By Dr. Amanda Waaldyk, founder of Angea Acupuncture and Yoga (Angea) clinic.
PMS for those who have experienced it, can make you feel like a wild woman out of control. What’s worse, more than 75% of women experience PMS each month. When each month arrives it can be a time of frustration, anxiety, depression, moods that fluctuate wildly, fluid retention, bloating, headaches, blended with disrupted sleep.
This wild woman phenomenon is due to the biological and chemical changes that take place during your menstrual cycle. No, you are not crazy! What you are experiencing each month is very real. PMS and irregularities in your menstrual cycle occur due to fluctuations within your hormonal system.
Similar to the changes of season within nature, your body also has its own internal rhythm. When your internal rhythm becomes disrupted through lifestyle changes, stress, environmental toxins, processed foods, lack of sleep and so forth, the balance of yin and yang loses its harmony within your body.
Your time of month should be an easy transition. When a Tai-chi master moves, they are fluid and graceful. In essence, your period should do just that. It should arrive with ease and just flow – physically, mentally and emotionally. Let’s break it down a little further.
Our brain produces the happy hormones called serotonin. This is the hormone that makes us feel good. When levels are low, depression and even anxiety can occur. Research has shown that low levels of serotonin can be the result of a sensitive reaction to changes in estrogen and progesterone. For this very reason you can feel flat, depressed or anxious around the time of your period.
After ovulation our adrenal gland produces a chemical called aldosterone which can contribute to PMS symptoms such as headaches, water retention and breast tenderness.
Our body produces another chemical hormone called endorphins. Endorphins mask pain and are also released when we exercise. Sometimes painful periods, PMS and depression can occur when our body doesn’t produce enough endorphins. This is why it can be important to exercise during your period.
Our body produces cells called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help regulate our menstrual cycle and ovulation. Over production of prostaglandins can cause painful periods, cramping headaches and vomiting. Evening primrose oil helps to reduce over production of prostaglandins.
The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore…help is on hand. Hooray!
1. Give yoga, meditation and breathing exercises a try. They can help balance your hormones, calm your mind, and de- stress you. Welcome to the Zen Den!
2. Embrace gentle exercise. We can all do with an endorphin hit. To maintain your internal rhythm, keep your body moving with gentle exercises such as walking, qi gong and yoga. Aim for 20 minutes each day.
3. Say hello to the Magic Moxa Stick. Mugwort is a medicinal herb and can be purchased at www.angea.com.au. Grab yourself a moxa stick and wave your magic wand over your belly at the time of your period. Moxa will help ease period pain, cramping and create a healthy menstrual flow. Other alternatives are a hot water bottle or heat pack to ease cramps or discomfort. Relaxing and having a nice warm footbath can help to relieve a headache or assist with relaxing the body and ensuring a more solid, sound sleep.
4. Add a scoop of Magnesium Power. Foods that are high in magnesium such as dark leafy greens, nuts, avocados and magnesium powder help assist hormonal balance. We recommend a scoop of magnesium powder post ovulation to help increase your progesterone levels and balance excess estrogen.
5. Avoid foods high in sugar, coffee and alcohol. No processed or packaged foods. By cutting out all the crap, your body will start to love you again. Eating foods high in sugar spikes your blood sugar levels, creating an increase in insulin levels which then affect your hormonal balance.
6. Delve into Acupuncture & Chinese medicine. Acupuncture helps to regulate and balance your hormonal system, while Chinese herbs assist in balancing your entire menstrual cycle and creating a healthy menstrual flow.
7. Enjoy a cup of tea. A cup of tea dissolves everything. Herbal teas such as ginger, chamomile or rose petal tea can be great for warming or calming the body and reducing unsettled emotions or discomfort associated with PMS. The Angea “PMS” Medicinal Tea and The Angea “Flow” Medicinal Tea will treat PMS symptoms, balance your hormones, ease any uncomfortable dullness, uterine cramping and painful periods.
8. Block that Estrogen. There are specific foods that can minimise PMS. Eating foods high in fibre will help relieve constipation, sweeping your bowel, metabolise your hormones and eliminate waste product. Brassica vegetables are high in phytochemicals and potassium which help minimise estrogen dominance and balance your hormones. Try broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, swede, bok choy, brussel sprouts and cress.
Dr. Amanda Waaldyk, a renowned Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, founded Angea Acupuncture and Yoga (Angea) clinic in 2007, and has been growing the business from strength to strength ever since. Dr. Amanda specialises in fertility, helping thousands of women (and men) achieve their dreams of pregnancy through a method she realised and termed, The Angea Method™.