SYMPTOMSThere are over 150 symptoms linked to PMS, of which the most common include abdominal bloating, anxiety, acne, backache, breast swelling and tenderness, swollen feet, depression, cramps, food cravings, fainting spells, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, nervousness, impatience, drastic mood swings, angry outbursts.
Other symptoms include sluggishness, lethargy, delusions, indecisiveness, dizziness, constipation, hemorrhoids, skin eruptions, and migraines.
CAUSESPMS affects many women during the one to two weeks prior to the onset of menstruation. It affects one-third to one-half of all American women between the ages of 20 and 50. As many as 75% have the problem at one time or another. About 5% are incapacitated by it, and about a third report symptoms severe enough to interfere with their daily life.
Bearing children or being married seems to increase the likelihood. The problem is a major cause of divorce.
Hormonal imbalance is part of the PMS problem (see "Menstrual Disorders").
The liver regulates hormonal balance, by selectively filtering out of the blood and excreting unwanted excess hormones. One of these is estradiol, a type of estrogen which causes problems. If not eliminated, it can build up in the body.
Part of the hormonal imbalance problem is that there is too much estrogen in the body and not enough progesterone. Fluid retention is the result. This affects the circulation and impedes oxygen and nutrient flow to the brain and female organs.
Additional causative factors are mentioned below.
Constipation is a primary reason why the liver cannot get rid of excess estradiol. Eat natural foods with sufficient bulk. Avoid processed and junk foods.
Meals high in complex carbohydrates help one deal with stress. It is thought that they increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical which counteracts depression.
An inadequate supply of B complex vitamins is another factor causing PMS. B vitamins and magnesium help the liver excrete unwanted estrogen. Fried foods block the absorption of magnesium.
Eating chocolate, caffeine, sugar, and excess sodium are additional causative factors. Women who regularly consume caffeine are four times more likely to have severe PMS.
Red meat and dairy products help produce a hormonal imbalanceexactly the kind in PMS, excessive estrogen and inadequate progesterone.
Another factor is unstable blood sugar levels. This can be caused by hypoglycemia or simply poor eating habits. Either way, eat complex carbohydrates and avoid the sugar foods.
Food allergies are another related factor. Search out the offending foods and stop eating them (see "Allergies" and "Pulse Test").
It is important that you not eat foods which contain hormones! Many have been added to dairy products (via cows and chickens) and meat.
Obtain a full supply of vitamin/mineral supplements.
Adequate calcium intake during the monthly cycle is very important. Blood calcium drops 10 days before menstruation. A lack of it causes headaches, tension, nervousness, depression, insomnia.
Magnesium and vitamin D help in calcium absorption. Adequate stomach acid is also needed.
Do not use caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol.
Fast for 1-3 days on fruit and vegetable juices before the period onset, to reduce problems.
Regular outdoor exercise is important. Walk at least half a mile a day. This increases oxygen intake, which in turn aids in nutrient absorption and elimination of toxins.
Here are herbs which may help reduce the pain of cramps: rosemary, black haw, cramp bark, red raspberry, kava kava, and angelica.
Selenium is an antioxidant and helps prevent menstrual cramps.
Use warm sitz baths, heating pad, or hot water bottle for cramps. This draws the healing blood and relaxes muscles.
Herbs helpful in treating PMS include dong quai, false unicorn root, fennel seed, squaw vine, blessed thistle, and sarsaparilla root. They help balance the hormones.
Some women with PMS are deficient in melatonin.
Wild yam cream contains a natural form of the hormone, progesterone, and helps many women. Rub the cream into the skin on the chest, inner arms, thighs, and abdomen just after ovulation. The active ingredient is absorbed through the skin.
Vitamin E has been found useful in the treatment of PMS, with most improvement where benign breast disease was a major problem. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps prevent inflammatory reactions to dietary fats. It is possible that Vitamin A and zinc also aids in this function.
Vitamin B6 (50-150 mg daily, especially during the 10 days preceding menstruation, helps relieve premenstrual edema, swellings, and soreness.
