This is a topic I feel very passionately about. Women, you don’t have to suffer any more.
I have always been interested in health, even before I became an acupuncturist. My mother wanted to be a physician but because of financial constraints (and to be honest, gender biases) ended up studying microbiology, and owned her own business operating medical labs for physicians who wanted on site lab results. So growing up I heard a lot about medicine and I was a curious and interested. As I got older and found myself seeking more medical help, I migrated to natural remedies and natural food stores, as I became personally disenchanted with conventional medicine.
One of the best parts of my job is getting to educate women about the menstrual cycle, and helping them to understand and learn more about what occurs every month for women, usually, until menopause. And a caveat, women have a natural monthly cycle when they are not on the birth control pill. The birth control pill generally works by inhibiting ovulation – and the bleeding that happens each month is best described as a withdrawal bleed, rather than the heavier menses occurring when a woman is not on the pill.
When you are not on the pill each week of your menstrual month is different. Each month a woman’s reproductive system prepares for pregnancy and when this does not occur she has her period. Our bodies are very amazing and this delicate system generally works well in most cases. However, some women suffer greatly with Pre Menstrual symptoms such as bloating, cramping, breast tenderness, insomnia, irritability, depression, brain fog, night sweats, water retention, acne, increased colds/infections, increased appetite, constipation and weight gain. Some women even struggle with extreme anger and volatility. Frequently these symptoms are due to estrogen dominance a term which describes women with relatively more estrogen than progesterone.
Women’s health is a passion for me – partly because I see the how amazingly acupuncture and chinese herbs are at helping women feel better from so many conditions. I also want to educate my patients on what they can do between treatments to help themselves. With PMS, it is often best to start with helping the body get back into hormonal balance, specifically by reducing excess estrogen.
The best tips I have to offer include:
- Reduce caffeine in your diet. Although many women feel tired premenstrually, caffeine actually increases PMS symptoms.
- Lower your inflammatory burden through diet – starting with gluten. This is a tough one for many folks, but I can only recommend trying it for yourself to see the difference. As with many recommendations I make, I encourage patients to view the removal of gluten from their diet as an exercise, taken on a day by day basis. But know that you will see best results after a month of no gluten.
- Along with removing gluten, increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet, especially cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are amazing because they help your body detoxify, partly by reducing excess estrogen (and estrogen mimickers from plastic and chemicals as well). These veggies are also known to reduce cancer due to these detoxifying abilities.
- And eat enough fiber – regular bowel movements are key to removing excess estrogen in your system – and if you are not moving your bowels frequently the estrogen is reabsorbed.
- Reduce stress – constant high stress has a terrible effect on our hormones. Here’s a great synopsis of how stress affects the adrenals if you want to read more. But trust me, reducing stress through gentle exercise, meditation, acupuncture (of course) and spending time nourishing yourself, will help with PMS.
These are general recommendations – I would be happy to help you by developing a specific plan tailored to your body, your health and your symptoms. Schedule today to get started.