Dr. Lissa Rankin’s medical blog is based on her upcoming book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, which you can preorder here.
I’m a sufferer of severe PMS (my doctor calls it PMDD), and girl: SUFFER is the word. The whole issue is a stew of contradictory thoughts & worries for me. It mucks up my mojo worrying about how Goddess-dissing it seems that I have such problems surrounding my cycle. My condition is totally screwing up my relationship. I’m confused about treatment & what it all means, gyno-spiritually, if you will. I didn’t seem fair that I should have to endure this, all because Eve ate that damn apple.
I hear you, sister. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or its evil stepsister, the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), can rob even the best of us of our mojo for those few days before the menstrual cycle begins. You may feel like you’re rockin’ in love, joy, and acceptance 24 days out of the cycle, but the 4 days before your period you turn into a raging lunatic. If you feel this way, you’re so not alone.
Most women experience symptoms of PMS from time to time — mood swings, chocolate cravings, bloating, irritability. But the more serious PMDD can seriously affect your quality of life. Makes it hard to Own Femininity, eh? It’s enough to make a Goddess like yourself resent being born female. So what can you do?
Natural Tips For Minimizing PMS Symptoms
1. Eat a whole foods diet. You’ve heard it before, but it really does help. That means cutting back on sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy, caffeine, processed foods, and saturated and hydrogenated (trans) fats, and instead adding fruits, veggies, and whole grains, especially during the luteal phase (second half) of your cycle. Sorry, but that means bye-bye chocolate.
2. Increase essential fatty acids by eating nuts, seeds, and fish.
3. Manage your stress effectively. Try yoga, meditation, massage, or guided imagery CDs.
4. Engage in regular aerobic exercise. A good, long hike helps regulate your hormones and your stress, and it builds up happy-making endorphins.
5. Take a multivitamin and 1200mg of calcium/day.
6. Talk to an integrative medicine doctor about how to use supplements to help your PMS symptoms. Alternative medicine therapies like acupuncture and Reiki can also help.
Next: Criteria for PMDD and the Gyno-Spiritual side of PMS