Discuss the problem with your spouse. This will help him understand the situation.
Also see "Menstrual Disorders" and "Breast Discomfort."
ENCOURAGEMENTThe angels of God guard us every moment. Have we not reason to be thankful for the protection we are given? All through the day, thank God for His blessings.
SYMPTOMSDepression, tension, melancholia, breast tenderness, cramps, fainting, water retention, rapid heartbeat, and backache may occur.
CAUSESMenstruation is also called menarche. Women whose general health and resistance are good are less likely to have menstrual problems.
An irregular cycle often indicates the general state of a woman's health, and is usually the result of nutritional deficiencies or autointoxication caused by constipation, an organic malfunction, drugs, vitamin or mineral deficiency, and/or chemicals.
Amenorrhea: Absence or suppression of menstruation.
Dysmenorrhea: Painful or difficult menstruation.
Metrorrhagia: Bleeding between periods.
Oligomenorrhea: Infrequent or scanty menstruation.
Periods tend to stop in athletes and in women who drop below 20% body fat.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation):
Primary dysmenorrhea usually does not occur until several years after menstruation begins. The pain begins a few hours before or at the onset of bleeding, may last from a few hours to 1-2 days, and is generally worst the first day. At first, there is a scanty flow, which increases as the pain subsides.
Secondary dysmenorrhea may start 2-3 days before onset, with pain in the abdomen, small of back, and on down the legs. It is a more constant pain, but includes sharp cramps, and continues throughout the period. This type is often linked to a pelvic disorder (inflammation, uterine malposition, endometriosis, tumors, etc.), which needs to be eliminated in order to lessen or remove the pain.
Hormonal imbalance is usually involved (see "Premenstrual Syndrome").
The diet should contain an adequate, but not excessive, amount of high quality proteins, preferably from non-meat sources.
Eat complex carbohydrates (whole grains), to avoid blood sugar drops. This is important. But do not overeat on anything. Low blood sugar is common during menstruation.
Include B complex, especially B12 and B6; along with vitamins C and E. Take brewer's yeast, kelp, and essential fatty acids.
B vitamins, especially B6 and folic acid, help reduce some of the tensions associated with menstruation.
Deficiencies of essential fatty acids, together with cyclic hormonal patterns, produce the classic symptoms of fragile emotions, irritability, etc.
Take vitamin A as beta-carotene during the last 14 days of the cycle.
Iron is vital because of the loss of blood each month. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Beware of supplemental iron during pregnancy! Iron-rich sources include blackstrap molasses (best single source), apricots, and raisins. Iodine is also needed, when there is a blood loss. Eat kelp or dulse.
Calcium supplementation is very important, if you want to avoid painful cramps!
Cramping may be relieved by additional intake of calcium and niacin.
Manganese is needed for normal reproduction and the mammary glands, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
Vitamin B12 helps restore normal menstrual cycles.
Limiting salt and fluid intake a short time before menstrual onset may help reduce edema in the legs and elsewhere in the body.
Food allergies can be involved in painful menstruation. In one study, eight patients were freed of the problem when all foods they were allergic to were eliminated (see "Allergies" and "Pulse Test").
Allergenic foods most frequently listed were whey, milk, eggs, beef, chocolate, nuts, fish, beans, cauliflower, pepper, and cabbage.
Avoid overeating! This encourages abdominal congestion.
A low-salt diet helps relieve bloating and water retention.
Taking the birth control pill greatly upsets the entire hormonal system, and it does not recover, even after the pill is stopped for many months or years.
Problems with the pituitary, adrenals, or thyroid may produce amenorrhea, or abnormal bleeding cycles. Stress or the birth control pill can seriously affect the adrenals (which produce 20% of the total estrogen used by the body).
Extreme diets (strict fruitarianism, very low protein diets, or repeated strict weight loss regimens) can produce amenorrhea.
