Do you ever feel anxious, irritable and overwhelmed in the run up to your period? Do you find it hard to control your temper and feel just not like yourself?
These are common signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which is a term used to describe a number of physical and emotional symptoms you may experience in the run up to your period. The exact cause is not clearly understood but it is thought to be due to a change in your hormone levels in the second half of your cycle. Notably a rapid fall in the level of progesterone, (our soothing, calming, and relaxing hormone), could very well be at play.
For some women, the first time they really begin to notice symptoms of PMS is as they enter the perimenopause as their natural hormones, and in particular, their progesterone levels begin to fall. For others, as they hit perimenopause, their lifelong PMS symptoms become more intense and start to appear earlier and earlier in their cycle. It is really important to acknowledge the enormous impact that these symptoms can have on a woman’s life and the impact they can have on those around them at home and in the workplace.
So what can we do about it?
In all cases, whether perimenopausal or not, following a healthy diet that focuses on maintaining a well-balanced blood sugar is vital. Regular exercise, minimising alcohol intake and getting sufficient sleep as well as taking supplements such as magnesium and B vitamins will also help. If anxiety is a major factor then a daily supplement of Ashwagandha can be very beneficial
For moderate PMS, supplementary progesterone therapy in the second half of the cycle can be extremely beneficial. In some cases, overriding the body’s natural cycle with a body-identical combined contraceptive pill such as Zoely, taken with no breaks brings relief. In other cases, hormone replacement therapy involving natural oestrogen and progesterone is used.
Whether PMS has always been a part of your life and you’d like to take back control, or if you have developed cyclical mood changes more recently and want to understand what is happening and how to tackle it, our specialist clinicians are ready to listen. We are able to help you find the right strategy whatever your stage of life.