Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) & Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
This article is not JUST for all the women out there. Men, you will also realize at some point in your life, that your loved ones may be battling with PMS and/or PMDD.
Premenstrual Syndrome, commonly referred to as PMS, includes mental-emotional and physical symptoms that a woman may experience 7-14 days prior to her period, or in more severe cases, all month long.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is the presence of PMS symptoms (see below), with debilitating effects on women during this point in their cycle. The symptoms of PMDD are typically more severe than that of PMS and usually require medical intervention. PMDD also has the potential to continue up until menopause.
***Now, one important thing to note:
PMS is SO COMMON, that our society has now deemed it to be a NORMAL part of a woman’s cycle. The TRUTH is that PMS and/or PMDD is medically not a normal condition, therefore, it is classified as either of the 2 conditions: PMS or PMDD.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of PMS up to 2 weeks prior to menses:
Mood swings (irritability, anger, low mood, etc)
Low back pain
Minimal amounts of cramping, bloating and the occasional pimple are all expected, since physiologically, hormones are changing during this time. But, if you are experiencing more severe issues, see your doctor for more information.
Here are some signs and symptoms of PMDD up to 2 weeks prior to menses:
Debilitating mood swings (can’t leave the house) – Crying, anxiety, paranoia, suicidal ideation, etc
Debilitating cramping (can’t leave the house to perform activities of daily living)
Extreme Fatigue (can’t leave the house)
Numbness in the arms/legs
So, how can Naturopathic Medicine help?
Naturopathic medicine can help by targeting inflammation! Often, there are many lifestyle changes that can be made to help reduce systemic inflammation, and therefore, the intensity or sometimes even presence, of both PMDD and PMS symptoms.
Our gut and our microbiome are incredibly responsible for how our immune system elicits responses, because approximately 80% of our immune system is located within lymphatic cellular tissue in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, a lot the inflammatory responses that our immune system mounts, can be improved by improving our gastrointestinal health.
Advanced Laboratory Testing
Full hormone profile and metabolites
To help determine if estrogen metabolism and progesterone support is optimal
This may show us if you require a referral to an endocrinologist for more specialized care
THYROID is often left out on testing and has a remarkable impact on potential therapies. See my past posts for more information on the importance of testing the thyroid markers!
To determine if there are indeed any imbalances in neurotransmitters that we can support through supplementation, if necessary
E.g. Vitamin B6 is an important cofactor in hormone metabolism and within other biochemical reactions in our body.
Often, women are put on an oral contraceptive pill to regulate cycles, but, did you know that the oral contraceptive pill has been shown to deplete Vitamin B6?!
It is so important that we test for deficiencies in nutrients prior to supplementing, even if you are already on the pill.
Naturopathic Medical Modalities
Acupuncture – lots of evidence to support its use in anxiety, reducing hot flashes and more!
Botanical Medicine – there are select botanical herbal extracts that have been researched and shown to help improve energy, cognition, and support hormone modulation
Physical Medicine – exercise therapy, etc.
IV therapy – nutritional deficiencies can also compound the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. IV therapy is NOT suitable for everyone and may not even be indicated for you. Please see your ND trained in IV therapy prior to proceeding with treatments
Counselling support and referral to a registered psychologist, if necessary
The bottom line is that if you are suffering from PMS or PMDD, see your primary health care provider for support and for more information. There are a lot of resources at you finger tips...ask questions, so that you can find out what is appropriate for you!