PMS. Everybody has heard the acronym, and we most likely all know what it means. You may even mark your PMS days on your calendar or warn your partner to prepare for your symptoms. While the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS in the week prior to your menstrual period can be nothing more than an annoyance for some women, PMS can actually disrupt the lives of many others. Natural treatment for PMS can help!
PMS, whether it is minor or involves extreme suffering, is not normal or healthy. In fact, PMS symptoms may be a result of a hormone imbalance that also affects other areas of your health including your weight and energy levels. In many cases, stress is to blame. Undergoing chronic stress can result in low levels of progesterone, which subsequently upsets the ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Let’s take a look at a list of the symptoms that may occur when this female hormone ratio is unbalanced.
• Mood swings
• Changes in weight or appetite
• Easily brought to tears
• Lack of concentration
• Frequent or irregular menstruation
• Low sex drive
Experiencing one—let alone multiple—of these symptoms can be overwhelming for women during this week of their menstrual cycle. Some doctors may recommend an over-the-counter remedy for mild symptoms or a prescription birth control to ease extreme PMS. But these drugs simply mask the symptoms. They do not treat the underlying cause, nor do they prevent PMS from occurring. In other words, while a woman’s symptoms disappear or extreme symptoms are lessened, the cause of PMS is still present. Fortunately, there are natural remedies to not only treat the symptoms of PMS, but to restore hormone levels to optimal levels.
To understand how these remedies work, we must examine the role stress plays in creating a progesterone deficiency in the first place. When you undergo stress, be it emotional or physical, your body responds by signaling your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones called cortisol. When the cortisol levels exist in excess on rare occasion, this does not have long-term effects on the body. But when cortisol levels remain high for extended periods of time, it can wreak havoc in your body.
Notice that I said emotional or physical factor. This is because many people often associate stressors with external issues. Few people are actually aware that stress can come from inside as well. These are known as biochemical or internal stressors, and when left untreated, these stressors can lead to chronic stress. Some of the internal causes of stress are as follows:
• Diet or poor nutrition. It is essential to avoid sugar and sweetners, as well as foods high in starch like rice, pasta, and bread. Caffeine should also be avoided.
• Food intolerances. Learn what foods your body negatively reacts to and remove these foods from your diet. Some foods include gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, nuts, and grains.
• Intestinal issues. Problems you experience in relation to digestion can take a huge toll on your body. These include gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain.
• Lack of sleep or inadequate sleep
• Chronic inflammation such as joint pain, muscle pain, skin rashes and disorders, brain fog, and fatigue.
• Autoimmune disease such as hypothyroidism or Colitis
• Pushing your body to keep going even when you know it needs a break
Unfortunately, in today’s world, some of these stressors can rarely be avoided, and as long as you are experiencing stress, your body continues to signal your adrenals to produce cortisol. This high demand for cortisol production requires your body to steal resources from the production of other hormones—particularly your reproductive hormones including progesterone. When your adrenals take away necessary materials from reproductive hormone production, this is called “pregnenolene steal.”
With basic knowledge of how stress is related to and leads to progesterone deficiency, we are able to better understand and treat this hormone imbalance and prevent PMS.
A combination of acupuncture and herbs—two main practices in Chinese medicine—are the best tools to treat progesterone deficiencies and cure PMS naturally. Through the use of thin, disposable needles, acupuncture is able to target trigger points to unblock the pathways of energy—or qui—and, as a result, stabilize your oscillation of hormones.- Acupuncturist, Dr. Stefanie Bennett of Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach
Acupuncture also assists your body by promoting deep relaxation that helps to soothe the mind and ultimately relieve stress. To supplement the treatment of PMS through acupuncture, we recommend Chinese herbs to regulate the flow of qi and blood in the body. While both methods can work separately to treat hormonal imbalances, when acupuncture and Chinese herbs are combined in a treatment, they better stimulate the body’s natural functions and promote optimum balance.
It is also important to alter your diet. While acupuncture and Chinese herbs are effective in reversing hormone imbalances, it is also essential to monitor your food consumption to maintain your hormone balances and achieve lasting results. I recommend shifting to an anti-inflammatory diet to eliminate the stress your body experiences from trying to digest hard to break down foods. This diet will also help to restore gut health, heal chronic inflammation, and effectively manage autoimmune diseases—all of which increase internal stress in the body.
When following an anti-inflammatory diet, you should avoid foods full of sugars and highly processed grains. You also want to avoid foods that contain preservatives and GMOs. A rule I like to follow is that if the food does not rot sitting in your pantry, it is not safe for consumption. In other words, if the food cannot break down on its own, your body is going to have an extremely difficult time breaking it down in the digestive system.
Because it is important to consult with a doctor prior to making drastic changes in your diet, we encourage you to call our office and schedule a free consultation with Dr. Bennett. Her expertise will be able to guide you in not only making the appropriate food substitutions, but understand what diet is the best for your individual needs.
