Hormonal Health: A guide to PMS

This is probably one of the most important blog posts I've written.

It's so common for women to experience PMS. Mood swings, irritability, bloating, headaches, back pain, menstrual pain, fatigue, hunger... the list goes on, and I don't blame you, anyone experiencing these symptoms would turn into their own evil twin. Totes normal. However what isn't normal is suffering with this experience month in and month out.

I come from a long line of 'monthly' crazies (sorry mum!) and it wasn't until I studied nutrition did I start to gain some insight into what happens to our bodies at that time of the month.

To explain it simply, many moons ago it was commonly understood that PMS was a psychological disorder, and sure, the symptoms would make it appear to be psychological. But while science doesn't completely understand the complexities, we do know the symptoms are partially due to a hormonal imbalance -- excessive estrogen and inadequate progesterone.

And the good news is that the answer is simple and so-so-so darn easy. Hello Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) - The gamma-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid present in EPO has been shown to reduce the symptoms of PMS -- if you like science >> read this <<

I have been using EPO for nearly a year and cannot rave about it enough. I noticed a dramatic difference in the first month, but I had to remain vigilant to take the dose daily. I started on a cheap chemist own brand, but have moved to swisse brand now as they have the added bonus of B6 (reduces water retention and bloating, increases oxygen flow to lady organs and aids in restoring estrogen levels to normal), as time has gone on if I accidentally miss a day now it doesn't all unravel.

The symptoms that EPO has eradicated for me are; mood swings and irritability, bloating, pain (completely gone!) and now menstruation is only a few days, not a whole week! Honestly the amazing benefits of taking a daily EPO dose has been a revolution for me and our household!

In addition to EPO I take fish oil tablets daily - these also help with PMS but I also take them for joint health otherwise when I run I fall apart!

I also take a probiotic and so should everyone, gut health is a majorly important factor in nutrition and mental health. Without the healthy flora in our guts nothing going in would be of any use, we need gut health for uptake of nutrients, plus acidophilus found in a probiotic tablet breaks down the metabolites of estrogen.

And lastly at night I take magnesium, deficiencies can cause PMS, but I take it for the benefits of cellular energy production, to support my central nervous system and muscle contraction and relaxation after running.

I have added in the additional supplements I am taking for full disclosure, but I began just taking EPO (and I've always taken a probiotic), it was only when I started running that I needed to up the ante a little. The results on EPO alone have been OUTSTANDING. I mean, this stuff should be taught to all young girls at school, because it works and because it can save them years of torture!

Now of course, PMS is a syndrome with many causes and the solution isn't a one size fit for all. I will write more on this topic as I think its really important and there is so much more to know, experimenting with diet and supplementation will enable you to find what best suits your body and gives optimum relief from your particular symptoms. But if you have PMS give EPO a go, and let me know what works for you.

Love, J x