I read recently that over 90% of women in the US report symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their lives.  That’s a staggering statistic.  

Universal though PMS may be, it is not experienced by every woman in the same way.  Far from it.  For some it’s experienced as incapacitating pain from headaches or cramping, while for others it’s more of an inconvenience, with perhaps a single day of loose bowels and moderately heavy menstrual flow.  

It’s most difficult for the women who experience devastating mood fluctuations.  These uncontrollable surges of emotion can stress relationships to the breaking point.  It’s not just their intimate partners that can be affected, but their families and work colleagues as well.  

It may seem surprising, but severity is not the key factor in helping women navigate PMS.  There are four main subtypes of PMS.  Which one you experience can help determine what strategy is going to be the most useful.

The four PMS subtypes are primarily characterized by:

Anxiety
– Blood sugar imbalances & deficiencies in zinc & B6 are common
– Histamine reactions drive irritability & anxiety

Cravings
– Binge eating and sugar cravings are common

Depression
– Brain fog, memory lapses and insomnia are frequent
– Zinc, magnesium and B6 deficiencies are common 

Bloating (hyper-hydration)
– Bloating & fluid retention can be significant
– Histamine levels may be unbalanced

Of course, there can be variations within these subtypes.  Your own history is the best guide as to what combination of nutrition and herbal support will be most effective for you. 

Many of the tools in the herbal armory are what I like to call “multi-taskers”, because they have more than one beneficial effect.  Schisandra, black cumin seed, cinnamon, chaste tree and black cohosh are all valuable potential tools in calming PMS, along with the sometimes over-used wild yam.  

Just like one size, one herb does NOT fit all!  If you or someone you know would like some help navigating that time of the month, please reach out for a complimentary 15 minute consult.  Time spent suffering is not the best use of your time!

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