When PMS comes around again this month, you might believe your only option is to just push through the headaches, bloating, cramps and misery until it’s over and you can get back to your life. But the consequences of PMS really don’t disappear. If you suffer from PMS month after month, it’s a clear sign that your hormones are imbalanced. Unfortunately there are long-term implications for your health and happiness when monthly hormone cycles are out of whack.
Having PMS now can equal difficult menopause symptoms later
A 2004 study shows that women with PMS are twice as likely to suffer hot flashes and mood swings during perimenopause as those without PMS. Women with PMS are also more likely to endure poor sleep and low sex drive as they near menopause.
There is good reason for this connection: hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are key reproductive hormones that wax and wane over the course of each month. Symptoms of PMS often arise when the level of estrogen is high compared to progesterone.
Some possible reasons for this are:
- Slow estrogen metabolism in the liver
- Extra estrogen from excess belly fat
- Exposure to endocrine disruptors in the environment (pesticides, phthalates, BPA, etc.).
At about age 35, women’s sex hormones begin to shift naturally as the body gradually prepares for menopause. This transition can exaggerate existing imbalances between estrogen and progesterone and cause even more symptoms.
How stress and certain foods make PMS symptoms worse
Your body’s endocrine system is a hormonal network that comes together along the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis. Through this system, the brain sends and receives messages about your hormonal needs for all kinds of things — stress management, thyroid health, reproduction and more.
Your body prioritizes the regulation of two major hormones: the adrenal stress hormone cortisol and insulin, the hormone that allows your body to use glucose, or sugar, derived from the carbohydrates you eat. Cortisol or insulin can fall out of balance when you live with lots of stress and/or eat a high carbohydrate diet. If this happens, “minor” hormones like estrogen and progesterone can easily become imbalanced as well.
That’s why it makes sense that if you can take steps to decrease your stress burden, even if it’s just a little, and make a few key changes in your diet, it will help your endocrine system work better day to day — and month to month.
Breaking free of PMS by maintaining hormonal balance
If like many women you notice that your PMS symptoms have gradually gotten worse over the years, now is the right time to balance your hormones. If you start now you can make a big difference in your experience when you’re in perimenopause and menopause.
These steps for better hormonal balance really work. Choose one or more to get started:
1. Keep insulin and blood sugar balanced. Eat protein with every meal, heap vegetables on your plate, and cut back on (or eliminate) white sugars and flours. Protein, fiber and healthy fats let your blood sugar and insulin rise and fall more gradually, rather than in damaging spikes. This also translates into fewer cravings and better overall hormonal balance.
2. Take a real look at the stress in your life. You’ll have more success if you start small. Consider taking action by getting more sleep and cutting back on electronic screen time especially at night. Take time every day to relax; and explore more enjoyable ways to exercise. When it comes to food, avoid extreme dieting; and investigate any suspected sensitivities.
3. Use herbs for targeted support. Supplements and plant-based ingredients to look for include: chromium picolinate (helps regulate insulin and blood sugar), black cohosh (for irritability, anxiety and sleep issues), dong quai (for headaches, cramps and moodiness), chasteberry (for breast tenderness and cramps) and maca (to increase sex drive, improve mood and lower anxiety). Our PMS Solution contains all of these herbs and ingredients and more to ease symptoms through hormonal balance support.
4. Maintain healthy hormone production. Your body needs a steady supply of vitamins and minerals to manufacture hormones. Take a high-quality multivitamin to assist this healthy process, one that contains calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and vitamin K, the vitamins and minerals often missing in women with PMS symptoms.
Now and later — get relief for PMS and menopause
Resolving hormonal balance at the root means you can be free of PMS symptoms at this important time in your life. And it can translate to a much better menopause down the line. We’ve put the steps together for you in our PMS Symptom Relief Program. You get our herbal PMS Solution, our high-quality multivitamin, and a unique e-Guide with symptom-solving information, tips on food, recipes, and effective stress-relief ideas. And you can call anytime for support.