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A Guide to Managing Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) with Nutrition

Understanding Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Its Impact on Women's Health

Premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as PMS, affects a significant number of women worldwide. In the UK alone, up to 90% of reproductive-age women experience PMS symptoms, with 30% enduring severe and often debilitating effects.

From mood swings to bloating, fatigue to acne, backaches to tender breasts, the list of symptoms can be extensive and overwhelming for many women.

Nutrition Strategies to Support & Reduce PMS Symptoms Naturally

Fortunately, there are nutrition tips that can help ease PMS symptoms.

Studies have shown us that keeping meals small, balanced, and frequent, with a focus on complex carbohydrates, can increase serotonin levels and positively impact mood. Incorporating sources of calcium, vitamin D, and iron into your diet is also crucial for managing PMS symptoms like fatigue and mood swings.

Diets with low levels of calcium and vitamin have been associated with increased PMS and iron is needed for energy & to replace blood loss during the period phase of the cycle. Whilst vitamin d is recommended as a supplement (all of us should be supplementing this during the winter months - some should be supplementing all year round), I recommend a food first approach with iron, unless advised otherwise. You can pair iron rich foods with vitamin c rich foods for optimised absorption.

Additionally, herbal remedies like Vitex agnus-castus have shown promise in controlling PMS-associated mood swings and irritability.

Key Nutrients for Managing Menstrual Health and Well-being

Calcium and vitamin D play essential roles in maintaining overall health, but they're particularly important for women experiencing PMS. Low levels of these nutrients can exacerbate symptoms, so it's crucial to include dairy, fortified vegan alternatives, green leafy vegetables, and other sources in your diet.

Likewise, iron-rich foods such as eggs, beans, pulses, and lean meats can help combat fatigue associated with PMS.

Herbal Remedies and Supplements for PMS Relief: What Works?

While there's limited evidence for supplements like magnesium, vitamin B6, and isoflavones in treating PMS, herbal remedies like Vitex agnus-castus show promise in managing symptoms. Additionally, emerging research suggests that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, may offer relief from PMS symptoms. However, more studies are needed to confirm its efficacy fully.

Seeking and Finding Professional Support: Empowering Women to Manage Menstrual Health

It's essential for women experiencing severe PMS symptoms to seek support from healthcare professionals. If PMS is significantly impacting your life, don't hesitate to reach out to your GP for guidance and support.

Remember, you should never feel like you have to "just live with it." There are options available, and seeking a second or even third opinion is always an empowering choice.

In conclusion, managing PMS symptoms through nutrition and lifestyle changes can significantly improve the quality of life for women.

By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine and seeking professional support when needed, you can take control of your menstrual health and well-being.

If you're looking for personalised nutrition advice, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with me, a qualified nutritionist who specialises in women's health.

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