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Do you suffer from PMS? Hormonal acne? Low libido? Painful and/or heavy periods? I’ve blogged about what hormonal birth control did to my body as well as some of its more serious possible side effects. Yet many women feel that birth control pills are their only option for controlling their hormones and the miserable cycles these hormones can cause.
First off, what is PMS? Most people think of PMS as women being moody when it’s “that time of the month.” In actuality, PMS has many more manifestations that just mood swings. If you suffer from any of these symptoms around the time of your period, you may have PMS (source and source):
- Changes in mood, such as irritability, anxiety, and depression
- Bloating or weight gain
- Food cravings
- Weight gain and bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased libido
- Painful cramping
What Causes PMS?
PMS is caused by hormone imbalances, particularly estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can be caused by a variety of hormone problems, such as too much estrogen, not enough progesterone, or when cells are not responding properly. Thyroid hormone and cortisol (stress hormone) can also play an important role. This is why, rather than just slapping on the band-aid of hormonal birth control, learning to natural balance hormones is imperative to achieving relief from PMS symptoms.
If you have been living a Standard American Diet or lifestyle for your entire life, it may not be easy to make the transition to a hormone-nourishing lifestyle. It will involve dietary improvements and well as lifestyle changes to improve health and decrease stress. Not only must you eat foods that improve hormone health, but you must also cut out foods that disrupt hormone health!
Some great happy-hormone foods are raw, grass-fed dairy; salt; grass-fed liver (and other organ meats); raw honey; grass-fed geletin, coconut oil, and eggs. Remember, cholesterol is the building block of hormones – do not fear it when it comes from good sources! Foods to particularly avoid (in addition to the obvious chemical-laden processed foods) are vegetable oils, soy, nuts and seeds, grains that are not properly prepared (some may want to avoid grains completely), and nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant). Even raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, etc.) should be consumed in moderation.
Does that seem like a lot of information and to-dos? It may be, but I don’t want to scare you off by saying that is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to balancing your hormones. In fact, think of this as a good thing! There are so many different actions that a woman can take to balance her hormones and free herself from PMS. While they work best in combination, it is easy to start small. Pick one helpful behavior, like gentle exercise, getting more sleep, taking an herbal supplement, or eliminating processed foods. Focus on that one healing behavior, then move on to another when you are ready.
Starting small is infinitely better than never starting at all.
I could write a whole series of posts about these various methods of hormone balance, detox, and achieving healthy cycles. However, all of this information, with the science, explanations, and sources have already been compiled into one amazing book. In Quit PMS, Lauren Geertsen of Empowered Sustenance details the possible causes of PMS and spends over 80 pages discussing ways to balance hormones, as well as the dangers of using artificial hormones for “balance.”
Following these suggestions is a section that provides tips for quick relief from symptoms and ways to care for yourself externally, such as oil or honey cleansing for acne. She even includes tips for better period products and some seriously delicious recipes that can aid in hormone balance.
Currently, with the purchase of Quit PMS, Lauren is offering a free copy of Superfoods to Avoid. This book is as intriguing as it sounds, and definitely one to check out! Learn more about Quit PMS here.
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