Most menstruating women experience PMS symptoms. The tender breasts, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, and cramping are part of the process of menstruation.
Mental components like mood swings, anxiety, irritability, are often harder to cope with. While eliminating all of the bothersome aspects of your period is unlikely, there are PMS solutions in Northern Virginia available.
Could Progesterone be the Cause?
Some research has indicated that progesterone, a hormone found in most hormonal birth control, may be to blame for PMS symptoms. The study found an association between the use of birth controls containing progesterone with an occurrence of depression and anxiety.
While the exact mechanism that causes progesterone to exacerbate PMS symptoms is unknown, more research is being done. However, a new finding shows that progesterone may make the amygdala more responsive.
Among other things, the amygdala is often responsible for fear and causing the brain to initiate a fight or flight response. Therefore, hyper-stimulating the amygdala is not a good thing.
Other research suggests that progesterone may exacerbate PMS, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), and lead to depression or anxiety disorders.
Some theorize that modern women suffer from higher rates of PMS and other period-related mood disorders because they are having fewer children.
Obviously, the solution is not having more children than are desired.
What this research suggests is that hormonal birth control may contribute to PMS. Therefore, non-hormonal options should be considered if PMS is troublesome to you.
Natural Solutions to PMS
Luckily, managing PMS can be simple for some. Lifestyle changes can often decrease symptoms of PMS noticeably. Here are some of the most helpful lifestyle changes.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Up
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals to maintain consistent blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal or lentils, are digested more slowly, maintaining a more consistent blood sugar level.
- Incorporating foods with high levels of magnesium and calcium can help stabilize the emotional symptoms of PMS. Foods like these include yogurt and leafy green vegetables. Supplements can help too.
- Reduce your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, fat, and sugar. While this sounds hard to do, eating less of this stuff maintains a more constant blood sugar.
Reduce Stress Naturally
- Get enough rest.
- Try to incorporate some enjoyable exercise into your routine. Walking, hiking, or group exercise classes can go a long way in reducing your PMS symptoms.
- Learn stress management techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing.
If PMS symptoms regularly interfere with your life, visit your doctor to learn what treatments can make your symptoms manageable. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.