The Effects of PMS & PCOS

PMS & PCOS are real conditions

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a disorder that used to be considered "all in your head." We know this is untrue as physiological and hormonal changes occur within the body that can cause myriad symptoms. Some females experience irritability, sadness or mood changes along with sleep disturbances. PMS can also cause physical symptoms such as cramping, breast tenderness., fluid retention, bloating, sugar cravings and headaches. One of the main reasons for all these various symptoms stems from unbalanced hormones - estrogen levels increase while progesterone declines.  

Each woman's PMS symptoms will vary in severity. Some women are minimally affected, while others have severe reactions that can interfere with life and work. There is no clear understanding of why the differences occur, but there are some triggers that could cause PMS syndrome to vary from person to person, such as:

  • A higher intake of sugar, a refined food diet, or overconsumption of dairy or meat products that may contain estrogen-like toxins.  
  • Alcohol consumption is a factor since it can interfere with the liver's ability to excrete excess estrogen.
  • The gut health and the microbiome (gut bacteria) can exasperate symptoms because an unhealthy gut may lead to estrogen reabsorption.

Over and above, all of these possible triggers are your stress levels. Higher stress levels and lower serotonin levels can cause PMS symptoms to manifest worst in some women. The negative impact of stress increases feelings of sadness, food cravings and fluctuations in mood. Stress hormones can even alter the levels of ovarian hormones.

The journal of Women's Health reported that women who experience high levels of stress in the two weeks before menstruation are 2-4 times more likely to experience more serve PMS symptoms

Many women know that PMS can be debilitating, and it is not uncommon to experience some, if not many, of its symptoms. But furthering the challenge for many (almost 1.4 million) is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), making it the most common endocrine disorder occurring in Canadian women (Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology).

 

Understanding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an endocrine disorder that affects how a woman's ovaries work. It is associated with irregular menstrual periods, infertility and pain, along with changes in body composition and male pattern hair growth. Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles (underdeveloped sacs where eggs develop) that are often unable to release an egg. The follicles do not disintegrate, fill up with fluid and turn into benign cysts that rest on top of the ovaries, impeding ovulation and causing hormonal imbalances.

The cause of PCOS can be related to many conditions, including hormonal imbalances, excess production of androgen & testosterone (male hormones) in the ovaries, thyroid disease, insulin resistance, stress hormone imbalance (cortisol), hypothalamus dysfunction, genetics and inflammation.

Symptoms of PCOS may include:

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Excessive hair growth (typically on the face, chest, back or buttocks)
  • Thinning or loss of hair
  • Adult acne
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Skin Tags
  • Darkening of the skin (especially around the nape of the neck)
  • Difficulty controlling weight/weight gain
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Depression and Anxiety

The Natural Approach to PMS and PCOS

Balance Hormones Naturally

Aim to eliminate some of the noted triggers for your PMS & PCOS. Consider a natural approach to help manage hormonal imbalances. Solution-based supplements that contain several herbal ingredients that, when combined, can create a more balanced approach to managing PMS.

Smart Solutions CycleSmart is for menstruating women experiencing symptoms of PMS, painful periods or an irregular cycle. Cyclesmart provides nutrients to help balance hormones naturally.

  • Relieves premenstrual symptoms
  • It helps stabilize menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Relieves PMS symptoms
  • Supports a healthy estrogen metabolism and promotes a healthy estrogen metabolite ratio
  • It helps reduce the severity of symptoms associated with recurrent breast pain (cyclical mastalgia)
  • Supports the production of desirable estrogen metabolism
  • Provides factors for BPA detoxification
  • It helps support estrogen metabolism by promoting a higher good estrogen (2-hydroxyestrone) to bad estrogen (16-hydroestrone) ratio

Smart Solutions EstroSmart is for women (18+) EstroSmart supports the production of desirable estrogen metabolism, which helps maintain a healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance. The nutrients found in Estrosmart help maintain a healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance and provide antioxidants and factors for BPA detoxification. Liver-supportive herbs assist in the detoxification pathways necessary for optimal hormone balance.

  • Maintains healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance
  • It helps reduce the severity of symptoms associated with recurrent breast pain (cyclical mastalgia)
  • Supports the production of desirable estrogen metabolism
  • Provides antioxidants and factors for BPA detoxification
  • It helps support estrogen metabolism by promoting a higher good estrogen (2-hydroxyestrone) to bad estrogen (16-hydroestrone) ratio
  • Supports estrogen-to-progesterone balance
  • Supports detoxification

WomenSense PCOSense is a complete natural health solution for women diagnosed with or exhibiting symptoms associated with PCOS Syndrome. It is one of the first formulas to combine Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol at a 40:1 ratio, plus folate and vitamin B12. This formula supports normal menstrual cycle and fertility, healthy glucose balance, and reduced serum testosterone in women with PCOS.

  • Regulates the menstrual cycle, supports fertility and reduces testosterone
  • Aids in the management of the hormonal and metabolic symptoms of PCOS
  • Promotes healthy glucose metabolism and reduces insulin resistance
  • Supports ovarian function, egg quality, and fertility in women with PCOS
  • May support in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes in women with PCOS
  • It helps maintain the body's ability to metabolize nutrients
  • Supports a regular menstrual cycle and reduces serum testosterone in women with PCO

Getting to the root cause of your PCOS condition is a great way to manage the symptoms and condition.

