Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. It is one of the most common conditions affecting women of childbearing age. Approximately 85 percent of women have one or more symptoms of PMS.
Years ago, the symptoms of PMS were dismissed as being psychological. Today, however, it is recognized there are a number of factors involved in causing the notorious symptoms, including hormonal and biochemical imbalances, diet, and environment. Today’s woman is now looking for natural ways to relieve her PMS symptoms and these can include hormone vitamins, minerals and herbs.
The symptoms of PMS often start a few days to a week before the menstrual cycle and then disappear after menstruation. They vary greatly among women in both severity and the number of symptoms experienced.
Common signs and symptoms include:
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Changes in appetite and/or food cravings
- Crying spells
- Depression and anxiety
- Lower abdominal bloating and pain
- Mood swings and irritability
- Weight gain from fluid retention
While the symptoms of PMS can be distressing, there are a number of lifestyle measures and hormone vitamins, minerals and herbs that can greatly improve both the physical and emotional symptoms.
Calcium: Studies have found that calcium can significantly reduce mood swings, pain, bloating, depression, back pain, and food cravings.
Dosage: 1,000–1,500 mg daily.
Magnesium: Some research suggests that it may help emotional symptoms and headaches. Combining magnesium with vitamin B6 may improve results.
Dosage: 250 mg twice daily.
Vitamin B6: Has been widely used for PMS, although studies have yielded mixed results. It may work best in those with a deficiency of B6 or when used along with magnesium.
Dosage: Take 50–100 mg as part of a B-complex product.
Chasteberry: An herb that is widely used in Europe. It helps balance hormone levels and reduces symptoms of irritability, depression, headaches, and breast tenderness.
Dosage: 150–300 mg daily.
Hormonal Imbalance in Women and PMS
For those women looking for a more natural way to relieve their PMS and premenopause symptoms, there are several botanicals that have been evaluated for use in PMS and pre-menopause. Some of these natural health products work by correcting the hormonal imbalance in women and other products reduce symptoms by non-hormonal mechanisms.
Overall, these botanicals may be used to effectively balance hormones in the body and help alleviate PMS and premenopausal symptoms such as cramping, bloating, mood swings and breast tenderness. femMED Hormonal Balance contains six ingredients that help provide PMS and pre-menopause symptom relief. The ingredients include: Saw Palmetto, Chastetree Berry, Milk Thistle, Scullcap, Red Raspberry and Wild Yam. For cramping, Both Red Raspberry and Wild Yam have muscle relaxant effects which may reduce physical cramping felt during PMS and premenopause.
Hormone Imbalance and Hypothyroidism
Most people with hypothyroidism have to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives. Our thyroid hormone regulates many body processes and if you have hormone imbalance it can result in a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms.
The thyroid gland produces two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroixine (T4). Most of the actions of thyroid hormone are due to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. Our bodies convert T4 to T3, however in some people this conversion does not happen adequately.
There are several different types of thyroid medications – natural and synthetic and T3 and T4. Synthetic forms of thyroid hormone (T4) are Synthroid and Eltroxin. There is also Cytomel, which provides the body with active (synthetic) T3. This is a preferred form for those who do not convert T4 to T3 adequately, however it needs to be taken three times daily. Lastly there is natural thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine, which can be made at a compounding pharmacy. It is important to know that in this case “natural” means that they are not chemically made or synthesized, they are obtained from animal (pig) thyroid. While natural thyroid is typically well tolerated some people do react adversely.
Here is a link to an article that discusses some of these issues: