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PMS – Is something hijacking your emotions?

Do you ever feel like someone else has taken over your body? You feel sad, angry, and irrational? Does this happen in a cyclical manner before your period? It may be PMS – and help is at hand. Read on.

Premenstrual symptoms are a debilitating reality for many – too many – women. In fact, according to the Office of Women’s Health Australia, as many as three in four women get symptoms from time to time (1).

I get it. No – I really do. Last year I experienced PMS for the first time. There was one day of the month that I would dip into a deep depression without knowing why. It affected relationships and work. Even as a women’s health practitioner, it took a while for the the penny drop and come to realise that my hormones were out.

An alarming 150 different symptoms are associated with PMS. For most women, symptoms are mild. 5% of women suffer from severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is more complex to treat. It is the timing, rather than the exact nature of the symptoms that is the most important indicator of PMS. If you experience symptoms in the second half of your cycle they are likely to indicate PMS.

There are so many reasons for PMS.

Some serious, some not so serious. It could be as simple as a nutrient deficiency like B6, vitamin D, magnesium or omega 3. Sometimes a simple lifestyle adjustment may fix it – getting better quality sleep, moving more, starting that meditation practice, or cutting out dairy or alcohol.

When you experience PMS – it’s very helpful to look back at the last month and assess: What’s changed? Have I been more stressed? Did I drink more alcohol / coffee / soy / gluten / sugar etc. etc. This will impact your PMS. Then pick up your game and do better next month.

Sometimes there is something more serious at play, like histamine intolerance, genetics, inflammation, autoimmune condition, anxiety, depression, trauma, or conflict relationships. If your oestrogen is elevated and your progesterone is bottoming out (you may have not ovulated) - you may experience the debilitating symptoms of anxiety, irritability and depression and neurotransmitter imbalance in a cyclical fashion.

There are too many factors to go into in this blog post alone but I will list briefly some of the main causes for PMS and some simple interventions. But the honest truth remains – you may need more than one intervention, and most likely one of them will involve a lifestyle change.

A word about emotions…

Sometimes PMS is about the unresolved issues in our lives – ask yourself: Just where am I not in alignment with my truth? i.e: Relationships, purpose, connection? Also giving yourself enough time, compassion and space before and during your menstrual cycle is very important. Women are very intuitive and naturally more mediative during menstruation. You are not weird for taking space! Connect to this need if it’s there. Pre-menstruation is a time that any unresolved issues will be highlighted – and perhaps a good time to start healing. Reach out for help. Common reasons for your PMS:

Diet: Too much dairy / gluten / wheat / sugar / alcohol / coffee / not enough veggies, fibre, good fats or protein. Liver detoxification issues or a toxic environment lead to elevated oestrogen. Gut issues (and issues eliminating toxins and hormones), parasites, and overgrowths such as candida or SIBO. Stress: Stress impairs ovulation, and low progesterone Nutrient deficiencies: Protein, omega 3, B12, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, Zinc.

Neurotransmitter issues (largely linked to oestrogen and progesterone imbalance, or dietary insufficiency). Chemicals such pesticides, heavy metals and endocrine disrupting hormones Genetics: Methylation issues. Hormonal imbalance: High oestrogen to progesterone ratio. Trauma, feeling disconnected, or not taking enough time for yourself. Inflammation. Underlying infections, bacterial, viral or fungal. Solutions:

Consider adopting a handful of these interventions from each category: Nutrients:

B6 100-200mg or daily an activated B complex. Broccoli sprouts or a powder. Magnesium diglycinate 300 - 400mg a day. Vitamin D 300iu a day. Probiotic and prebiotic fibre: Slippery elm powder, ground flax seed, psyllium husk. Evening Primrose Oil – especially for painful breasts. Omega 3 fatty acids – 4000mg a day Iodine, zinc, selenium Calcium-D-Glucarate, glutathione, DIM, NAC (only under the instruction of a health professional). Foods: Fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, hemp seeds, flaxseed oil, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, sweet potato, dark green leafy vegetables, complex carborhydrates, berries, eggs Herbal Medicine in tea, capsule or tincture:

Liver herbs like Dandelion root, Chamomile, Globe artichoke, Rosemary, Turmeric, St Mary’s Thistle. Vitex (Chaste tree) starting on first day of cycle for 3-6 months. Anti-anxiety herbs: Lavender, Skullcap, Passionflower, Withania, St John’s Wort, Gotu Kola, Lemon Balm. Nervine tonic herbs: Scutalleria lateriflora, Vervain, Oats, St Johns Wort, Saffron. Women’s tonic herbs: Shatavari, Wild Yam, Nettle, Black cohosh, Liquorice, Red clover. Herbal diuretics for fluid retention: Dandelion leaf, Celery seed, and Juniper berry, parsley root. Adrenal tonics for stress: Liquorice (not with fluid retention), Rhemannia. Adaptogen herbs for stress: Shatavari, Rhodiola, Gotu kola, Withania, Siberian Ginseng, Panax ginseng, Resihi.


Get more sleep. Fewer screens at night, or wear blublox glasses. Ask for help: Counselling / psychotherapy / naturopathy / kinesiology. Meditation, movement, yoga, mindfulness. See these apps: . Breathwrk, Max Richter Sleep, Calm. Acupuncture or massage. Epsom salt baths or steam / sauna / bathing. Exercise – move your body and sweat. Nature walks. Heat packs, castor oil packs. Get your hormones tested – see a professional. Morning routine including green juice, movement and journaling. Establish healthy boundaries – work with a professional. Lastly – Aromatherapy can be very beneficial:

Choose to diffuse in the air or dilute and rub onto the skin / ovaries / breasts:

Essential oils of: Lavender, chamomile, lemon, sandalwood, frankincense, clary sage, rose + geranium, coriander seed oil.

If you need more help book an appointment. We often use Comprehensive Hormone Testing to get to the root cause of your issue.

In good health,

Suzzi Hartery

BHSc Naturopath (Distinction) The Feel Good Society Founder & Head Practitioner


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