Friday, January 18th, 2008
I have received many emails from women suffering from PMS. So this is for you and the countless others who suffer monthly ups and downs and inside outs. I go into greater detail in my book but here it is in a nutshell.
PMS is very treatable. I like the Chinese take on PMS. It is “stuck liver “ energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”). The liver, is where our hormones get broken down. Understand the liver and you will understand how to feel good. According to Chinese Medicine, anything that helps the liver improves PMS and anything that is bad for the liver worsens it. So, alcohol, dairy and caffeine are not good for PMS. Herbs that help the liver, like milk thistle, the herbal combination lipotropic complex and Chinese blends that move the liver, help PMS very well.
I treat PMS with liver herbs- either Chinese blends or lipotropic complex. Initially, take these herbs 2-3 times each day for the entire month, and as you improve, use them only from the midcycle onward. In addition, stop caffeine (except green tea- which does not stagnate the liver much), alcohol, and dairy. Okay, maybe you can’t stop. Occasional use is fine- but avoiding them really will help.
Chinese medicine also connects emotions to our organs. Guess what emotion is associated with our liver ? The Chinese call it “smoldering anger.” I love that they distinguish between various forms of anger. We women are prone to the smoldering type (men on the other hand are prone to the explosive type). So, in addition to herbs and diet, look at what you hate about your life and try to change it. If you can’t or won’t, try the Chinese herbal formulas, “End Witchiness” (for irritability) or “End Monthly Blues” (for depressive symptoms) . They work well and I think all women should have a bottle of these on hand.
In addition, I divide PMS into 2 parts: Young PMS, and Older PMS.
Young PMS affects women under 35. Most have OK levels of progesterone. So PMS in their case is usually due primarily to “stuck liver.” Sometime there is stress so that their ovulation is off and they may not produce enough progesterone. Sometimes there is a thyroid issue so that progesterone is not being made or not working well. But, because most young PMS is a liver issue, it usually improves with liver herbs, improved diet (less dairy, alcohol and caffeine) and regular exercise (another way to improve liver “flow” according to Chinese sages). So if you are under 35, take herbs, lay low on caffeine and dairy, and exercise. If this isn’t doing it ask your doctor to check a progesterone level and your thyroid function.
Older PMS, affects women over 35. They are most likely in need of better progesterone and estrogen balance. You can have your doctor measure a progesterone level when it is peaking, on days 19 to 21 in your cycle. Your level should be greater than 6ng/ml (your level needs to around 11 to get pregnant). If progesterone is low ask to use bioidentical natural progesterone (on days 15 to 25) or you can try using Vitex, a herb that improves progesterone levels. Liver herbs, diet changes and exercise also help.
If you are having PMS 24/7, before and after your cycle, you are probably low in progesterone and estradiol. So check an estradiol level- it should be greater than 60 pcg/ml. If progesterone and /or estradiol are low- support them with bioidentical hormones. Use Estradiol on days 1 to 25 and add in progesterone on days 15 to 25.