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Okay guys, I figure this tip is in your interest too as by simply understanding what your wife, girlfriend, or sisters go through each month, you can be a better support when they are SUFFERING! Premenstrual syndrome is the name given to a constellation of emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms that occur during the last couple of weeks of the menstrual cycle that interfere with a woman's quality of life. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, breast pain and swelling, muscle and/or joint pain, headaches, depression, anger, anxiety, irritability, bloating, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, food cravings, difficulties concentrating, forgetfulness, lack of sexual interest, confusion. Some women that suffer badly from PMS may be hurting 2 weeks of every month, or almost half of each year. I know of a woman that takes a 2 to 3 days off work each month when the abdominal pain is at its worst, because she actually finds it difficult to stand up. Yet women rarely tell their bosses that they are not coming into work because of PMS - it still is somewhat of a taboo subject, and so most women that get PMS suffer in silence.  Or they take something for pain control, which deals with the symptoms but not the cause.

Most commonly, PMS is caused by a lack of, or an imbalance in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, and also cortisol. POP QUIZ: What is the raw material nutrient that estrogen, progesterone and cortisol are made from? If you have been reading these tips for a while, you should know that the answer is .... drum roll .... saturated fat and cholesterol!  So are you avoiding quality saturated fat, such as butter for example?  Estrogen dominance over progesterone is frequently linked to PMS symptoms, and is also interestingly enough, thought to be a causative factor in breast cancer and uterine cancer, and probably cervical and ovarian cancer as well. So hormonal balancing can go a long way to  ridding oneself of PMS and preventing disease.  POP QUIZ BONUS QUESTION: What can women easily do today, and tomorrow, and every day after to reduce their estrogen levels? Yes, you can find the answer in one of my other tips ... Maybe you can figure it out??? The answer? Go to bed early to get enough dark time. Melatonin controls estrogen levels.  Women that are suffering severely may find it helpful to stop taking estrogen only birth-control pills (Katie Singer's book The Garden of Fertility gives natural methods of birth control that don't mess with a woman's hormone cycles), and they could speak to their doctor about getting bio-identical progesterone cream (not Provera or Megestrol).  If you are under a lot of stress, progesterone is often shunted off to help build cortisol, your stress coping hormone, which explains why stress increases PMS symptoms.  Therefore anything that can be done to reduce stress, would reduce the need for cortisol, which would help maintain progesterone levels and reduce PMS symptoms.

Another probable contributing factor to estrogen dominance is the quantity of soy isolate foods like soy milk, soy cheese, soy protein powders and bars, soy oil, soy lecithin, MSG, etc. that people are consuming these days, believing them to be healthier alternatives to dairy or other real food.  If you suffer from PMS, do not consume soy isolate products.  Dealing with the xenoestrogens, those synthetic chemicals used in plastics is tougher - don't use those hard plastic lexan waterbottles with the recycling symbol #7, as the BPA (Bisphenol A) in them is a xenoestrogen that can leach into the water, and then bind with your estrogen receptors.  Choose waterbottles made of #2, #4 or #5 instead.  Store your food in glass or ceramic rather than plastic, and if you insist on microwaving your food, do not microwave in plastic or use plastic wrap.  Xenoestrogens are frequently also put in the hormones fed to cattle to fatten them up for slaughter (guess what - too much estrogen makes cattle fat, just like it makes women fat!), so choose organic meats and poultry to be certain you are not consuming extra xenoestrogens in your food.  Exercise and careful sauna use can help eliminate xenoestrogens via sweating, although fully removing these toxins may take years.

Glycemic control (blood sugar control) is very important in hormone regulation, because insulin, which controls our blood-sugar, is a master-regulator hormone, and if there is a problem with insulin, it will throw off the balance of all the hormones including estrogen.  Chronically high insulin levels leads to insulin resistance which leads to estrogen dominance.  So, reduce your intake of sugar and flour products, and instead choose above-ground vegetables, and whole grains and legumes as your carbohydrate, and consume them with quality protein and fat in order to slow the sugar absorption into the bloodstream.

Related tips:
How hormones, neurotransmitters and steroids work
The soy controversy
Plastic waterbottles
Blood-sugar regulation
Saturated fat - the misunderstood nutrient

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Copyright 2005-2007 Vreni Gurd