Breaking up with PMS

You know how bad it can feel to have PMS. The two weeks before your period you can feel like a different person. Crying provoked by a dumb Netflix show; incredibly tender breasts; you’ve got your cranky pants on… again. And your partner isn’t having it. Bloating, headaches, food cravings- feeling fuzzy headed and fatigued have rendered you miserable. These are just a few of the most common symptoms.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, over 80% of women have reported experiencing one or more of these symptoms, while 3-8% have a more severe form called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. No diagnostic test exists for PMS or PMDD; they are syndromes diagnosed by reported symptoms.

A combination of hormonal, nutritional and behavioral factors seem to cause PMS and PMDD. Conventional treatments include prescription medications such as birth control pills and Danazol, which can cause increased facial hair, acne, deepened voice and other fun side effects. Another prescribed drug, GnRH, stops the ovaries from producing sex hormones and puts women at increased risk of osteoporosis.

There is another way to handle PMS using natural methods. It can be simple, and even enjoyable to get in tune with your body and get to the root of the problem instead of using a pharmaceutical band-aid.

Many GYN issues have excess estrogen to blame. Liver regulates hormones, and clears out excess estrogen and toxins as it filters blood.  Meanwhile, the beneficial bacteria of the gut need to flourish for healthy elimination of all those toxins and hormones so that the bad guys are not reabsorbed. If you are constipated or have poor digestion, the chances are high that your body will keep circulating the estrogen (and toxins) even after your liver has tried to get rid of it. This is why it is important to support liver detoxification pathways as well as a healthy gut flora.

Chinese Medicine had this figured out eons ago. Here is the super simple breakdown: PMS is related to liver Qi stagnation most commonly. Liver qi stagnation is responsible for many of the emotional symptoms, headaches and breast tenderness. Liver likes to be free flowing and smooth. Spleen Qi depletion is often a co-factor in PMS, and causes many digestive, craving and fatigue and foggy headed symptoms. The TCM “spleen” is an analogue for the digestive system. Spleen likes to be robust and uplifting.  The relationship of liver and spleen needs to be in harmony for hormonal and digestive balance. The most classical Chinese herbal formula for PMS is Xiao Yao San, also called Free and Easy Wanderer. With its genius herbal combo, it effectively smooth’s liver Qi stagnation and boosts spleen Qi. 

Keep in mind that one size does not fit all with herbal medicine. At Double Happiness Health we will find the formula that is just right for you.


So how do you harness these elements so you can end your long-term relationship with PMS?

1.    Clean Diet Makeover-

·      Eliminate refined sugar, flour and processed foods.

·      Limit caffeine and alcohol that promote imbalance.

·      Focus on eating whole-foods, high fiber diet.

·      Include Omega 3 foods like wild caught fish, omega 3 eggs and walnuts.

·      B-Vitamin rich foods: leafy greens, lentils and nuts.

·      Organic fruits and veggies and hormone free meats.

2.    Herbs/Supplements-

·      Customized Chinese herbal prescription.

·      Probiotic to help improve healthy elimination.

·      Evening primrose oil to regulate cycle. 1g x 2 per day

·      Chaste tree berry (Vitex) for hormone regulation. 100mg 2 per day

·      Magnesium and calcium- 600 of each per day

·      Dandelion tea to help detoxify the liver

3.    Exercise

·      30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Check out this video for inspiration. 

4.    Acupuncture

·      Weekly or bi-weekly for 2 months. Book online.

5.    Stress busting

·      TOFU- “time out for yourself” every day.

·      Headspace- my fav app for mindfulness training.

·      Get rid of hormone disruptors that are stressing out your body like plastics       with BPA and estrogen-like toxins from pesticides.

·      Use only skin/body products that are rated well on the Skin Deep app. Many companies sneak hormones into cleansers, creams and deodorants.