Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional symptoms that occur before your menstrual period begins. It is a complex disorder affecting millions of women.
WHAT IS PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome is the recurrence of certain symptoms before menstruation with complete absence of symptoms after menstruation.
These symptoms should not be present for more than fourteen days prior to menstruation, as this is the number of days from ovulation until menstruation, and they must be noted for a minimum of two cycles. The complete absence of symptoms after menstruation should be at least seven days. It is this absence of symptoms after menstruation that makes the diagnosis of PMS complete.
The duration of PMS varies enormously. It may be a black depression that lasts fourteen days, to migraines that last a day or two, to an epileptic seizure that may last only a few minutes. Symptoms are always at their worst immediately prior to menstruation as this is the time when progesterone is most required.
Although the average menstrual cycle is considered to be 28 days, PMS treatment must take the length of the individual’s menstrual cycle into consideration.
It is important to note that PMS can occur in a cycle when ovulation does not take place as well as in normal ovulatory cycles. PMS may also recurr after recovery from the trauma of hysterectomy, with or without removal of both ovaries.
PMS is universally recognised and is treated in many and varied ways from aspirin to antidepressants, with symptoms both physical and psychological. With the advent of molecular microbiology and the discovery of progesterone receptors, a whole new protocol for the treatment of PMS has evolved. With this advanced medical knowledge and the acceptance of these receptors, treatment should be aimed at ensuring their maximum function. To do this effectively a three pronged approach is required. By this we mean that lifestyle adaptations may be required – stress, if present must be relieved, the blood sugar level must be maintained, and finally the appropriate progesterone therapy must be applied.
- Establish a full hormonal medical background (eg. ability to tolerate the pill)
- Keep a menstrual chart for at least two months, as the timing of the symptoms is essential.
- It is essential to maintain blood sugar levels.
- Consider the patient’s normal diet (weekdays and weekends)
- Check the BMI and gauge fluid retention.
Consider the quality and duration of sleep.
The Three Hourly Starch Diet
If there is a drop in blood sugar, progesterone receptors cannot bind to or transport progesterone. Thus even if your serum progesterone levels are normal, progesterone deficit symptoms will be evident.
As blood sugar levels fall, adrenaline is released which causes sugar to be transported from within the cells to the bloodstream. As this sugar goes into the blood it is replaced by water. This in turn causes fluid retention and bloating and subsequent weight gain.
To make the situation even worse, consider the effects of this adrenaline in the blood. Adrenaline is the hormone that causes the “fight, flight or fright” response- the emotions that are exacerbated by PMS.
It has also been established that progesterone levels drop after a large meal, thus women with PMS should eat smaller meals more frequently. This is why the three hourly starch diet has been established. If it is not followed, buckets of progesterone will not help.
Starchy foods are the ones containing wheat, potatoes, oats, rice, rye and corn. The starch diet does not mean that you stop eating healthy, varied and nutritious food. It simply means that you modify it by adding starchy snacks every three hours, eat within an hour of going to bed and within an hour after rising. By doing this your main meals will be reduced as your hunger will be less and many people on this diet actually lose weight.
It will take seven days to feel the benefits of this diet and another seven if you break it by going for long periods without eating. Often it has been found that by simply following this diet PMS symptoms disappear.
Treatment of PMS using Progesterone