The ABCs of PMS
“What do you mean there are different types of PMS? Isn’t it enough to have one kind??”
Everyone has heard of Premenstrual Syndrome, which is properly defined as a "Recurrent, cyclical set of physical and emotional symptoms that normally occur 7-14 days prior to the onset of a woman’s menses". PMS usually affects women between the ages of 25-35, but is not uncommon in women outside this age bracket.
However strange it may seem, did you there are in fact four different and distinct types of PMS, and that over 80% of women experience symptoms of at least one of them regularly? The categories include:
PMS A – ANXIETY – Nervous tension is a hallmark of this type of PMS, and the main symptoms include anxiety, irritability and mood swings. This type of PMS is usually caused by an estrogen-progesterone imbalance. PMS-A affects up to 70 % of the females.
PMS C – CARBOHYDRATE CRAVING – If you can’t get enough of breads, pastries, pasta, chocolate and “sweets”, and notice that your appetite is increased, you are likely suffering from PMS-C. You may also experience headaches, fatigue, dizziness, fainting and palpations. The cause of PMS-C is likely related to Nutrient or Vitamin deficiency, particularly Calcium and/or Magnesium.
PMS D – DEPRESSION - Feeling down, sad or are particularly weepy before your menstrual cycle are common symptoms of PMS-D. These feelings can be exacerbated by daily stressors (work, family difficulties, etc). Like PMS-A and C, this type of PMS is often attributed Hormone imbalances ( in this case having too much or too little of estrogen) and/or Vitamin deficiencies.
PMS – H – HYDRATION – Ankle and hand swelling, breast swelling and tenderness, water weight gain (up to 6 pounds/week!), and bloating are common symptoms of this type of PMS. The main contributor to PMS-H is Diet - eating too much salt and caffeine. Stress is also a big factor that only makes symptoms worse.
Most often, women experience more than one type of PMS at a time. Seeing your Naturopathic Doctor is a great way to find relief, as NDs are great at identifying what the imbalance in your body may be. Tests that your ND may use include saliva hormone testing and blood tests, and these are used to identify hormonal imbalances and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Naturopathic remedies that your ND may use include Botanical Medicine/Herbs, Supplementation, Dietary modification, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, and others. With appropriate treatment, the symptoms of PMS, no matter which type, can often be completely eliminated, allowing you to live more happily and comfortably throughout the whole month!
Dr Katarine Holewa, ND