On March 8th we celebrate International Women’s Day.  How could I let that day pass without talking about a condition that affects the vast majority of women, PMS? Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a collection of emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms that many women experience in the days leading up to menstruation.  These symptoms include, but are definitely not limited to tension, fatigue, bloating, mood swings, irritability, breast tenderness, changes in appetite, and food cravings.  As many as 80%
[i] of women experience some form of mild to moderate PMS symptoms after ovulation, which typically end with the onset of their menses.  Read on to better understand PMS.
PMS symptoms are typically the result of female hormone imbalances in the body.  Estrogen, Progesterone and other sex hormones are naturally created in the body and then metabolized by the liver.  Under ideal conditions, these hormones are tightly regulated, resulting in little to no disturbance around your period.  With today’s exposure to estrogens from plastics, the birth control pill, and pesticides, women are being inundated with hormones.  When the body is exposed to too many hormones from both internal and external sources, or the liver is not functioning adequately, they begin to accumulate causing natural processes in the body to work harder than normal, leading to the symptoms of PMS, among other conditions.
So how do you reduce PMS?  The first step is to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms due to an excess of hormones from external sources or slow liver metabolism.  Using a variety of diagnostic tools including physical exam and blood work, we will determine the underlying cause of your PMS symptoms.  With this knowledge in hand, a personalized treatment plan will be developed to address the cause and reduce your symptoms.  This treatment plan may include a combination of botanical medicine, diet optimization and nutritional supplementation, lifestyle counselling or acupuncture.  With the right tools and an understanding of the root cause, your PMS symptoms can be greatly reduced.

Anchor[i] (Melissa Conrad Stöppler, 2011)