Your Brain and PMS – 5 tips on addressing your PMS symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) describes emotional and/or physical symptoms a woman may have one or two weeks every month prior to menstruation. Mild PMS is common and is said to affect between 20 and 70 percent of women with regular menstrual cycles during their fertile years.
There is no one established reason why some women develop PMS and others do not. Nevertheless, the PMS is hypothesized to be directly related to the brain’s control of the menstrual cycle.
Research indicates that PMS sufferers seem to be super sensitive to normal hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. The physical and emotional symptoms associated with this phase of the cycle are believed to be caused by the body’s responses to rising and falling levels of hormones, which obviously are controlled by the brain.
But there are ways to help reduce PMS symptoms by improving brain health.
TAKE DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS
Research shows that nutraceutical and vitamin supplementation may be beneficial in managing PMS symptoms. These nutrients include Lipogen PMS-FREE, a scientifically formulated nutritional supplement that helps promoting brain function; and magnesium; B complex vitamins; omega-3 fatty acids and evening primrose oil. Remember, if your brain is functioning at its best, your whole body stands to benefit. It may give you better chances of responding to stress, fighting off illness and tackling monthly symptoms of PMS.
Studies have shown that some chemicals found in common products can interfere with hormonal cycles and potentially worsen PMS symptoms. To keep your cycle normal, try avoiding any synthetic chemicals that make you feel like your body is out of whack.
LOWER INFLAMMATION LEVELS
People who suffer from chronic inflammation often show more depressive symptoms and chronic stress. UC Davis research found that women who experience PMS tend to have higher levels of an inflammatory marker, called C-reactive protein. So, if you can lower inflammation, you may be able to minimize PMS symptoms. Ways to lower inflammation include: eat fewer carbohydrates and processed foods; get enough sleep (the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for anyone over 18 years of age); and exercise regularly.
The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland (known together as the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA)) are areas of the brain involved in the reproductive cycle. Studies have shown that women with severe forms of PMS seem to have different HPA axis function, including higher baseline levels of cortisol (the key hormone involved in stress) during the luteal phase (the phase after ovulation – when your ovaries release an egg – until before your period starts) as compared to women without this condition. Stress is also linked to a change in control of the hormones that stimulate the nerves involved in the reproductive cycle.
Some ways you can lower your stress levels include: eating properly and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugar; exercising regularly (which has shown to improve depressive symptoms); and getting enough rest (sleep repairs neurons in your brain).
SEE YOUR DOCTOR
If you believe you are suffering from PMS, visit your doctor to find out what may help you.