Stress + PMS
It's been roughly 6 weeks since we've all been stuck at home with the stress of the unknown looming over us, thanks to COVID-19. I've been having many conversations with patients + friends that all seem to come back to the same thing...
"I'm having the worst pms this month".
I'm not surprised at all. Stress will do that to the body. To put it as simply as I possible can...
Stress increases cortisol - cortisol lowers progesterone - low progesterone leads to high estrogen - high estrogen causes all those lovely PMS symptoms.
Breast Tenderness. Mood Changes (irritability, anxiety, depression). Cramps. Cravings. Bloating. Insomnia. Breakouts. Irregular cycles. Headaches. The list could go on.
In TCM, stress causes Liver Qi Stagnation + Heat, which lead to the same symptoms as listed above.
Here's a few simple tips on how to make your cycles a little more bearable during this time...
Veggies + Fibre
Increasing your veggie intake is one of the simplest ways to rid the body of excess estrogen, specifically cruciferous veggies, because they naturally contain a substance called DIM! Eating more veggies also increases your fibre intake which means you'll have better bowel movements (one of the ways your body gets rid of hormones!).
Try aiming for 1 cup of cruciferous veggies 3-5x a week.
This is probably my favourite mineral ever! It works wonders for stress, sleep, pms + cramps, and sadly, almost all of us are deficient in it. It can naturally be found in foods like avocados, dark chocolate, legumes, nuts, and grains, but can also be taken as a supplement. I recommend taking Magnesium Bisglycinate, as it has the most bioavailability.
*Always check with your health care provider before starting any new supplements*
The quickest + easiest way to get your qi moving! Which is why you feel so good after getting up and going for a walk outside. Daily movement, even in the smallest amount will make a big difference with your next cycle. To find out more about when and how you should be exercising for your cycle, I highly suggest reading the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti, where she goes over cycle syncing in detail for optimal hormone balance!
Oh bitters, how I love thee! My absolute favourite category of herbs will always be bitters - as many of my patients know (and hate!). The flavour associated with the liver is bitter and they work wonders for moving liver qi, eliminating excess hormones by increasing bile flow, and increasing stomach acid which helps us digest food properly, leaving us less bloated + gassy, and more able to absorb the nutrients from our food. Gentian is my go-to bitter herb, and trust me when I say that its bitter, like really bitter. If you want a more simple way to incorporate bitters into your routine, you can start by taking 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in 1/4 cup of water about 15 minutes before your 3 largest meals of the day.
Feel Your Emotions