Let me guess, you have suffered with mind numbing cramps, migraines etc. all your life and so did your mom and her mom before her, so you probably think “this is my normal, its genetic.” Well I am here to tell you just because you were genetically predisposed doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to change everything. PMS is common yes, but “normal” NO. Mild breast tenderness is a normal sign of healthy ovulation and some very mild cramping sensations are normal too, but the fact is if you are having to reach for the extra strength Tylenol every couple of hours during your period, something is up. The reasons could be numerous but I will lay out 3 common reasons why you get PMS.
This is perhaps the most common. In our modern world we are bombarded with Endocrine disrupting chemicals, which mimic our own estrogen but is 10X stronger, which can all be found in plastics and any conventional personal care or cleaning product. On top of that the standard American diet is loaded with dairy from cows who are pregnant year round and whose milk has 33% more estrogen than non-pregnant cows. In fact 60%-80% of excess estrogen comes from dairy in an American diet. Not only that but a high sugar diet can cause excess blood sugar which signals your body to store that sugar as fat cells in the liver, and a fatty liver compromises its ability to detox estrogens. Additionally if you have inadvertently put on a few pounds of fat from, well living in a modern age, those fat cells actually pumps estrogen into your body and the more fat you have the more estrogen is pumped into your body. Excess estrogen can cause a lot of gynecological issues. When you have excess estrogen because of blood sugar and fat, it can mess up your balance of estrogen to progesterone, making you estrogen dominant, causing irregular ovulation and affecting your fertility, plus you need enough progesterone to carry out a healthy pregnancy. Estrogen dominance is very common with PMS symptoms, especially when there isn’t enough progesterone to counterbalance the peaks and drops of estrogen. As I lay out the other two reasons, ultimately it ties back into why you may be estrogen dominant and therefore have PMS.
blocked detox pathways
How your body detoxes used up or fake estrogens is through your digestive system (liver/ large intestines), through your lymphatic system and through your largest organ: your skin through sweat. The liver breaks down excess hormones and estrogens into smaller particles then travel to your gallbladder and into your large intestine to bind to fiber and amino acids to be eliminated through your poop. However if your liver is overwhelmed with toxicity or weighed down with too much fat, it can’t properly detox all the estrogen your body needs to. Additionally If you are having constipation issues, then those toxins and hormones are not getting flushed out but in fact are getting reabsorbed back into your bloodstream. Lymphatic system is superhighway for clearing cellular waste through your lymph nodes, but if you are living a more sedentary life and not getting a lot of movement your lymphatic system isn’t getting much stimulation to help it clean things up. Finally through your sweat many toxins can be easily eliminated through your pores of your skin but again if you aren’t finding a way to sweat, either through exercise or in the sauna. This is sometimes the body’s last resort and it will try to push toxins out through stinky “stress” sweat, you know what I’m talking about. As you can see if the waste disposal department isn’t moving things along, there can be a buildup of toxins and excess hormones.
Inflammation just means your body is having an inflammatory response to a type of stressor. It can be emotional, but also toxicity, food sensitivities, gut infections, viruses and the list goes on. Basically when your body encounters a stressor it revs up your stress response. When your body reads stress it tells your adrenal glands to start to pump out the stress hormones needed to deal with the situation at hand. When living with chronic stress, either emotional or physical, your adrenal glands will steal the building blocks for other sex hormones like progesterone, called progesterone steal, which can lead to low levels of progesterone. When you have low levels of progesterone that balance of estrogen to progesterone is thrown off causing estrogen dominance. Thus estrogen dominance causing PMS. In fact a recent study found a linking correlation between high levels of inflammation markers and the amount and severity of PMS symptoms in young women. Basically the more inflammation in the body, the more PMS women experienced.
I get this is ALOT to take in, just remember knowledge is power. Just know that there are more options out there than just Midol and the Birth Control Pill.