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Premenstrual Syndrome

Annoying days before your period – The premenstrual syndrome

Mood swings, headaches, skin blemishes, cravings and weight gain – the second half of the cycle is a real challenge for many women every month. This is triggered by the premenstrual syndrome: PMS for short.

Cause of the PMS

Hormonal fluctuations during the female cycle are thought to play an important role in PMS. In the second half of the cycle, estrogen decreases and the corpus luteum hormone progesterone increases. The breastfeeding hormone prolactin may also be increased. Although women with premenstrual syndrome do not necessarily have altered hormone levels, they may be more sensitive to hormonal changes at different stages of their cycle.  In addition, an unfavorable diet and lifestyle may favor PMS. These include smoking, caffeine consumption, a diet rich in fat, sugar and salt, as well as insufficient exercise, insufficient sleep and stress.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

PMS can manifest itself in different symptoms. Twenty to forty percent of women experience symptoms such as exhaustion, abdominal pain, skin impurities and cravings, as well as migraine, nausea, tense and pain-sensitive breasts.

Furthermore, water retention in tissues may also be the case. This often shows up on the face, hands, feet and legs, and results in 2-4 extra pounds on the scale.

How to counteract PMS?

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, different treatment options are available. Scientists have found that the symptoms of PMS are absent or significantly alleviated when medications that regulate hormone levels are used. Therefore, hormonal contraceptives are often prescribed because they can suppress the body’s own production of certain hormones. However, since contraceptives can have side effects, alternative herbal remedies as well as changes to diet and exercise can help.

Alternative treatment approaches

The monk’s pepper (agnus castus) is the most promising medicinal plant for PMS. Although the symptoms only appear in the second phase of the cycle, monk’s pepper should be taken daily for at least three months throughout the cycle. A study showed that the intake of monk’s pepper extract significantly reduced symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, headaches and hypersensitive breasts in the subjects.

In addition to monk’s pepper, the lady’s mantle has also been shown to have benefits, which, taken as tea, can relieve cramps. Against depressive moods and for relaxation St. John’s wort is recommended.

Nettle tea is an alternative to pharmaceutical diuretics and acts as a natural diuretic. At the same time, nettle tea is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium and can supplement possible mineral deficiencies.

Exercise can also support the benefits of medicinal plants for PMS. Exercise promotes blood circulation, relieves cramps and alleviates pain. Furthermore, exercise release endorphins, which can have mood-boosting effects. Cardio based activities such as walking, cycling, jogging or swimming are especially effective.

Nutrition – the key to “pain-free days before your period”

If you eat too much fast food and too few vegetables, the body is not supplied with enough vitamins, minerals, trace elements and secondary plant substances, which it urgently needs to be able to produce the hormones in a balanced ratio. This is especially true for the production of progesterone, B-vitamins and vitamin E. Legumes, for example, contain abundant B vitamins and support the production of serotonin. Many important vitamins are best absorbed with unsaturated fatty acids through high-quality cold-pressed oils such as rapeseed oil, flax oil, hemp oil or sea fish. The omega-3 fatty acids can weaken the inflammatory activities that may occur in the second half of the cycle. Furthermore, a deficit of dietary fiber can lead to the estrogen degradation products in the intestine not being bound and excreted. This means that they are released back into the bloodstream, which can lead to estrogen dominance and upset the hormonal balance. Therefore, it makes sense to eat fresh vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains to provide the body with the appropriate vital substances.

Meat and dairy products from animals raised organically are to be preferred in order to avoid an additional hormone load, which may be contained in meat from factory farming. In the second half of the cycle, it is also recommended to abstain from caffeine and alcohol.

Despite conscious nutrition and lifestyle, cravings for sweets can occur from time to time. Since you can’t always resist the temptation, it’s best to reach for a piece of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content – this satisfies the cravings for sweets and can have relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Metabolic Balance and PMS

The Metabolic Balance nutrition plan is designed to ensure that all nutrients and vital substances are absorbed in sufficient quantities and in a balanced ratio. Vegetables, high-quality cold-pressed vegetable oils, sea fish and protein-containing foods cover important vital substances that can contribute to alleviating PMS. Herbs and spices, with their anti-inflammatory essential oils, also have an anti-spasmodic and relaxing effect on the organism.

Even if it sounds a bit paradoxical, water retention can be counteracted with increased drinking of water.


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