Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to many challenging and pesky symptoms that start during the second half of the menstrual cycle (14 days after the first day you started to bleed on your last period) and stop about 1-2 days after your period begins.
The most common symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Change in Bowel Habits (constipation or diarrhea)
- Food cravings (especially for sugar!)
- Decreased mood or anxiety
- Mood swings
So many women experience these symptoms!! In fact, up to 75% of woman experience PMS during their childbearing years.
We all experience different PMS symptoms that can be attributed to various hormone imbalances, namely increased estrogen levels (estrogen dominance) and decreased progesterone at different points in our cycles. Hormone imbalances can occur due to a number of different factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, constipation, stress, and excessive use of chemical-laden cosmetics. By leading a healthy lifestyle and periodically detoxing, we can encourage a happy hormone balance in our bodies.
Surprisingly, before most women leave their homes every morning they may have already been exposed to over 100 different chemicals! This exposure is just from the deodorants, perfumes, creams, shampoos, makeup and toothpaste they use. Once women leave their homes they are exposed to another mix of chemicals: the pollutants in the air, chemically treated water, perfumes, pesticides, hormones and fertilizers in food, tobacco (directly or indirectly) household chemicals, and many other sources. Then there is the potential exposure to chemicals on a less than daily basis that still impact our health such as the use of prescription or recreational drugs and alcohol. We breathe them in, absorb them through our skin, eat them, and drink them.
This bombardment of chemicals we are exposed to increases the toxic load in our cells and organs, which has been linked a number of health problems including premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Studies have shown that chemical exposure to common chemicals can increase our chances of obesity, slow down our mental ability and disrupt our hormones. Additionally, stress and overexertion, food sensitivities, impaired liver function, light at night and negative thought patterns can lead to various imbalances in our body and also affect our hormones.
Detoxing your body on a regular basis reduces the toxin levels in your body giving your organs a chance to catch up on their work, such as keeping your hormones in balance, which leads to healthier menstrual cycles and less PMS. We can also encourage a healthier hormonal balance by making small daily changes, contributing to a healthier body and a happier hormonal balance.
MAKE BREAKFAST COUNT. With a morning tonic of juice of ½ lemon, 2 caps of apple cider vinegar or a scoop of Spirulina in a large (500ml) glass of water every morning before breakfast. Warm or cold, you choose. This will get your liver going on it’s daily detox duties. If you have acid reflux, try the water and spirulina (or other green food) without the lemon water and apple cider vinegar. After the tonic, enjoy a breakfast high in protein (eggs, nuts, seeds, protein powder or even some left-overs from the night before). Our bodies need protein for proper detoxification and having protein in the morning can help keep our blood sugar stable over the course of the day- keeping us for satiated and in a better mood! Recommendations: Make sure you choose filtered water.
SLEEP. This recommendation is non-negotiable (especially during times of stress!!) We suggest 7.5-8 hrs of zzzzz’s. Every. Single. Night. Sleep is an essential part hormonal balancing and anti-aging. Sleep is also necessary for the detoxification process as it gives your body the time to reset, repair, rejuvenate and renew. Having a good night’s rest changes your outlook on life, your hunger patterns, your exercise, your productivity… you get the point. Just do it. Recommendations: Get to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, turn off all electronic gadgets 1 hr before bed, sleep in a quiet, cool and dark room.
EAT ORGANIC AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Even small amounts of pesticides disrupt hormonal balance, clog up your detoxification pathways and require a lot of work for your body to detox. Plus, these chemicals are harmful to the wildlife and the planet. Recommendations: Check out the guidelines set by the Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/). They put out a list of the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen”, helping us to understand what fruits and vegetables are really important to buy organic (and which ones are ok to buy conventional!).
By Gabriela Delano-Stephens R.H.N and Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND