The Truth About PMS
(hint: it’s NOT normal)
1 in 4 women suffer with PMS every month, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Did you know that for many of our patients, within just a couple of months, they no longer have symptoms for the week or 2 before their period?!
Monthly cramps, moodiness, anxiety, depression, bloating and pain don’t have to be a rite of passage for women. What we consider a ‘normal’ part of being female are actually signs that something in your hormonal cycle isn’t balanced. For many women, with just a few simple changes, you can have balanced hormones and monthly cycles that come and go without any unpleasant symptoms.
Here are some of the common concerns that we see from women in our practice:
- heavy or painful periods
- anxiety, low moods or fatigue before your period
- hot flashes/ night sweats
- acne before your period
- spotting in between periods
- weight gain the week before your period
Often, these symptoms are treated using birth control pills or synthetic hormones to ‘regulate the cycle’. But these synthetic hormones do not actually “balance” your hormone levels and unfortunately increase your risk of blood clots, cervical cancer and breast cancer. Birth control pills suppress your body’s own natural production of hormones and instead the body runs off the synthetic hormones in the pill to give it a fake sense of balance – but at what cost? These medications often cause problems like headaches, vitamin deficiencies, nausea, skin changes, decreased libido and weight gain. Sounds like the opposite of what most women are really looking for!
Our approach at Whole Medicine is to balance your own natural hormone levels. We do this by first assessing all variables that contribute to healthy hormones. A thorough hormone assessment may include salivary hormone testing, thyroid hormone analysis, addressing vitamin deficiencies, managing “stress”, and identifying unhealthy diet and exercise practices that are influencing your hormonal health.
Assessing thyroid function is critical in those suffering from hormone imbalance because a low functioning thyroid commonly leads to heavy and prolonged periods. Many women with these concerns are faced with the options of taking birth control, surgical ablation or, if nothing has helped, a hysterectomy. Not only will fixing an under active thyroid lessen your heavy period, it will also improve energy, clarity of mind and make it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
We encourage our patients to see their medical doctors to rule out serious conditions that may lead to heavy bleeding, pain or bleeding in between cycles, such as fibroids, endometriosis, miscarriage and liver disease. However, we see great results using non-invasive therapies such as supplements, lifestyle changes, acupuncture and if needed bio-identical hormone replacement.
Female sex hormones are complicated but a proper assessment and a few minor daily adjustments can have a profound impact on your quality of life!