A syndrome that occurs several days prior to the onset of menstruation.
Characterized by one or more of the following: irritability, emotional
tension, anxiety, mood changes, esp., depression,
headache, breast tenderness with or without
swelling, water retention, which may be sufficient enough to cause
edema (swelling). The symptoms subside close to the onset of menstruation.
Not completely understood, but related to the alterations in estrogen
and progesterone during the menstrual cycle. One cause of PMS is hormone
imbalance (excessive estrogen levels and inadequate progesterone levels).
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is
also a factor. Fluid retention affects the blood flow, reducing the
oxygen in the uterus, ovaries, and brain.
PMS can start as early in the menstrual cycle as one to two weeks
before the menstrual flow starts. Symptoms may include any or all
of the following: depression, cramps, water retention, skin eruptions,
headaches, bloated abdomen, backache, breast swelling and tenderness,
fatigue, nervousness, joint pain, fainting spells, and changes in
personality (such as outbursts of anger, violence, and thoughts of
suicide). PMS is linked to food allergies,
candidiasis, malabsorption. Unfortunately,
some women have been misdiagnosed as mentally ill when vitamin therapy,
exercise, and change of diet was all that was needed.
Depends on the severity of symptoms. Mild analgesics may be helpful,
but in severe cases restriction of salt intake and use of a diuretic
to control fluid retention may be indicated.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Calcium with magnesium chloride, 1,500 mg. per day,
relieves cramping, backache, and nervousness. Primrose oil, 2
capsules 3 times per day. Vitamin B
complex, 50 mg. 3 times per day, reduces
water retention. Vitamin E, 400 IU at first,
increase to 800 IU, helps relieve sore breasts, and improves
oxygen utilization. Kelp, 4 tablets per day, is a good
mineral source. L-Lysine, 500 mg. daily,
start 5 days before menstrual period for those who suffer
from hypoglycemia and/or herpes.
L-Tyrosine, 500 mg. daily, is needed to
reduce anxiety, depression and headache.
Multivitamin and mineral complex with manganese, taken as directed
on the label. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 3,000
mg. daily in divided doses, helps in the relief of discomfort
and breast swelling, and boosts the immune system. Vitamin D,
taken as directed on the label, is needed for uptake of calcium and
- Chaste tree, berries
- Dong quai
- Evening-primrose, common, oil
- Ginseng, Siberian (do not use if you are hypoglycemic)
- Lady's mantle
- Raspberry leaves
- St. John's wort
- Squaw vine
- Thistle, blessed
- Valerian, American
- Yam, wild
Dong quai relieves PMS symptoms including pain, bloating, vaginal
dryness, and depression.
Avoid salt, alcohol, caffeine, red meats, dairy products, sugar in
any form, processed foods, fast foods or junk foods. Do not smoke.
The thyroid gland's function should be evaluated. Large numbers of
women with PMS have thyroid dysfunction of some type. The effectiveness
of oral contraceptives is sharply reduced when taking antibiotics.
Estrogen-type hormones should not be used if any of the following
are present: breast cancer, pregnancy, abnormal vaginal bleeding,
or phlebitis (inflammation of the leg veins).