10 Tips For Saying Goodbye to PMS
STRESS! That big word that everybody’s talking about. It has a LOT to answer for when it comes to hormone health (and more!)
I hear a lot of women say they’re not stressed. But trust me, we all are, if you’re living in today’s fast paced, multi-tasking, ever-connected world that is.
Stress drivers are EVERYWHERE these days and they come in all sorts of forms from running late for work, being stuck in traffic, clashing with colleagues and managers, fighting your way onto the tube, worrying about a never ending to-do list, other anxieties and worries, managing family life and work life, and being constantly connected and switched on! Gone are the days when you finish work and completely switch off until tomorrow...nowadays we can check emails ANYTIME, not to mention Whatsapp, texts, and social media access 24/7.
All of these things are perceived by the brain as stress and thus raise cortisol levels (our stress hormone). Over time this chronic cortisol flooding can put a lot of pressure on your adrenal glands (small glands that sit just above your kidneys and release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in response to stress).
Then, over time, this pressure on your adrenal glands will throw out your sex hormones. This, you guessed it, exacerbates PMS and menopausal symptoms including mood issues.
Demanding too much cortisol from the body results in a mechanism known as ‘the progesterone steal’. The hormones cortisol and progesterone are made via the same pathway in the body, and if we ask our bodies to make too much cortisol this ends up being at the cost of making enough progesterone, so we stress literally ‘steals’ resources away that we need to make progesterone :-( This is sad times because having adequate progesterone is key for a healthy hormonal balance and keeping hormonal symptoms at bay.
So, low mood, mood swings, irritability, teariness, tender breasts, menstrual bloating, spotting in-between periods, hot flushes and night sweats familiar to you?
These are all symptoms of low progesterone and a dominance of oestrogen. We can do a lot towards helping to fix this by doing the best that we can to reduce our stress and support a better response to stressful situations..
Here are 10 of my favourite hormone balancing tips for you to start implementing straight away!
More self care in the luteal phase. Once you enter into the second half of your cycle (2 weeks leading up to your next period - catch the replay of my Hormones 101 live session here), the Luteal Phase, it’s important to incorporate a lot more self care here. Plenty of downtime and white space where you can be quiet and calm such as more gentle yoga classes, meditations, naps.. (I KNOW!!!), and just generally more chilled out stuff versus high energy workouts and just too much doing doing doing. Now, you might be reading this thinking errrrr I have 100 kids, a house to run and a full time job. I’m not saying it’s easy to just clear the decks and go off for a nap, but we CAN all do the best we can do with what we have, and that’s going to be different for everyone. So if your life goes at 1000 miles an hour most days just start by making one tiny change this month during the 2 weeks leading up to your next period such as switching the TV (noise) off more often during those tiny little moments when you might be left alone and then closing your eyes and taking some slow long breaths in and out through your belly and nose. Then just sit in stillness and silence for the rest of the short time you have. All of these little moments of stillness will add up in the end to your having spent more and more time in a calming and restorative state.
Eat plenty of cruciferous Vegetables. All vegetables (especially leafy greens) are important for our health in so many ways, but cruciferous vegetables are super key for hormonal health, these are vegetables of the Brassicaceae family, like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, kale, and bok choi. These wonderful nutrition powerhouses contain a phytochemical called Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), which has been shown to improve oestrogen metabolism and so can help support healthy hormonal balance.
Increase herbs and spices in your cooking and seasoning such as turmeric, cumin, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, rosemary, dandelion, fennel, green tea, cinnamon, garlic.
Replace refined carb sources with nutrient-dense fibrous sources such as root veggies, oats, brown/red/black rice, quinoa, buckwheat, German rye bread.
Increase protein and good fats a lot more significantly than you think! (this helps to reduce cravings for sugar)
Get more magnesium, from dark leafy greens, oats, buckwheat, 85% dark chocolate, black beans, mung beans, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, avocado, potatoes, and Epsom Salt baths!
Do a poo or 2 per day! For this you’ll need adequate fibre and water intake. Increase ground flaxseed (2 tbsps. a day), ALL the veg, berrie, beans and pulses, and oats.
If you are on the oral contraceptive pill I would really encourage you to reconsider. It can impact the bacterial balance in your gut, reduce thyroglobulin levels (impacting your thyroid), raise oestrogen levels and deplete essential B vitamins plus zinc and magnesium.
Get more sleep!
If you exercise intensely each week try switching out one of your sessions for a gentle yoga class or a walk through nature.
If you'd like my help with transforming your health and wellbeing then I'm here for you. Apply for a free exploratory call here and let's chat things through :-)
Lots of love & hormonal happiness