If you get PMS month after month, I totally get it. Trust me, I've been there. You might have terrible cramps, cravings for sugar & carbs, mood changes or all the above.
Now here's the good news, did you know that PMS is totally preventable?! YES GIRL. It's time to break the cycle and take control so you can enjoy some relief and start to love your period!
BUT FIRST, let's talk about what the cause of PMS actually is because I'm here to educate and empower you. Did you know that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is reported by up to 85% of women? It's time we change this. So what is PMS? PMS is caused from unbalanced hormones. Typically it's due to your estrogen levels increasing and progesterone levels decreasing.
So now you might be wondering what causes hormone imbalance? There are many things that promote these hormone imbalances, such as stress, a high-sugar diet (aka blood sugar imbalance), high in processed foods and refined carbs, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and xenoestrogens (toxins in our environment from herbicides, pesticides, pollution, chemicals like plastic, etc.).
Now that you're educated on what causes PMS, here are three easy ways to reduce PMS. Try one or all of these three easy fixes for the next few months and start to see the magic happen!
Magnesium is a miracle worker. Magnesium has over 500 enzymatic reactions in the body. According to Carol Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, magnesium levels fluctuate throughout your cycle. Magnesium decreases during the second half of your cycle as progesterone and estrogen increase. Low magnesium levels can contribute to symptoms of PMS like cramps, headaches, and bloating.
Your body also needs magnesium to keep blood sugar levels balanced and to help with healthy glucose metabolism. This is an absolute must if you want to balance your hormones.
Here's how you can boost magnesium levels:
If you want to boost your magnesium levels, oral supplementation is great! Be aware if you take too much magnesium it can cause loose stools (which can be great for constipation but otherwise, not ideal!). I typically recommend anywhere between 200mg and 600mg but it's always best to talk to your Nutritionist or ND before taking supplements.
I'm always a food first kind of gal. Supplements are supplemental to a healthy diet. Some great foods that are high in magnesium are: dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, avocado, legumes and salmon.
Another option is topical magnesium. Magnesium oil is a spray that is easy to apply. I usually recommend my clients to spray it on the bottom of their feet before bed to help with sleep and relaxation, but it can also be applied to any muscle aches and pains. Magnesium gel or lotion are other great options too!
Blood sugar imbalance plays such an important role in hormone health. You might not realize it but everything you eat plays a role in hormone balancing. Now I know when I was in school studying nutrition I was like "what the heck is blood sugar dysregulation?". When you think of blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance, you might think of diabetes and diabetics, but it can actually affect anyone who consumes too much sugar and carbs.
Now you might be thinking, well I eat healthy so this doesn't apply to me, and I'm here to tell you it certainly does!
Have you ever felt hangry?
Do you ever eat all day and never feel full?
Do you crave sweets and carbs?
Do you crash in the afternoon and reach for the caffeine?
Do you ever get hungry shortly after eating?
Have you ever felt nauseous, light headed or get headaches and just need that snack?
Well I hate to break it to you but that's blood sugar imbalance. When I was vegetarian, I experienced major blood sugar imbalance because most of my meals were carbs with small amounts of protein and fat. Blood sugar imbalance is linked to countless inflammatory conditions like PCOS, depression, anxiety, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity and Alzheimer’s disease.
Luckily, blood sugar can be balanced through nutrition, lifestyle, exercise and supplements. Here's what you can do right now:
Balance meals & snacks with fat, fibre & protein (ex: avocado, pumpkin seeds, chicken)
Cut out the refined and processed foods
Slow down on the sugar (swap the white sugar for monk fruit sweetener)
Reduce or remove coffee
#3 Castor Oil
Castor oil is the secret weapon in my practice. Now it might seem foreign at first but once you get the hang of it, it might just become your favourite self-care technique! I love castor oil packs because they can be used for so many things! They can help relieve cramps, support the liver, alleviate muscle aches and pains, relieve constipation, help with cysts and help with scar tissue.
Therapeutic use of castor oil has been documented in healing texts in ancient India, China, Egypt, Africa, Greece, Persia, Italy and America. It has been documented as a treatment for:
liver and gallbladder stimulation
boosting the immune system
for bumps, bruises, cuts, skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis
as an emollient and skin softener
Castor oil packs increase the flow of lymph which helps remove toxins in the tissues and in surrounding lymph nodes. In my 1 on 1 sessions, I give my clients a handout on exactly how to prepare and use a castor oil pack for encouraging hormone balancing!
*Do not use a castor oil pack with heat on the abdomen during menstruation as it can intensify bleeding and is contraindicated.
Have you tried any of these remedies? I would love to hear your experience!