PMS: What do anxiety, breast tenderness and bloating have in common?
PMS: is this your go-to excuse for why you feel horrible before your period? Do you notice you turn into a bloated monster that can’t wear a bra because it hurts so bad? Are you so angry, irritable and anxious every month that people tend to stay away from you?
You are not alone!
A lot of women experience anxiety, abdominal bloating and breast tenderness prior to their periods - and if you’re nodding your head right now, you likely have gone through life assuming this was normal.
I’m here to tell you that you do not have to live with these PMS symptoms any longer.
PMS anxiety, bloating, and breast tenderness are signs of low progesterone, the hormone that’s responsible for the second half of our cycle. Some people call progesterone the calming hormone when compared to estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone needed to BUILD, progesterone is the hormone needed to MAINTAIN. Progesterone also supports production of the calming neurotransmitter, GABA, which leaves us feeling cool, calm and collected.
So you can see that when progesterone is low - our body is left with nothing to balance our estrogen properly.
Our go-go-go lifestyle puts a huge demand for cortisol on our body, and eventually there comes a time when our adrenal glands just can’t keep up with the demand anymore. This is when something called the pregnenolone steal happens and the demand for cortisol begins to shunt hormone production AWAY from progesterone - leaving us deficient.
Have you read our blog about stress and your hormonesl? If not, you can do so here.
Rate your stress levels on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the MOST stressed you could ever imagine.
Are you higher than a 6? Are you higher than a 6 AND suffering from PMS related anxiety, breast tenderness and abdominal bloating prior to your period? If this is you, then you need to start some stress management techniques NOW.
Start by integrating Alternate Nostril Breathing into your daily routine. I like to recommend 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes right before bed to activation your calming nervous system. Sit in a comfortable, seated postion and hold your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale deeply. At the peak of inhalation, release your thumb and place your ring finger over your left nostril to exhale deeply. Continue this pattern for 5 minutes or at least 10 deep breaths.
You also need to explore the option of nourishing your adrenal glands and decreasing your cortisol levels. In practice, I like to use herbs, supplements and acupuncture to increase your rest & digest nervous system, decrease your cortisol, and increase your progesterone.
Dr. Kelsey Duncan, Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Duncan is a Naturopathic Doctor in Guelph passionate about balancing women's hormones, optimzing thyroid health, and helping women get pregnant naturally. You can find her at Natural Choice Medical Clinic evenings and weekends. Call 519-265-8035 or click here to book your appointment.