One or two weeks before monthly menstruation, many women experience bouts of crying, cravings for sweets, irritability, mood swings and outbursts of anger. These symptoms characterize the condition known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Other symptoms include anxiety, depression, abdominal bloating, swelling of hands and fingers, breast pain and tenderness, fatigue, lack of energy, headache, back ache, joint and muscle aches, constipation, diarrhoea and urinary tract infection.
The cause for these symptoms may stem from an imbalance of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone during the second half of the menstruation cycle; after ovulation. Too much oestrogen, along with too little progesterone, limits the production of the brain chemical that control mood and pain. The imbalances also promote increased levels of the hormone prolactin, which results in breast tenderness.
A combination of supplements can relieve PMS symptoms. Vitamin B6 assists the liver in processing oestrogen, increases progesterone levels and enables the brain to make serotonin. Caution should be taken when vitamin B6 is used, as long term use of high dosages has been linked to nerve damage. When taking vitamin B6, take it in combination with the other B vitamins such as in a vitamin B complex. Evening primrose oil contains essential fatty acids that may help to ease breast tenderness and control carbohydrate cravings. Magnesium has been found to be low in women who suffer with PMS and it may be beneficial in supplementing this mineral. When taking magnesium, take it in combination with calcium.
Adding extra fiber to your diet may also help to lower oestrogen levels by binding to the hormone. Eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.