Transcript EP 289 – Dr. Taz’s Take: 5 Ways to Ease PMS Naturally
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Dr. Taz: So here’s a thought that struck me when I heard that. I’m like you’ve got some of the best athletes in the world talking about how horrible and how painful their periods are, but you would hope that they had access to medical care, which helped to really get to the root of that issue. But I’m guessing, based on my experience and all the discussion and debate about women’s health issues and hormones, really getting to the root cause of anyone’s PMS is rarely discussed. Or typically, if you’ve got PMS, maybe you think you’re supposed to live with it or there’s not a solution or here, take this birth control pill or this anti-inflammatory to help you navigate it every month over and over again for God knows how many years.
Dr. Taz: Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way and I know how debilitating PMS can be. There’s so many signs and symptoms of PMS, premenstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, the most extreme of which we call PMDD, which is a premenstrual sort of dysthymic disorder, which is rarely where your mood gets affected. So there are all kinds of variations of PMS and PMS can be debilitating. Absolutely can affect how you function in the world, what your relationships are going to look like, how productive you’re going to be, how your brain works, how you’re going to perform so much more.
Dr. Taz: But here’s the thing. There really is the ability to get to the root cause. There is the ability to dig deeper and try to understand where it’s coming from. So whether it’s you, or a famous athlete, or somebody sitting across the globe, really trying to understand that is paramount. It’s so important. It can be a game changer when it comes to living your life.
Dr. Taz: So what I see with PMS and what I have noticed over and over again is that most PMS is caused by an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. That imbalance will drive the cramps, the bloating, the pain, the heaviness of the period, irregular periods, even the mood component of anxiety and depression, or wanting to sleep a lot or sleep too little. All of this is very much boiling down into this fundamental hormone imbalance. But here’s the tricky thing, the funny thing, the irony of it all is that we can correct that imbalance. There are many conditions that are associated with high estrogen, low progesterone, or high storage of estrogen and low progesterone. Everything from PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, which is again where you have overgrowth of that uterine tissue and it can clamp down on many different organs and all throughout your GI tract to perimenopause. There’s a lot of PMS with that.
Dr. Taz: Again, PMS can be associated with so many things. It can be associated with a birth control pill that doesn’t really suit you well. But again, if we can get to the root of understanding why estrogen’s not getting metabolized correctly or what we can do to metabolize progesterone a little bit better, or even to produce more, we can solve the issues around PMS. This is something that I’ve seen over and over again.
Dr. Taz: So where do we start? Well, it may be helpful to just get your hormone levels checked, honestly. Because if you’re certain you’re walking around, I saw an estradiol level the other day at 889. Guys, that’s way too high. We want that estrogen level to be down in the 200 or so. So if we’re walking around with super high estrogen levels, that’s something we need to know, because then you need to be on an estrogen detox protocol. A protocol with high fiber using herbs and supplements, things that help to break estrogen down like calcium glucarate or DIM, for example, all of which help to move estrogen from point A to point B.
Dr. Taz: Or instead when you look at your labs, you may be very low in progesterone. How do you build progesterone? Well, you need healthy fats. You need magnesium, you need the minerals, all of which help to build up progesterone levels in the body. Herbs like Vitex or chaste tree are well known to help supplement and to build progesterone levels. Now there are many Chinese herbs that have helped to balance this ratio very nicely. Dong quai for example, can help to manage this estrogen, progesterone fluctuation. Again, there’s other herbs too. I’m going to mess up the Chinese and say it wrong, but it’s (foreign language), I believe that also helps to balance the estrogen to progesterone ratios.
Dr. Taz: So again, there are very many ways to help to balance these ratios so you don’t experience the heavy, heavy symptoms of PMS. Understanding where your thyroid is. I think that’s another one. When a thyroid is hyper or hypothyroid will see a lot more PMS as well and an unhealthy gut and an unhealthy liver, well that also lends itself to PMS. So really paying attention to kind of what is going on with your digestive health, because it is in your gut and in your liver where we break hormones down effectively and we’re able to balance those ratios much better.
Dr. Taz: So that paints kind of this big picture of PMS and why it might be caused. Now, of course, I didn’t talk about the basics, right? Like not sleeping consistently, being dehydrated, being super stressed. All of those things, remember, shift the HPA or the hypothalamic pituitary axis and can again lend themselves to estrogen dominance, androgen dominance with low progesterone that then drives all this other stuff that we see with PMS.
Dr. Taz: So what can you do? Here’s the 101, here’s some simple steps. Well, first of all, get consistent sleep. We got to get that HPA or hypothalamic pituitary access nice and balanced. I think that’s a very important one. Next I would say make sure you’re hydrated, drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 80 ounces of water per day. If you can get to a hundred even better. I’ve been carrying this baby around and I have not been drinking enough water. I’ve only been getting through one, which is about 24 ounces. So in the last couple weeks I’ve been trying to really pump that and get that to where it needs to be.
Dr. Taz: I think the third is to really follow and focus on an anti-inflammatory diet, bringing down the consumption of a lot of dairy, a lot of processed foods, junk foods, high sugar foods, all of those will make PMS worse. Instead, getting a lot of plant-based foods, the healthy fats are so important, so critical. So getting in a tablespoon of olive oil every day and maybe just a teeny little bit of ghee or coconut oil a day to stabilize the gut, but also to help stabilize the hormone access, I think is so important. So trying to get those healthy fats in is a great dietary strategy.
Dr. Taz: Then in addition to that, if you want to start to add a few things to help with PMS, again, you want to consult your doctor on a lot of these things, but magnesium I think is something that everyone should be on. Around 200 milligrams or so nightly. It helps to ease the symptoms of PMS and even the menstrual migraines that many people get and pair that with a B vitamin, maybe a good B complex and that also helps to kind of minimize some of these symptoms of PMS. So water, lots of hydration, consistent sleep, making sure that you’re eating an anti-inflammatory diet, more plant-based foods, and high fiber foods. Getting in some of the supplements like a B vitamin and magnesium. You can even venture into the herbal world and add in things like chaste tree to boost that progesterone level up. For sure.
Dr. Taz: All of those are great strategies. I would add to that maybe remember to exercise, move consistently. We know that consistent movement will help as well with PMS symptoms and acupuncture. One of my favorites. Doing one of the modalities from Eastern medicine that, again, are forcing the nervous system to calm down a little bit and directly balancing hormones by balancing the HPA access. These are all great strategies to help you manage PMS naturally.
Dr. Taz: Now, a lot on PMS within my website, lots of resources on hormones in general. Check it out at DRTAZ.com. Remember, if you like this episode of the Super Women Wellness, don’t forget to rate and review it and share it with your friends. I will see you guys next time.