To Avoid PMS Naturally, First Look At Your Diet
by Patsy Hamilton
alternatives to PMS medication.
Because research has shown that Japanese women suffer from significantly less
moderate to severe PMS symptoms, some experts believe that trying to duplicate
the typical Japanese diet could help American women avoid PMS symptoms. The
modern Japanese diet does not differ from the American diet as much as it did at one
time, but the traditional Japanese diet was quite different.
Buddhism is one of the primary religions in Japan and Buddhists are forbidden to eat
poultry, beef, pork or any creature that walks on four legs. Thus, the traditional
Japanese diet consists primarily of fish, fruits, grains and vegetables. Cruciferous
vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and
others) are believed to be particularly beneficial, because they have some effect on
There is no clear evidence that duplicating this type of diet can help women avoid
PMS. The research was done recently. Many of the women may not have eaten the
traditional Japanese diet. Researchers concluded that the difference in PMS
symptoms could be related to ethnicities or genetics. As many as 95% of the
women still suffered from mild PMS symptoms, a number equivalent to or higher
than the percentage of western women hoping to avoid PMS. Another conclusion
made by the researchers in this study was that the available PMS medication and
treatment for moderate to severe symptoms in Japanese women was not
But, dietary changes could help women avoid PMS, particularly when the diet is high
in meat and low in plant foods. Phytoestrogens are plant components that have an
estrogen like effect on the body. Estrogen levels are particularly low in the week or
two immediately preceding menstruation. Some researchers have compared the
symptoms of PMS to withdrawal, the symptoms experienced by persons recovering
from the use of an addictive substance. This is the reason that some doctors
prescribe a PMS medication that contains synthetic hormones.
Even birth control pills are sometimes used as a PMS medication, because they
contain synthetic hormones that prevent ovulation and keep hormonal levels
relatively stable throughout the month. The thinking being that no change in
hormonal levels could mean no withdrawal symptoms. This treatment works for
some women, but not for others. The medical community has known for quite some
time that many women stop using birth control pills within the first three months.
Recent studies looking for a reason found that one was sexual dysfunction. And since
the use of synthetic hormones is believed to increase the risk of some forms of
cancer, many women look for alternatives. Phytoestrogens are an alternative to
synthetic hormones that may help women avoid PMS.
Soy isoflavones are one form of phytoestrogen. Soy is becoming a popular meat
substitute. It seems that the amount of meat that Americans typically eat may be
causing many health problems; cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and possibly
PMS symptoms. Soy isoflavones can also be found in some dietary supplements.
Another good source of phytoestrogens is red clover, which is not typically eaten by
humans, but is used in herbal supplements and can be purchased, in a dried form to
use for tea. Red clover was used historically by Native American healers to treat
hormonal imbalances, relieve headaches and for many other ailments.
Many researchers believe that mood swings and other symptoms of PMS are caused
by low levels of serotonin circulating in the blood stream. Serotonin transmits signals
between nerves in the brain and body helping to regulate mood, sleep cycles and
appetite. Low levels of serotonin are found in people who suffer from depression,
anxiety, sleep disorders and eating disorders.
In order to help women avoid PMS symptoms, doctors prescribe certain
anti-depressants that prevent serotonin from breaking down so quickly. These are
called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors or SSRI and are probably the most
commonly prescribed PMS medication. Lower levels of estrogen may play a role in
the lower levels of serotonin. Laboratory studies have shown that estrogen prevents
the rapid breakdown of serotonin, as well.
Women who take this type of PMS medication may experience the following
symptoms: headache, sexual problems, drowsiness, pupil dilation leading to visual
problems and in some cases, for unknown reasons, an increase in depression and
anxiety. There are natural alternatives to this type of PMS medication, derived, once
again from plants.
In order for the body to produce serotonin, it needs something called a "precursor".
Tryptophan is the best known serotonin precursor and was a widely used dietary
supplement, until a tainted batch caused it to be removed from the market. It is
difficult to increase tryptophan in the diet, without a supplement. It is found in food,
but in very small amounts.
Tryptophan is available once again, but the safety of the manufacturing process is still
in question. The tainted batch led to severe illnesses causing death in some cases.
Manufacturers of dietary supplements in the United States are required by the
Federal Trade Commission to provide only products that are safe for human
consumption, but a mistake in the manufacturing process could happen again and by
the time someone found out, it could be too late.
5-hydroxytryptophan is manufactured differently and believed to be a safe alternative
to tryptophan and a safe alternative to a PMS medication. It is derived from the
seeds of an African plant and has been shown in clinical studies to be a promising
antidepressant, since continued use increases levels of serotonin. The side effects
associated with a prescription antidepressant PMS medication are not associated with
this natural antidepressant.
It appears that plant foods and herbs of all types can help us symptoms
and feel better all month, without the risks and side effects of other treatments. For
more information about products designed to help women avoid PMS naturally,
please visit the .
About The Author
Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before
becoming a freelance writer. Currently she write information articles focused on
women's health and fitness. Read more at
Attempts to avoid PMS symptoms or
at least reduce their severity include
focusing on diet, nutrition, and
exercise. Stress management may
also be helpful. Sometimes when
symptoms are moderate and most
of the time when they are severe,
doctors prescribe a PMS medication,
usually an antidepressant or a
synthetic hormone. However, studies
have shown that these are largely
ineffective or undesirable due to side
effects and risks associated with their
use. Dietary supplements containing
soy isoflavones and certain other
herbs and botanicals can be effective
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|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program.
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