PMS: A Holistic Approach

PMS: A Holistic Approach is an alternative therapy to battling the PMS blues. Although much is not known about the mechanisms of PMS, some studies have shown specific approaches to be beneficial.  Other treatments have not been proven in scientific studies but, have been found to help many women.  Try “PMS A Holistic Approach” for at least 2-3 cycles; you may find some things work better for you than others.  

Don’t worry about taking the larger doses recommended here – however, they may be necessary for you to see an effect.

Vitamin Therapy A Holistic Approach

Vitamins B6, 50-150 mg. daily.  

Try a lower dose on “good days”, then double it on “bad days”; go back down to the lower dose after your period.  You should take this in a B Complex, not just alone.  Taking a high dose of one of the B vitamins without the others affects the metabolism of them all.

A good multivitamin with magnesium is also helpful. The magnesium decreases PMS cravings.  

Evening Primrose oil 500mg. capsules 2-6 daily.  Alternate high and low doses as above.  The amino acids in this and the B6 are used by your body to manufacture a neurotransmitter which is usually abnormally low in women with PMS.  This low level of neurotransmitter is presumably related to the emotional turmoil we feel during PMS.

  • Calcium 1000mg daily.  This is a good idea for most women anyway to prevent osteoporosis; several studies show it also decreases PMS symptoms.
  • Vitamin E 400 i.u. daily for breast tenderness.  Also try to cut back on caffeine.

Exercise and PMS

EXERCISE!!!  This gets endorphins going to blunt the highs and lows. It is also a great stress releaser and teaches you to like your body rather than be mad at it.  Make the time, especially the week or so that you are symptomatic; consider especially forms of exercise that focus on mind-body connection. For example, yoga and thai chi concentrate on relaxation as well as movement.

Diet and PMS

Watch your diet!! Some studies suggest that during this part of the cycle, your liver and kidneys are working hard to metabolize excess estrogen and other hormone metabolites. So, do not give them any extra work to do.  Avoid processed foods as much as possible (eat lots of fruits and veggies).  Cut back on caffeine (no more than 2 cups of coffee/tea/soda daily).  

A little chocolate won’t kill you but, be reasonable.  Also, note that if you have significant cramps, decreasing your intake of animal protein will help. It decreases the arachidonic acid in your system which is converted to prostaglandins, which increase cramps, diarrhea and bloating.

If you are overweight, try a diet to lose and normalize weight; cut your carbs.  Try to make carbs 40% of your total intake of calories. Eat smaller amounts of food more frequently throughout the day.  Decrease your salt intake and watch your intake of red meats.

  • No nicotine

A Holistic Approach

Herbs: Don Quai – 200mg standardized extract 3 times a day stabilizes menstrual irregularities associated with PMS.  It may also help with bloating.  Don’t use if bleeding heavily,  if pregnant or trying to conceive.  It may increase sun sensitivity ( make you burn more easily) and may worsen reflux. Don’t use if you take Coumadin or other anti-platelet drugs (blood thinners).  

Chastberry (Vitex) – take 3-5 ml of a 1:5 tincture per day in the morning. This regulates menstrual irregularities, helps ease mood changes and tension, helps with breast tenderness. If you get VERY depressed with your PMS, vitex may make you worse.  If you have very heavy bleeding and cramps, try black haw (cramp bark) 3-5 ml of a 1:5 tincture every 4-6 hours. 

However, you can try yarrow tea (make the tea with 1 oz. per pint of water.  Steep 10 minutes.  Drink 1 cup every 3-4 hours.  Or try yarrow tincture ½ -1 cc 2-4 times a day.  Yarrow is meant to be used only temporarily for a particular bleeding episode, not long term.

  • Chlorophyll 60mg. daily to decrease the amount of low with your menses.  Works well for most women.  Not a hormone.  No side effects.
  • Magnesium 800- 1000 mg. daily to reduce menstrual cramping.

If you follow “PMS: A Holistic Approach” and really stick with it (using a higher dose, if you’re not seeing any change). Most women will find their PMS very manageable.  

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