Practitioners near you who treat pms

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in women. They usually develop between ovulation and menstruation. Then, symptoms ease when the period begins. They may completely disappear for up to 2 weeks, but then reappear again during ovulation.

Most women are familiar with the smorgasbord of PMS symptoms that visit each month. They may be mild or severe, and are usually a signal that your period will begin soon.

Mild PMS symptoms, like tiredness, can be annoying.

Severe PMS symptoms, like extreme irritability and fatigue, can disrupt a woman’s life. Sometimes, it relates to an undiagnosed health condition.

Premenstrual syndrome is a complicated subject. Even researchers are still scrambling to understand it, as there are many factors involved.

Current studies suggest that PMS relates to a complex interplay between:

Cyclic hormones – Estrogen and progesterone levels fall significantly after ovulation, if you’re not pregnant.

Brain chemicals – Ovulation tends to lower the neurotransmitters serotonin and gamma butyric acid (GABA). This can lead to mood swings, fatigue, tiredness, sleep problems and food cravings.

Natural therapists believe that a sluggish liver also contributes to premenstrual syndrome.

The liver handles processing excess estrogen. If it can’t do its job properly (for whatever reason), estrogen builds up in the body and contributes to PMS symptoms. More research is needed to clarify how much the liver contributes to PMS.

Approximately 3 out of 4 women experience premenstrual syndrome at some point in their life. Just because it’s super common, doesn’t mean it’s normal though.

If you have signs of PMS every month, especially if they’re severe, your body is telling you it has a hormone imbalance. Seeking PMS treatment that addresses the underlying cause is always the best choice.

Types of PMS

PMS treatments vary depending on the type of premenstrual syndrome you’re dealing with:

PMS-A (Anxiety)
  • Main symptoms: Anxiety, easily overwhelmed, sensitive to criticism, mood swings, short bleed time, period pain
  • Underlying imbalances: high estrogen to progesterone ratio, low serotonin, cortisol issues
PMS-D (Depression)
  • Main symptoms: Low mood, fatigue, confusion, longer bleed time
  • Underlying imbalances: underactive thyroid, low serotonin
PMS-H (Hydration/Water Retention)
  • Main symptoms: Bloating, breast tenderness/swelling, weight gain
  • Underlying imbalances: excess estrogen, high stress hormone levels (cortisol and aldosterone)
PMS-C (Cravings)
  • Main symptoms: Carbohydrate cravings, increased appetite, fatigue, headaches
  • Underlying imbalances: low serotonin, low cortisol
PMS-P (Pain)
  • Main symptoms: Period cramps that begin before bleeding
  • Underlying issue: high levels of prostaglandins (pro-inflammatory chemicals)
PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – an extreme form of premenstrual syndrome)
  • Main symptoms: extreme mood swings that negatively impact relationships, deep sadness, anger
  • Underlying issue: more research is needed, but it may relate to being hypersensitive to hormone changes

It’s important to remember that men usually learn about PMS from observing the women in their lives. This leaves many males wondering  ‘What does PMS stand for?’ and confused about why it makes some women more sleepy and grumpy than usual.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to tell your man that PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. And that you know it can be a challenging time, but you’re doing the best you can. (Being female can be tough, right!?)

Celebrities and PMS

If you struggle with premenstrual syndrome, it may help to know these celebrities have had a tough time with it too.

Chrissy Teigan, model and TV personality, isn’t afraid to share the truth about her cycle. She’s shared photos of hormonal acne breakouts and even wrote on social media:

“I am either pms’ing or on my period. nothing else. that is my cycle.”

Bridget Malcolm, a Victoria’s Secret model, revealed on Instagram that she suffers from PMDD. She spoke honestly about when she was at a photo shoot and her PMDD flared up:

“I was an anxious wreck, second guessing myself and terrified of the dark. It has been a hellish couple of weeks for my anxiety and general mental wellbeing.”

Signs and Symptoms

The main symptoms and signs of PMS include:

Physical: Fatigue, tiredness, poor sleep, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, acne, carbohydrate cravings, breast tenderness, sore nipples, water retention, period pain, headaches, night sweats, sore muscles

Emotional: Anxiety, depression, easily overwhelmed, irritable, sensitive to criticism, mood swings, deep sadness, poor concentration, decreased self esteem, weepiness.

Treatments for PMS

Premenstrual syndrome has no specific cure. However, PMS treatments can help to decrease symptoms and improve quality of life.