The third approach to restoring hormonal balance—and likely the most important—is advanced hormone level testing. This test, which we perform at Bennett Acupuncture and Functional Medicine, can give us insight into the physiological timing, distribution and production of the critical hormones like progesterone. Having this knowledge, we are able to devise a safe and effective treatment plan catered to each individual patient.
As part of your tailored plan, we may recommend nutritional supplements to ease the symptoms of PMS. When you come in for your consultation, we will ask questions about your current diet to determine if you are receiving proper amounts of essential.
Other helpful supplements include certain amino acids and neurotransmitters. But I want to caution you here, these supplements should only be taken when directed by a skilled doctor. I also do not recommend buying off-the-shelf versions of these supplements either, hence why I have not listed specific names here. A licensed health care provider is required to manage your amino acid and neurotransmitter supplements.
In the same regard, other nutrients such as magnesium, B6, and vitamin D3 are great for additional support to reduce the symptoms of PMS. But in order for these nutrients to work effectively, the supplements must be taken in the right amounts and in a certain sequence. It is essential that you get professional advice from a qualified and licensed expert.
If you are interested in reducing your symptoms of PMS or reduce premenstrual syndrome, call my office to schedule your consultation. We will discuss your options ranging from natural therapies to advanced functional medicine lab testing and get you the best care you need to alleviate PMS and restore a healthy, happy hormone balance.
**Please note: If you are prescribed antidepressants, consult your doctor BEFORE beginning any serotonin support regimen. Especially with dealing PMS and hormone issues always consult your MD. We practice co-management with other types of providers.
About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc, Ph.D. – Holds both a master and one of the few in the area with a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She has completed additional training in functional medicine, fertility, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. Dr. Bennett also serves many people from Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Tustin and Orange County. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome.
People who want to feel great often turn to acupuncture today. There are more and more acupuncturists every single year and it has become mainstream. How mainstream, Dr. Bennett of Bennett Acupuncture of Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley has 10+ years of experience working side by side with Internal medicine doctors within a medical group. Through this clinical setup, Dr. Bennett states the importance of co-managing care with MDs is so very critical. Keeping communications open with your primary care providers or specialist is the best way to ensure everyone receives maximum results. In fact, internists, pain management specialists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, and other types of MDs regularly refer their patients to Dr. Bennett. If you’ve been considering visiting an acupuncturist for pain, it’s key that you know what’s involved. Keep reading because this article will give you that information.
Prepare yourself to face dealing with needles. You won’t be able to get around this because acupuncture deals with needles usually. They are an integral part of this treatment. Get comfortable with the thought of needles so you don’t take on extra stress.
Those who are scared of needles can still benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncture is very efficient in relieving pain, stress and giving you more energy. Don’t allow your anxieties to make you not able to get pain relief.
A good acupuncture session can provide remarkable, elevated levels of energy. A lot of clients said that for weeks after their treatment, they still feel a boost in their energy level. Although people are typically relaxed immediately after their treatment, an energy boost typically follows.
When scheduling, be selective about the time of your treatment. Do not schedule your treatment immediately before or after strenuous activity. Don’t have your session scheduled between two different things because you may be more stressed out. You’ll find it very hard to relax in your session with a busy schedule.
Are you afraid of acupuncture therapy because of potential pain? If so, realize that acupuncture is virtually pain-free. As opposed to the needles used to administer vaccinations, acupuncture needles tend to be thinner and do not contain fluid. When they are inserted into your body, you aren’t going to feel them much at all.
You should choose an acupuncturist who is licensed by your state’s Health Department and go online and review their license history. Most acupuncturists hold a masters degree and other hold a master’s degree and doctorate for additional training. For instance, Fountain Valleys acupuncturist, Dr. Stefanie Bennett holds a master’s degree in Oriental medicine and herbology from South Baylo University, CA as well as a Ph.D. in acupuncture from American Liberty University, CA. She holds a diplomat in Chinese herbology and a diplomat in acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Advanced training and certification in applied clinical nutrition.
If you need to take medications that you have had prescribed to you, make sure that you list them out on paper to give to your acupuncturist. This will help to form the treatment plan that is right for you. Plus bring in any medical, labs and diagnostic reports.
Don’t bring your electronic gadgets into your sessions with you. This will cause disturbances and stress, which you do not need. A beeper or ringing phone will cause you to tense up and create some discomfort during your session. Eliminate this potential distraction and your appointment will be more productive.
People often say they are relaxed and blissful following an acupuncture appointment. To extend that good feeling, avoid noisy distractions as entertainment like television. Acupuncture makes you feel good because it clears your mind. Watching TV just clogs it up again.
You need to think about what all is involved in acupuncture. By seeking out information, you can make the best decisions regarding the treatments that will help you stay in good health. Do not forget the information in this article, and acupuncture can be a part of your healthy lifestyle. So go get acupuncture and remember our tips for seeing an Acupuncturist.
About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc, Ph.D. – Holds both a master and one of the few in the area with a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She has completed additional training in functional medicine, fertility, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. Dr. Bennett also serves many people from Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Tustin and Orange County. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome.