It’s a typical day. Nothing out of the ordinary. But for whatever reason, you’re finding everything and everyone around you annoying. On top of that, your pants are too tight. So you step on the scale just to find out that you weigh 5 pounds more than you did two days ago. After a few choice words, you stomp into the kitchen and swallow down whatever chocolate-covered carb you can find, then storm off to take on the day like a mad hornet.
Are you having a bad day, or are you suffering from the symptoms of PMS?
While it’s estimated that 85% of women experience one or more symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), if you’re like most women, you may not know that your diet can have a direct affect on your symptoms. From your irritable mood to your unexplainable weight gain, PMS symptoms can be worsened by what, when, and how much you eat.
The Negative Effects of Dietary Stress
There are many evils associated with fast food, one of which is the dietary stress it puts on your body. Out of all the stressors in our lives, dietary stress is the one we have the most control over. When we get pressed for time or forget to plan ahead, we have a tendency to reach for fast food to satisfy our cravings. But these quick fixes can have drastic effects on our bodies over the long term.
From the donut you down with your coffee for breakfast to the cheeseburger and fries you grab for lunch, foods such as these starve your body of the nutrients it needs to keep your vital organ systems functioning at peak performance. The same is true when you skip meals, eat at the wrong times of the day, and overeat.
These unhealthy dietary habits can put a lot of stress on your body. And anytime your body becomes stressed, it produces the stress hormone called cortisol. Prolonged changes in cortisol eventually affect your body’s stress glands (adrenals). This can eventually lead to an imbalance in your adrenals or adrenal fatigue.
Five Female Hormone Imbalances
Once the adrenals are out of balance, they have no choice but to pull the female hormones out of balance. This is because the building blocks that would normally be used to make estrogen and progesterone are stolen to make more cortisol. From there, other hormones such as testosterone are usually the next to go, followed by thyroid imbalance.
There are five types of female hormone imbalances, many of which can begin with the dietary stress you put on your body. These five hormone imbalances are:
1. Progesterone Deficiency (Low P): This is the most common hormone issue in women of all ages. Symptoms can include:
- Cyclical headaches
- Unexplained weight gain
2. Estrogen deficiency (Low E): Most common in menopausal women. Symptoms can include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Memory problems
- Lethargic Depression
3. Excess estrogen (High E): Increased estrogen levels are common in women who are on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or who have increased toxin exposure. Common symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Rapid weight gain
- Puffiness & bloating
- Anxious depression
- Migraine headaches
- Gall bladder problems
4. Estrogen dominance: Even when estrogen levels run on the low side, estrogen dominance can occur when progesterone levels are even lower. Symptoms of excess estrogen include a combination of Low P and Low E symptoms. These mixed symptoms can make it difficult to determine if you have a hormonal imbalance—this makes getting tested very important!
5. Excess androgens or testosterone (High T): Too much testosterone can present as a challenge to the body in terms of balancing it with the female hormones. Increased testosterone levels are often the result of a diet that’s too high in sugar and carbs. Common symptoms include:
- Excess hair on the face & arms
- Low blood sugar – hypoglycemia
- PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Thinning hair on the head
While adrenal fatigue is a common cause of hormone imbalance, it’s important to note that adrenal fatigue by itself can cause PMS. But when you couple adrenal imbalance with female hormone imbalance, PMS can get UGLY.
How to Correct Hormone Imbalances and Lessen the Effects of PMS
If you find yourself raging with PMS symptoms every month, the first thing you need to do is get tested. This is the only way to know exactly what’s really going on inside your body.
One of the easiest ways to figure out if your hormones are out of balance is to complete a simple hormone screening questionnaire. If your results suggest a hormonal imbalance, then the next step is to undergo saliva lab testing, which can be easily performed in the comfort of your own home. The saliva lab test allows us to see exactly where the imbalance is. Once we understand the imbalances present in your body, I can design a recovery program tailored just for you and your body.
PMS isn’t just about what’s happening today, this week or this month. It’s a culmination of stress, including dietary stress, that expresses itself as an imbalance. To learn more about how you can lessen the effects of your PMS symptoms, contact Dr. Heather today.