Here is a quick answer – PMS itself is not a normal part of life. But three out of four women struggle with PMS every month.
Symptoms generally range from severe headaches, irritability and cravings to fatigue, insomnia and cramps. So what’s the catch? PMS itself is a sign that something is not right in our bodies and depending on the severity of symptoms, it can be a warning flag that needs to be addressed.
So where does PMS come from?
Simply put, it is a balance of hormones, diet, nutrition and stress levels. When one of these areas is off track, this can cause PMS symptoms.
Imbalanced hormones. Every month, estrogen and progesterone wax and wane to prepare the uterus for a potential pregnancy. These hormones also influence our moods, digestion, sleep, cravings and much more. Progesterone usually has a soothing effect on the brain, but right before our periods, progesterone drops off, which is why we can sometimes feel extra irritable.
Unstable blood sugar. Blood sugar and insulin can take huge spikes and dips when we eat a high-carbohydrate diet (including alcohol and sugar). Insulin is one of the major hormones in your body, and since all of your hormones work together, imbalanced insulin can lead to dramatic imbalances in estrogen and progesterone. Insulin imbalance can also lead to sugar cravings, agitation, shakiness and dizziness.
Excess of stress. Physical or emotional stress can lead to increased levels of the hormone cortisol. This hormone can disrupt the normal ebb and flow of estrogen and progesterone. Stressful life circumstances such as a fast-paced job, relationship issues, an ailing parent, etc. all create stress in your body, upsetting the hormonal brain-body connections, known as the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal). This is the same connection that manages your sex hormones, your thyroid hormones and more. High cortisol can increase cravings and cause weight gain, as well as lead to anxious and depressed feelings.
Nutrient deficiencies. Vitamins and minerals are important factors in the manufacturing of hormones and neurotransmitters in your body. The lack of nutrients most connected with PMS symptoms include: calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. If your body has been deficient for many years, this can lead to intense PMS symptoms in your thirties and forties. Nutrient deficiencies can cause muscle cramps, achiness, poor sleep and low energy.
If you struggle with PMS symptoms each month, chat with your doctor about ways you can combat deficiencies you may have. Our team is happy to explore options and find a solution that can help alleviate symptoms – leaving you feeling better and calmer each month!