Have you ever wondered how it is to spend your days and weeks in pain, knowing that more pain will come in the weeks ahead? For years. Even young people struggle with pain; not all chronic pain is from arthritis in the older age group. Young women especially are plagued by the pain of PMS.
As part of my menopause hormone practice, I see many younger women whose PMS symptoms are limiting their lives. Study courses put on hold, boyfriends leave for calmer waters, parents think they are on drugs or worse, only fellow sufferers (or should that be sister sufferers?) can understand. The OTC ( over the counter) medications only partially work, and then only once the pain has established itself.
Due to a complex coming together of multi-hormonal problems, the days before periods are often the worst. Once the cramps, migraines, bloating and misery break, then there’s the flooding. Days off work every month, no swimming, cancelled holidays, and there seems to be no end to it. In a final desperate effort they accept the prescription for the contraceptive pill. A least the up and down of hormones will be less and the bleeding will reduce so they may be some peace.
Have you been in this position? Ever noticed how there are trade-offs too? Lower libido, slight dumbing down of the brain, but you tell yourself at least you can get through a month without crisis. Enter the folklore….
Many different remedies exist that try to relieve these problems. Some work, some don’t, but of all that I have heard, and there sure are some weird ones, even to my ears, none have addressed the main problem properly: too much oestrogen.
Not a single woman in my practice that has PMS has a balanced level of oestrogen- progesterone. They all have a big amount of oestrogen and not enough progesterone to hold it down. This is important because the role of oestrogen in the young body is to grow things: it helps grow eggs, grow breasts, grow the lining of the womb and eventually grow a baby or two!
But even the most conservative medical practitioner knows that you cannot prescribe oestrogen to a woman with an intact uterus without progesterone to hold down the excessive growth of the endometrium (lining of the womb). Therefore there is a natural logic in partnering oestrogen with progesterone for lots of reasons, not just the endometrium.
By controlling the effects of excess oestrogen, we lower the risk of heavy bleeding from the uterus, and we find, hurray, that the misery falls away as though it had never been!!
But the levels have to be measured after the mid point of the cycle, and not while on the Pill. The Pill will skew the results badly so you have to be off the pill and half way or more through a normal (troublesome) cycle to get the right measurements. Day 21 is the traditional day for measuring, although some have a short or longer cycle and the day has to be adjusted accordingly.
Then the gift of nature: progesterone. It is not the only hormone to measure or to help, but it does do most of the work. Evening Primrose oil and vitamin B6 in large doses can help, as well of some of the anti-prostaglandins like Ponstan, but the main, MAIN thing is to get the right level of progesterone-oestrogen happening.
Then the Darling DHEA! What a Sweetheart that is for the tired and weary! More next time!