  • Medications – Hormone-based medications, such as the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), can make premenstrual syndrome easier to cope with. Drugs that support neurotransmitter levels can be used as a PMS treatment for anxiety, depression and severe irritability.
  • Aerobic Exercise – Studies show that 60-minutes of aerobic exercise, 3 times per week, can increase endorphin levels and decrease signs of PMS.
  • Stress Reduction – Minimising stress levels helps to regulate estrogen/progesterone balance and minimise pro-inflammatory chemicals.
  • Psychotherapy – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can help mood and anxiety disorders, which is why it can be useful for PMS and PMDD. 
  • Alternative Therapies – Some allied health professionals create natural PMS treatment plans. Speak with Naturopaths, Acupuncturists, Ayurveda Practitioners for help.

Causes of PMS

Science is still investigating all of the factors that contribute to PMS symptoms. However, these factors are known to play a role in the condition:

  • Stress: Long term stress, or experiencing high stress in the first part of your cycle, is a risk factor for PMS. Stress triggers the release of hormones that congest the liver, drain the adrenals, disrupt sleep, impair the gut/brain barrier and increase pro-inflammatory chemicals.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Having an inactive lifestyle that includes little exercise makes it difficult for blood, oxygen and nutrients to circulate around your body. This also contributes to constipation and generalised inflammation, which can make PMS worse.
  • Gut Issues: Diarrhoea, constipation, reflux and other digestive issues can lead to an unhappy gut microbiome. This can enhance inflammation and contribute to hormone imbalances. Conversely, high estrogen levels can cause PMS symptoms like bloating, mood swings and period cramps.
  • Poor Diet: Eating a diet high in sugar, salt, fat and/or processed foods increases the inflammation that causes pain and common PMS symptoms. 
  • Smoking, Caffeine, Alcohol: All of these substances contribute to inflammation, as well as nutrient deficiencies that can make PMS worse.
  • Obese or Underweight: Not maintaining a healthy weight makes you more susceptible to hormone imbalances and PMS.
  • Medical Conditions: Other medical conditions can contribute to PMS, e.g. liver disease, pituitary disorders, adrenal burnout, leaky gut syndrome, anxiety, depression.

What Works For PMS – Natural Options

Here are some natural, drug-free premenstrual syndrome treatments:

A Healthy Diet that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant proteins is best for dealing with PMS. This type of diet gives your body the nutrients and fibre it needs to support the liver, gut and hormones. Restricting dairy products, red meat and salty foods for 1-2 weeks before your period is also useful.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine to reduce PMS symptoms. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals recommends avoiding these substances as much as possible, as they alter estrogen, progesterone and cortisol levels.

Relaxation Techniques benefit your hormones by supporting gut health, sleep, stress levels, and mental health. Try massages, meditation, yoga, reflexology and other self-care appointments that bring you joy. It’s important to balance exercise with relaxation.

Acupuncture is a safe and effective PMS treatment. It stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that help you feel good and minimise pain.

Supplements can help with the gamut of PMS symptoms. The trick is finding the one that’s best suited to you. Chaste Tree Berry can help regulate estrogen/progesterone levels. Vitamin B6 can reduce irritability and mood swings. Magnesium supports neurotransmitters, gut health and prostaglandin status.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy may be useful if your PMS symptoms include anxiety, depression, other mood disorders or pain. Studies show it can help women deal with these issues, even though it isn’t the best option in every situation.

Find A Professional

The following health experts can help with PMS:

  • Acupuncturists
  • Naturopaths
  • Ayurveda Practitioners
  • Massage Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Reflexologists
  • Yoga Instructors
  • Meditation Teachers

Supporting Someone With PMS

Here’s how to support women with premenstrual syndrome:

  1. Patience. Women with PMS may react to situations in exaggerated ways before their period. If your friend is unexpectedly weepy or more irritable than usual, it’s best to respond with patience and understanding. This will help diffuse the situation.
  2. Champion. If your friend with PMS doesn’t exercise often, you’ll be championing success if you offer to do it with them. Having an exercise buddy, even if it’s just in the beginning, can improve commitment in the long term.
  3. Support. If extreme PMS symptoms are troubling your friend, gently suggest they seek help from a medical professional. This is particularly important if they have PMDD, as their mental health will be involved.



How long does PMS last before your period?

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can last up to 2 weeks before your period begins. Symptoms usually decline quickly once bleeding begins.


What does PMS stand for?

PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome.


What are 3 PMS treatments?

  1. Aerobic exercise for 60-minutes, 3 times per week
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine
  3. Supplements to support hormone balance, e.g. Chaste Tree, Vitamin B6, Magnesium

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