Irritability, weepiness. fatigue, breast tenderness, cramping and bloating are among several common symptoms experienced by women in the days (or weeks) before their period. Some women find themselves turning to birth control pills, prescriptions for pain, or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals for relief through this difficult time. While these solutions do offer symptom control, they don’t get at the root of the underlying concern.
Most PMS symptoms are due to the hormonal changes that occur throughout the month. Near the end of the menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. If you are stressed, overworked, or short on sleep, your body uses more cortisol (the hormone that helps you stay awake or cope with stress). The extra need for cortisol can cause progesterone levels to drop further. If the fluctuating hormone levels cause discomfort, it suggests that an underlying imbalance exists.
One of the core philosophies of naturopathic medicine is to identify and treat the root cause. That’s why the naturopathic doctors (NDs) at Healing Path offer recommendations that restore hormonal harmony, rather than providing only symptom control. For example, adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha and Vitex are used to calm the mind, restore hormone balance, and support the body as it copes with stress. These adaptogens can be combined with herbs or supplements that support the liver in its role of processing hormones. Nutritional recommendations can be made to address dietary need or deficiencies that may be contributing to your symptoms. Meanwhile, acupuncture may be used to promote the smooth flow of Qi, relieving the body of blockages that can cause premenstrual irritability, breast tenderness or bloating.
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