PCOS & Blood Sugar

For example, if one of the underlying causes is insulin resistance ( blood sugar control), consider adding the supplement Berberine to your healthy regime. The benefits of Berberine are supported by studies showing the validity of this supplement to help manage and lower blood glucose by stimulating the update of glucose into the cells for better utilization. Berberine can also delay the breakdown of carbs into simple sugars, reducing sugar spikes and protecting the pancreas from repeated damage due to blood sugar diseases. Manage your sugar and high simple carb intake and increase your diet to include more protein.

PCOS & Inflammatory Conditions ( Gut Health)

You may have poor internal inflammatory health if you suffer from poor gut health, IBS, chronic constipation, and other digestive disturbances. Manage your gut health with supplements such as Healthology Gut FX, a complete formula to reduce inflammation and repair the intestinal gut lining.   Healthology GutFX in combination with a good 50 billion or more probiotics. and your hormonal support supplement is an excellent PCOS protocol. Gut Fx can also be used in combination with supplements for PMS.  

PCOS & Adrenal Health

Remember that stress is a hormonal response in the body, and the increase of hormones (including the stress hormone cortisol) affects the hypothalamus/pituitary/ovary interaction impacting PMS & PCOS symptoms. Overactive adrenal glands are often the result of unmanaged stress. If your adrenal glands are misfiring, your body can remain in a fight-or-flight response.

Manage your Stress & Anxiety Response with Natural Factors Stress Relax Serenity formula is a unique mix of adaptogenic herbs designed to promote emotional well-being. It is suitable for helping to manage mood or anxiety and has been formulated to assist with a broad spectrum of stress-related disorders.

If you feel anxious, consider Veeva Anxiety for Teens or Veeva Anxiety for adults ( over 18). Veeva anxiety supplements are the first product of its kind formatted and licensed by Health Canada specifically to relieve occasional anxiety. Veeva Teen contains B6, which is a secondary supplement suggested to help manage mood symptoms associated with PMS. Veeva Teen can help relieve anxiety, reduce nervousness, promote relaxation, increase energy and strengthen your resistance to stress.

PCOS & PMS- Top Up Key Nutrients

A deficiency in vital vitamins and minerals and their replenishment may help reduce some symptoms.

Magnesium supplements are beneficial for reducing cramping, insomnia, water retention and moods, especially if you are low and not consuming enough magnesium-rich foods (almonds, green leafy vegetables, peanuts). Magnesium may also support insulin sensitivity (common in PCOS). Natural Factors Key Lime chewable or Preferred Nutrition MagSense. are excellent options for young women.

B Vitamins are essential if you are not consuming enough of the right foods (high in Vitamin B).   The different forms of Vitamin B found in a complex perform numerous functions in the body. One of which is supporting the central nervous system and brain neurotransmitters (serotonin), the happy hormone.   Check your B complex dosage and ensure that it contains at least 25-50 mg of Vitamin B6, which is not only more closely associated with serotonin, it often runs depleted in women on birth control medication. MegaFood Balanced B Complex is a nice option with its balanced ratio of FoodState® B complex vitamins and nourishing real food like organic kale and brown rice.*

Many people are Vitamin D deficient in the winter and spring due to low levels of sunshine. Research reveals 44% of women with PCOS were severely deficient compared to 11% of those without PCOS. And let's remember all the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids for overall health. These essential fats readily travel through the brain and interact with serotonin and dopamine to benefit mood. They possess anti-inflammatory properties to aid cramping and skin breakouts. A study in 2013 found that omega-3 supplementation could reduce testosterone serum concentrations and regulate the menstrual cycle in PCOS.

Eat Right For Relief

Never underestimate the impact of eating right to support your struggles with PMS & PCOS. Smart food choices throughout the month and during the height of your symptoms can provide some relief. It's also important to drink plenty of water and eat lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which add fibre and nutrients to your diet

  • Eat less salt to help decrease bloating & fluid build-up.
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol.
  • Limit foods high in solid fats and added sugars.

Our favourite foods to help PMS symptoms:

  • Cruciferous veggies (think broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale) – contain indoles that help balance hormones
  • Leafy greens and spinach- rich in magnesium, calcium, and Vitamin K, which may help ease period cramps
  • Chickpeas & legumes – contains vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium, which may help with moodiness, and cramping
  • Sweet potatoes and Carrots – complex carbohydrates which increase satiation and help curb food cravings
  • Bone broth – full of probiotics which may help bloating and is warming and may help relieve period cramps
  • Beets & beet greens – rich in potassium which may relieve bloating and period cramps!
  • Dark chocolate – contains iron and magnesium to help reduce cramps and satisfies a sweet tooth
  • Pumpkin seeds – rich in magnesium, easing period cramps, also contain iron, fibre, zinc, and Omega 3's
  • Salmon – high in Omega 3's, which are anti-inflammatory and may improve joint pain, mood, and cramps
  • Bananas – rich in potassium and vitamin B6, which help to ease cramps and reduce water-retention
  • Avocado – rich in magnesium and potassium, which help ease cramps and fibre to help with constipation
  • Beans: Rich in magnesium, beans can reduce water retention and bloat. Try lentils, bean dip or add them to soup.
  • Low-fat dairy products: For calcium and vitamin D, try milk, cheese, and low-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Eggs: Hard-boiled, scrambled, or fried eggs are packed with vitamins D, B6 and E. Vitamin E reduces headaches and breast tenderness.
  • Green leafy vegetables: These are high in fibre and vitamin E.
  • Chicken, fish, potatoes, and carrots are high in vitamin B6.
  • Chamomile tea: This calming herb reduces cramps and can soothe irritability

If your symptoms continue after trying a few natural remedies, be sure to talk with your doctor about other strategies that may help control and manage your PMS.

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