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{3} august 16, 2009

The GP & the naturopath PMS AFFECTS UP TO 90 PER CENT of women for anything from a few days to a few weeks before the commencement of menstruation. The severity of symptoms varies widely, as does the nature of symptoms, with more than 150 symptoms recognised. Common symptoms include emotional changes such as irritability, anxiety, mood swings, aggression, depression, poor concentration and low THE DOCTOR libido. Physical symptoms include bloating, fatigue, Dr Cindy Pan sleep disturbance, headaches, breast soreness, exacerbation of acne, clumsiness and craving sweets. For those for whom symptoms are mild, no treatment may be required. For those who suffer more intense symptoms, there are several options that may help. Work with your doctor to tailor an approach that suits you. Simple measures such as a tailored exercise program, quitting smoking, cutting down on excessive caffeine, alcohol or salt intake and optimising your sleep routine can help. Work on ways to manage stress and try to schedule stressful activities around your premenstrual period. Relaxation therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy may also be beneficial. Your doctor can discuss with you the pros and cons of supplements such as krill oil, evening primrose oil, vitamin B6 and E, calcium, magnesium and the herbal extract chasteberry. For some women, the contraceptive pill and other hormonal supplements may help to ease symptoms, as may diuretics, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatory medication.

Dr Cindy Pan has had over 10 years of clinical practice. Her books include Pandora’s Box: Lifting The Lid On Life’s Little Nasties (HarperCollins) and Playing Hard To Get (HarperCollins). She appears on television, lectures and speaks about all aspects of health, relationships and wellbeing.

Your HEALTH

TOPIC OF THE WEEK

PMS (premenstrual syndrome)

“THAT TIME OF THE MONTH” is a problem for many women. If you experience any of the 150 possible symptoms before the start of your period, you are not alone. Some studies suggest 90 per cent of women are in the same boat, with the severity varying. A hormone imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone is the most likely explanation. But no-one needs to E NATUROPATH experience any discomfort before they menstruate; TH PMS responds well to natural remedies. In my Leah Hechtman experience it takes at least two menstrual cycles to get a proper response to treatment, and four to six cycles to properly address the causes. In your diet, cut out all caffeine in any form, including chocolate, coffee and cola drinks. The xanthines in caffeine have an effect on oestrogen receptors in the breasts, contributing to breast tenderness and enlargement. Sugar, white flour and salt are notorious for aggravating fluid retention, causing swelling, bloating and mood changes. Just because you crave it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Nutrients such as B vitamins, especially B6, are especially beneficial in reducing symptoms such as moodiness, fluid retention, breast symptoms and acne. Magnesium can help with cramping, fatigue, anxiety, chocolate cravings and weight gain. Evening primrose oil helps regulate hormones through prostaglandin synthesis. The herb Vitex agnus castus (chasteberry) is the most researched anti-PMS wonder, but remember to take it for at least two cycles.

Leah Hechtman is a naturopath and fertility specialist. She is a lecturer, author, researcher and industry consultant and has her own clinical practice in Sydney, NSW. She specialises in fertility, reproductive and psychological health. For more information visit www.naturalhealthfertility.com

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Premenstrual_Syndrome_(PMS)  

THE NATUROPATH THE DOCTOR PMS AFFECTS UP TO 90 PER CENT “THAT TIME OF THE MONTH” TOPIC OF THE WEEK Dr Cindy Pan Leah Hechtman Leah Hechtman...

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