address the hormone balancing head on. Modern and natural medicine both believe PMS symptoms derive from an improperly balanced endocrine system, so focus your effort here. My approach is herbal. I like three herbs as part of my PMS program. Using these together for a 3-month period (or 3 menstrual cycles) usually does the trick. The magic herbs are Vitex, Dong Quai and Black Cohosh. Both Vitex and Black Cohosh have direct hormonal effects and Dong Quai is more of a tonic (supportive) herb for female health.Vitex seems the big winner when it comes to research on helping PMS. But as always I recommend synergy. Most herbal combination products for PMS combine Vitex with one or both of the other herbs mentioned.Why spend a ton of money and time on addressing your symptoms when balancing your hormones will probably take care of everything. In the old days, I had my own product line.(no longer available). I offered an herbal combination of these three herbs and it was a huge hit.Why? Because it got to the root of the problem.
Aside from trying to balance hormones naturally, it may sometimes be necessary to address particular symptoms. Looking for a specific combination product to address your needs should be relatively easy. Whether it's stress, anxiety, fluid retention, bloating or headaches, your Vitamin Shoppe will have something natural to help you. But remember these supplements should only be used until you can address your hormonal imbalance naturally. Changing your diet and getting more activity will help provide the boost you need to feel healthy again.