You know what I mean! The intense rollercoaster that happens in the latter half of your fertility cycle.
One minute you are biting your husband’s head off because he forgot to put the peanut butter and jelly back in the fridge and another you are crying because you spilled your favorite drink on the floor.
Yes, this was me!
But, honestly, I became much worse as I grew older. No one wanted to be around me. And, I didn’t want to be around people.
My kids would hide from me for almost half the month!
I just wanted to crawl into bed and binge watch Netflix because my symptoms of fatigue, bloating and cramping had become unbearable. And, the worst part about it was that it wasn’t just for 2-3 days of my fertility cycle.
My PMS symptoms had become so bad that it affected me for 8-10 days each fertility cycle. That means for half my cycle, I felt like a crazy person. I am sure that is what my husband and kids thought too.
But, I have learned the last several years that I am not alone!
According to the Mayo Clinic, PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome affects as many as 3 out of 4 menstruating women.
My work in the Fertility Care area of women’s health has led me to better understand the condition of PMS or premenstrual syndrome. I am happy to say that PMS is NOT just in your head.
PMS is a legitimate medical condition.
The diagnosis involves the following list of symptoms:
· Breast tenderness
· Weight gain
· Carbohydrate craving
· Crying easily
These symptoms must occur for 4 days or more prior to the onset of your period. These symptoms can span for as long as 10 days!
Only one of these symptoms is required for diagnosis of PMS.
Do you suffer from any of the above symptoms?
Have you been blown off by your doctor and told it is normal, offered the Pill, or even an antidepressant?
That was my experience. I was told by 2 doctors that my symptoms were normal, especially for a woman in her 40s.
I refused to believe that I, as well as those around me, had to continue to suffer every month. I did some research of my own and found some effective strategies that have helped me banish PMS for good.
I am not kidding! I no longer have any symptoms of PMS.
First, let me cover some natural ways to help relieve PMS.
Natural Strategies to Help Relieve PMS
· Improve your Diet
Salt, Alcohol, caffeine, and high sugar foods can worsen PMS symptoms. Foods high in sugar and salt such as processed foods can contribute to bloating and destabilize your blood sugar and moods. Alcohol can worsen depression while caffeine can aggravate irritability and anxiety.
This is especially true if you eat them during the luteal phase of your fertility cycle. Not sure what I mean by luteal phase? Check out this FREE webinar to get a full explanation of the fertility cycle and women’s fertility health.
Try to focus on eating more fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Stay away from highly processed foods that contain a lot of sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine, especially around the time you usually experience PMS.
I find that when I focus on eating healthy, well-balanced meals, my PMS symptoms have lessened. It is not always easy to do, especially when I am so busy running from activity to activity, but it is so worth it.
· Exercise More
Exercise can combat both the emotional and physical effects of PMS. A study researched the effect of exercise on PMS reported that conditioning exercise decreased PMS symptoms over a six-month period. The gradual initiation of a running exercise program over a six-month period resulted in a decrease in the overall PMS symptoms.
Pick and exercise routine that raises your heart rate. Be consistent and aim for exercising 3-4 times a week and incorporate strength training when possible. Both cardio and strength training are needed for a healthy body.
I can attest to how difficult it can be to establish and exercise routine when you are suffering from PMS. I would rather take a nap or press the snooze button. Consistent exercise has really helped me with my energy levels. I never regret doing the exercise, but I always regret when I miss a workout.
Find the best exercise and workout time that works for you. Everyone is different. Pick something that you will stick with. Set a goal. Choose an accountability partner. Get started today! It is so worth it!
· Reduce Stress
First of all, it is crucial that you get adequate rest and plenty of sleep. Try to get as much sleep as you think you need. It may be more than you think. It is recommended that adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Your body needs time to repair itself and to rest. Make an effort to reduce your stress. Spend time in prayer, read a book or journal. Get a monthly massage. Take a nap.
I am constantly battling stress. It is hard not to be stressed with kids, a business, school, and activities. I try to take time out each day for myself. I spend time in prayer and journal. Sometimes, I just take a nap. I call it “Mommy’s time out.”
A girl’s night out or a date night with my husband are sometimes all I need to destress. If you can, hire a babysitter and spend the day doing something that interests you.
· Take Supplements
Vitamins can be beneficial for PMS. There is no hard evidence to prove these supplements work. Still, they are worth trying, especially if you are trying to avoid medication.
Some NaProTechnology doctors recommend Optivite. It has been used for many years to help combat PMS. Here are some suggested daily doses for supplements from the Mayo Clinic:
· Calcium – 1200 mg/day
· Magnesium – 400 mg/day
· Vitamin B6 – 50 to 100 mg/day
· Vitamin E – 400 IU/day
The natural strategies are a great way to get started with relief. But, sometimes, they are not enough.
Here are some additional strategies that I have found extremely helpful in banishing PMS.
· Chart Your Symptoms
The chart below can be used to document the duration and severity of the premenstrual symptoms each cycle. With the help of this charting system, the severity and frequency of the symptoms can be accurately recorded to aid in diagnosis.
I have found the PMS Tracking Sheet to be extremely helpful in recording my PMS symptoms. I took this information along with my Creighton Model FertilityCare chart to the NaProTechnology physician. This PMS Tracking Sheet was an important piece of the puzzle that helped me get treatment.
· Chart Your Fertility Cycle
The Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System is a scientific proven method of charting your fertility cycle. The FertilityCare™ chart allows a woman to learn her body and her fertility signs. These signs help her and her Practitioner note signs that are clinically relevant.
The Creighton Model FertilityCare™ chart is also used as a medical tool by the NaProTechnology doctor to help diagnose and treat the PMS. By pairing the PMS Tracking Sheet with the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ chart, a complete picture of PMS can be obtained.
I can personally attest to how useful the Creighton Model FertilityCare chart is. I have been charting for 17 years. I was able to pick up irregularities in my chart based on my fertility cycle history.
Those irregularities along with my documented PMS symptoms helped the NaProTechnology doctor in my personalized diagnosis and testing.
· Have a Targeted Hormone Evaluation
NaProTechnology uses a targeted hormone evaluation to assess for a progesterone deficiency in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which is a frequent cause of PMS. This targeted hormone evaluation is made possible through the FertilityCare™ charting of my menstrual cycle and fertility.
Dr. Thomas Hilgers found that women with PMS had a decreased estrogen and progesterone late in the cycle. Treatment is based on correcting these hormonal abnormalities that may be detected in the FertilityCare™ chart and properly timed blood tests.
· Take Cooperative Medical Treatment
If through NaProTechnology, hormonal deficiency is confirmed, cooperative medical treatment is recommended after a woman has ovulated. This treatment may include natural progesterone replacement therapy, targeted HCG support and/or use of naltrexone.
This treatment can have dramatic results. The NaProTechnology cooperative medical treatment has been reported to have over 90% success rate in the treatment of PMS.
Do you suffer with PMS and are not sure how to find relief?