Hands up, if you struggle with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and just thought it was normal. Growing up I certainly did; now I know different. As a naturopath I’ve learnt that ‘our hormones don’t have to control our life.’ But, in order for this to be a reality we need to take responsibility for how we’re choosing to live our lives, right now.
Habits that influence our hormones.
Think about how you’re living your life and the choices you are making in relations to these:
- What chemicals you’re putting into and on your body?
- How much exercise you’re doing?
- Are you practicing relaxation and living consciously in the moment?
- Do you manage stress effectively?
- Are you getting quality sleep?
- What your diet is like and how much water you’re drinking?
Our attitudes, expectations and experience of life also plays a role in the development of hormonal imbalance and PMS.
Tell tale signs of hormonal imbalance
There are four different categories of PMS relating to specific hormonal imbalances and associated symptoms. Here are the categories:
- PMS-A: ‘Anxiety’, mood swings, tension, insomnia, irritability, heart palpitations
- PMS-C: ‘Cravings’, increased appetite, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sweating
- PMS-D: ‘Depression’, clumsy, forgetful, feeling hopeless, crying, fatigue, low libido
- PMS-H: ‘Hyperhydration’ or fluid retention, bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain
Others include (1) PMS-P: pain, back pain, period pain, clotting, migraines, reduced pain tolerance and (2) PMDD: premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe PMS that interferes with a woman’s ability to perform normal daily activities.
You may experience one or a combination of these over a defined period of time (up to 2 weeks prior to onset of bleeding). Other signs of hormonal imbalance include acne (especially around the chin) and erratic periods and/or ovulation.
Our bodies are designed to maintain balance
PMS is purely our body’s way of telling us our hormones are out of balance. By recognising which category(s) you fall into you can pin point what you need to do in order to support the body to bring your hormones back into balance. Natural medicine can offer a wealth of assistance here. You can start by monitoring your cycle (there are some great apps out there) which will help you recognise different patterns.
8 attainable strategies for maintaining hormonal balance
The key here is to live in a way that will maintain a healthy stress response along with healthy gut bacteria and liver detoxification of unwanted hormones. Here are my tips:
- Eat wholefoods (preferably organic) while avoiding processed foods. Specific foods to include: cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), bitter greens (rocket), fermented foods, fibre (whole grains & legumes), quality protein and fats (nuts/seeds & plant oils), phytoestogens (Non-GMO soy products & flaxseeds).
- Balance daily morning exercise with moments of relaxation throughout the day and evening.
- Get eight hours of quality sleep a night by practicing sleep hygiene
- Keep hydrated by adding Celtic salt to your purified drinking water
- Avoid non-organic animal products (dairy, meat, poultry, eggs)
- Avoid xenoestrogens: pesticides, plastics, commercial cosmetic and cleaning products, medications (contraception, HRT, analgesics, etc.)
- Avoid or minimise alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake
- If you’re overweight engage in a safe, long term weight reduction program.
Living consciously ensures a positive outcome
To help you understand what’s going on with your hormones and to get the most appropriate treatment strategy for you I recommend working with a naturopath. While practicing restorative (or yin) yoga will support your nervous system by teaching you to relax and manage stress effectively and effortlessly.
By gaining understanding and reducing stress you will learn how to live consciously and in the moment which will enable you to listen, love and nurture your body. This will help you recognise when your hormones are out of balance and know what you need to do to re-balance them.
Don’t struggle alone. Call Belinda 0400 225 771 today to book a naturopathic consultation or secure your place in one of her 10 week gentle yoga/mindfulness programs.
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