The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.

Premenstrual Syndrome-

Premenstrual syndrome occurs in many women. Exhibits a wide variety of symptoms including water retention, weight gain, breast discomfort, bloating, irritability, mood swings, headaches, food cravings, fatigue, acne, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Some research has pointed to an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone as a cause, but there are other contributing factors such as excess consumption of meat and dairy, caffeine and refined sugar as well as vitamin deficiencies especially B6, B12, C and E, mineral deficiencies especially magnesium and selenium, excess weight and inadequate exposure to natural light. These factors are all involved with the production and metabolism of estrogen and progesterone. Improved diet, vitamin and mineral supplements, exercise and light exposure have all been shown to improve the symptoms of PMS. Since PMS can be aggravated by hypothyroidism, if you have other symptoms of this condition, such as constipation, feeling cold, fatigue, dry hair and skin, you should have your thyroid hormone levels checked.

Some of the PMS symptoms, especially the emotional ones, may be a normal result of the cycling of hormones. Some practitioners have suggested that women are just more in touch with feelings and emotions premenstrually and more likely to express themselves at that time. For the first part of your cycle you may be quite content with cleaning up after everyone else in your home, but premenstrually you may realize it is unfair for others not to participate equally in the housework. So the question becomes one of whose problem this is- the woman who is premenstrual or the people in her life who are not doing their fair share. Certainly, it makes sense to relieve uncomfortable symptoms, but it is also important to look at those things in your life that are not working and make some changes.

Vitex- an herb which has been studied in Europe and is prescribed there for PMS. In one large study over 90% of the women had complete relief of their symptoms. Only 2% noted side effects, the most common being nausea. It usually takes 3-4 menstrual cycles to notice the most benefit, sometimes there is a worsening of symptoms the first cycle and bleeding may be increased somewhat.
Dosage- Liquid extract- 1/2 teaspoon each morning
Dry herb in capsules- 500 mg each morning

Dandelion- a very good nutritive herb with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Dandelion improves liver function, helping to metabolize hormones. It is diuretic and so is helpful for the PMS symptoms of bloating and water retention.
Dosage-Liquid extract- 1 teaspoon three times a day
Dry herb in capsules- 1000 mg three times a day

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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