Many women experience the monthly challenge of PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome). Their symptoms vary and for some they can be severe. In this post I explore how to gain insights and support for PMS hormonal imbalance.
What is PMS?
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects a great many women and if you are reading this, the chances are you already know about how it feels for you. If you asked 100 women with PMS you would find a quite a range of symptoms including:
- water retention
- breast tenderness
- skin breakouts
- food cravings – such as chocolate and/or bread and other carbohydrates.
- mood swings
- anxiousness… as well as being tearful, forgetful, and fuzzy headed.
For some women they may feel they could almost tick every box on the symptom list. For others it may just be one or two that they recognise, and with varying severity.
PMS or PMS Hormonal Imbalance?
It is natural to experience changes in our bodies and how we feel prior to our periods. We have a monthly hormonal cycle where the levels of our key hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, naturally fluctuate and dip before our period.
Where there are imbalances in these hormones, this can lead to more difficult PMS symptoms in the second half of our cycle, in-between ovulation and when our period starts. These can vary depending upon the extent and nature of the PMS hormonal imbalance, and the constitution of the woman experiencing it.
What is the Point of PMS?
Evolutionary and scientific models of why women may experience PMS are interesting but are they useful? It may be that if in millennia gone by we failed to become pregnant we then unleashed our monthly fury at the unfortunate mate. We would be freed from that partnership and could find a fertile partner to ensure the survival of the species. Maybe, maybe not, but either way does that actually help you now in today’s world manage your PMS?
A Monthly Check-In With Yourself
Maybe a more helpful model would be to consider the hormonal shifts we experience before our period as a window into our inner world. It is like a monthly dose of a truth drug. PMS shines a beam of light on areas of our lives that need our attention. It can prompt us to address a range of issues that affect our health and happiness.
PMS is not the end point, it is a prompt to pay attention. How in balance our lives are? How we are looking after ourselves: how is our general health, our work, our relationships, fun, sleep, diet, etc.?
Our hormonal balance is not happening in a vacuum – there are a great many factors in play. It also becomes a bit of a chicken and egg scenario as symptoms of PMS hormonal imbalance affect how we live, which add to the imbalance. Being too tired or fed up to cook healthy food for example.
Supporting PMS Hormonal Imbalance
Looking After Ourselves
It is not an “either/or” in terms of seeing PMS hormonal imbalance as purely chemical, or all about how we are living. One effects the other – they are interwoven. If we treat it just as a physical imbalance we missing a trick. However, it may be the case that the PMS is prompting us to tweak our diet, exercise, get more sleep, etc. Finding a hormone balancing approach to your diet, supplements and herbs can offer support.
Using Homeopathy for Support
Working holistically as homeopaths we consider not only how a woman experiences her PMS, but also her general health and history, how her life is for her and where the challenges lie. The remedy profiles are often very detailed and cover not only the physical aspects of our health, but also how we feel. We can then aim to choose ones that offer a good match for a woman in general, and for her PMS specifically.
For example, when considering her PMS, if a woman feels incredibly tearful and reactive I may consider a remedy like Ignatia. Whereas if she is feeling tearful but more withdrawn, I may use Nat-Mur.
Quite often women tell me they feel angry, but as we have a number of remedies that have anger within their emotional profile, it is important to differentiate. I may think of the remedy Sepia if a woman is exhausted, feeling she has far too much to do and not enough support, and is angry and frustrated with her nearest and dearest. Whereas I may use Nux-Vom if that anger is more universally expressed with the world at large.
You can read more about these remedies in the online materia medica.
PMS – Signals to Help You Restore Balance
Maybe PMS could be renamed Pre-Menstrual Signals as I believe that for a great many of us the pre-period shift in hormones may be pointing out an imbalance in how we are living. It is a monthly check-in with how we really are. Being curious about those signals means you can take advantage of them to make changes in whatever area is being highlighted for you. Your system is communicating with you every month.
It may be that whilst you are actually in the PMS zone you just need to take note. Communicating and acting upon those signals later when you feel more resourced, and you have had a chance to reflect and gain insights from them. Supporting yourself as a whole to come back into balance.
If you feel you would like to explore ways to support yourself with PMS I see patients at both clinics, and also work via Skype. You can book an initial free 15 minute mini-consultation to see if my approach might suit you, please do contact me.
References and Resources: