The reason you break out, bloat, and hate everything the week before your period (& how to stop it!)
If you're reading this post, I'm guessing I [Michelle] don't have to introduce you to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). You've heard of it, you've had it, and by now you've maybe even accepted it.
Major chin acne, that almost-pregnant bloat, and endless crying at nothing in particular? Been there, done that.
But what if I told you PMS was common, but not normal? That our bodies were actually created to have smooth, healthy menstrual cycles with little to no symptoms? Shocking, right? Read on to find out why you're PMS-ing and how to actually stop it. (Hint: it's possible, I promise- I did it!)
What is PMS? PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome, and is a collection of symptoms that typically occur between ovulation and the start of a woman's period. This phase of the menstrual cycle is called the Luteal phase, and lasts about 10-14 days on average. PMS symptoms can run the gamut, but these are some of the most common:
Mood swings and irritability
Bloating and/or water retention
Anxiety or depression
Headaches or migraines
Why is it happening to me? Your menstrual cycle is made up of four phases (menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal). Each phase is marked by a subtle shift in hormones. Underlying hormonal imbalances can make these shifts symptomatic and very unpleasant. The shift into the luteal phase is where most women run into PMS. This is most commonly a result of an excess amount of estrogen, and/or not enough progesterone.
Hormonal imbalances are primarily caused by living and eating in a way that is not supportive or healthy to the body. We’ll get specific about this down below! Your body is wise. When it isn't being taken care of, it will speak up! When we start to see symptoms as messages, not just annoyances- we can listen, adjust, and give our bodies what they are asking for.
What’s making your PMS worse:
1. Not eating enough: aka skipping breakfast or any meals, undereating or “dieting”, and going too long in between meals → The Fix: Balance your blood sugar: Start the day with a hearty breakfast of protein, carbs and fat, and eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day.
2. Poor Sleep: sleeping less than 8 hours per night, and going to bed late (after 11)
→ The Fix: Get Good sleep: 8-9 hours is best! Aim to be in bed by 10:00pm
3. Poor diet and too much alcohol
→ The Fix: Clean up your diet. Include lots of fresh fruits and veggies, good quality proteins and fats, and reduce your consumption of alcohol and processed foods.
4. No self care: extreme busyness, overworking, and neglecting to slow down and rest → The Fix: Practice self care. Try 15 minutes a day of doing something relaxing that you love (ex: reading a fiction book, going for a walk, taking a warm bath with candles)
5. Possible underlying health issues: poor gut health and detoxification, mineral deficiencies, and reproductive conditions can all contribute to PMS. → The Fix: Supplement with nutrients that support reproductive health and the menstrual cycle. I recommend Beef Liver, Magnesium, and a good quality probiotic.
*If you suspect you have an underlying reproductive condition such as endometriosis, fibroids, or ovarian cysts, consider talking with a gynecologist or reproductive health practitioner in your area.
These tips may seem simple, but trust me- they work! Our hormones thrive on balance in all things. Aim to improve your food, sleep, and self care habits and your periods will thank you!