Where Women's Health Month and Mental Health Month meet
I can't even believe it is already mid-May! Life has been on fast forward since I got the pupper, not to mention also opening an office.
So this month is designated both Women's Health Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. The natural intersection of these is PMS (premenstrual syndrome, previously dubbed premenstrual tension syndrome) and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
If you suffer from either of these then this will be a quick review of strategies to help improve your plight. If you are already doing these things, please see an integrative or functional medicine doctor to help you figure out possible root causes and address those.
If you do not know what these are and/or do not have any cyclic symptoms such as bloating, carb/chocolate cravings, breast tenderness/pain, headaches, stomach upset/bowel issues, irritability, anxiety, aggressiveness/rage, mood swings, apathy or sadness that occur in the week before your menses, then consider yourself blessed.
Since I have a restless pup in a crate hoping for play time today I will keep this very brief by outlining basic strategies to help relieve symptoms.
Whole foods diet with complex carbohydrates (avoiding simple carbs like refined sugars, white bread, white rice, potatoes)
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables but avoiding high glycemic loads
Elimination of dairy, caffeine, alcohol and animal fats (all inflammatory)
Increase fiber intake
Eating beneficial fatty acids (omega 3s) in salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, krill, nuts, and flaxseeds
Daily exercises, incorporating yoga moves and aerobic movement like walking, swimming, jogging, HIIT and vary your routine (mix it up)
Strategies to deal with stress - mindfulness, meditation, massage, reflexology, breath work
Lose weight if indicated
While most women will experience some relief of symptom severity by following all of the above, there are those who will need to also take supplements to improve their neurotransmitter metabolism. Here is the short list:
Phytomulti - 2-3 tabs a day (high quality multivitamin with therapeutic doses)
Vitamin B6 - 50mg 2-3 times daily
Vitamin D3 with K2 - 2000-5000IU daily
Vitamin E - 400-800IU per day
Evening Primrose Oil - 3000mg per day (3gm)
Krill oil 2000mg per day (2gm)
Magnesium 300mg up to 3 times a day (luteal phase - ovulation day until cycle starts)
Calcium 600-1200mg per day (depends on amount of calcium in your diet)
Tryptophan up to 6gm a day in the luteal phase - may cause drowsiness
Helpful botanicals if you are still having symptoms after the lifestyle and supplements have been used for two cycles -
Chastetree berry (Vitex Agnus Castus) 150-200mg/day
Ginkgo (Gingko biloba) 80mg twice a day from cycle day 16 until day 5 of next cycle
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) 300mg 3 times a day
Other potentially beneficial herbs:
Black cohosh 200mg a day
Dandelion tea daily (leaf for water retention and root for detoxification)
Look here to find some of the noted supplements and herbals and have a blessed day!
(recommendations adapted from Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Tori Hudson, ND)