Carol Tanksley M.D
Hormones & the Mind Premenstrual Syndrome
Hormones and mental health are no laughing matter. Some women’s mental and emotional makeup is more sensitive to periodic changes in hormones than that of others. What would be only a minor hiccup in life for some becomes an enormous burden for other women.
Most women with ovulatory menstrual cycles have at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms may be physical, such as bloating, water retention, acne, trouble sleeping, food cravings, backache, headache, muscle aches, or breast pain. Symptoms may also be mental, such as trouble concentrating, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, depression, crying spells, or being easily angered.
No blood test can make a diagnosis of PMS. Remember, it’s not the level of any given hormone that triggers the symptoms; it’s the changes in those hormones from day to day. We don’t know why some women have more severe symptoms than others as a result of these fluctuations. To qualify as PMS or its more severe cousins, the symptoms must only begin after ovulation and resolve once the next menstrual period has started.
Choose to be in charge. Follow these steps to help regulate and master your hormones.
- Supplement Try a multivitamin or phytonutrient supplement. Remember – no supplement is completely risk free. For premenstrual syndrome – calcium/magnesium supplement or evening primrose oil (1500 mg/day). For post-partum depression – St. John’s wort (not while breastfeeding). For menopause brain – St. John’s wort if struggling with mood swings or depression, perhaps combined with black cohosh.
- Support your System Your body: move from processed foods to more unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Find out more about the phytonutrient supplement I use and recommend here. Your mind: your mind needs high quality mental food just as your body does. Look for books, email subscriptions, podcasts, or experiences that fill your mind with: encouragement, inspiration, challenge, refreshment, perspective, insight.
- Regular Physical Exercise Your goal: 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 times each week. Check out these heart-healthy exercise ideas especially for women.
Carol Tanksley M.D has practiced medicine for over 20 years as an OB-Gyn physician and Reproductive Endocrinologist, and brings you relevant, up-to-date medical advice. Get advice and have consultations with your own medical providers through the Direct Health app, a secure, HIPAA compliant platform — available for download on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Visit the Direct Health app today to add and interact with your own doctors.
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