Poor body mechanics (poor posture) causes the female organs to move out of place, and this can affect menstruation. Proper posture tends to reduce cramping.
Those who have diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing tend to have no menstrual pain. Avoid belts and tight clothing about the waist.
Adequate exercise is also needed.
Avoiding constipation is very important.
Avoid overfatigue just prior to the period. Maintain a regular daily schedule throughout the month.
An excess of stress can also affect menstrual flow and attendant problems.
Sexual stimulation at that time of the month increases abdominal congestion.
If you are overweight, lose weight in order to reduce painful periods.
Using tobacco aggravates menstrual disorders. Smoking induces painful menstruation.
Take a daily hot sitz bath. If available, add chamomile or juniper needles to the water.
Or take two hot baths each day at the beginning of menstruation. This draws blood from the over-congested uterus to the skin.
A four-minute back massage to an area an inch to the right of the lumbar (small of the back) spine may bring relief from painful menstruation.
A hot sitz bath (105o-115o F.) with a hot footbath (110o-117o F.) for 3-10 minutes is often helpful.
Drink catnip tea each morning and evening during the period.
Helpful herbs include: yarrow and blue cohosh in menstrual difficulties; wormwood and pennyroyal, when there is painful menstruation; chamomile relieves menstrual spasms; peppermint tea eases the pain; desert tea (ephedra viridis), for delayed or difficult menstruation; life root, when there is suppressed menstruation; black cohosh when there is obstructed menstruation; garlic and motherwort, to promote menstrual flow; amaranth and lady's mantle, when there is excessive menstruation; blazing star, for low-ovarian function and lack of estrogen.
See "Premenstrual Syndrome" for much more information.
Also see "Lack of Menstruation" and "Painful Menstruation."
ENCOURAGEMENTAll heaven is interested in the work going on in this world, to prepare people to live forever in heaven. It is important that we cooperate with God by accepting Christ as our Saviour and, by faith in Him, obeying the Ten Commandments.
BASIC APPLICATIONSTonic Sitz Bath; cold Pelvic Pack; Graduated Baths, twice daily, for tonic purposes; short very cold Douche to lower spine, over stomach, and to inner surfaces of thighs; pelvic massage daily, and especially when period is due.
SUPPRESSED MENSTRUATIONShort Cold Douche to spine, thighs, and over stomach, daily or twice a day; Hot Footbath or Hot Blanket Pack during the interval between the periods; Hot Hip Pack; warm vaginal irrigation at 950-1000 F.
GENERAL METHODIt is very necessary to seek for the problem and not merely to "treat a malady." Apply such measures as may be required for relief of anemia, chlorosis, indigestion, or any other disturbance of the nutritive functions.
Also see "Menstrual Disorders."
BASICRest in bed during period.
WHEN DUE TO OVARIAN DISEASE (beginning before flow)Hot Hip and Leg Pack; Hot Blanket Pack; Fomentation over stomach; hot Pelvic Pack; Revulsive Sitz; hot Colonic, followed by hot Footbath if flow is checked; hot Douche at 990-1020 F.; very Hot Full Bath (1050-1100 F.) for 5-8 minutes.
WHEN DUE TO UTERINE DISEASE (beginning with, and accompanying, flow)Hot Hip Pack with Hot Footbath, followed by Cold Compress to area above stomach and inner surfaces of thighs for 30-40 seconds. For treatment between periods, see "Metritis, Chronic and Pelvic Congestion."
WHEN DUE TO INFLAMMATORY DISEASE OF APPENDAGESHot Enema, hot Fomentations, Hot Pelvic Pack, Hot Blanket Pack.
GENERAL METHODIn addition to the local measures for relief of pain which have been indicated above, it is in most cases necessary to combat some general disorder to which the local disease may be, more or less, directly related. See "Anemia," "Neurasthenia," "Hysteria." General tonic measures must be used between the menstrual periods. In chronic ovarian congestion, apply the stomach compress during the night; daily give a Revulsive Sitz Bath or Hot Pelvic Pack and the very hot vaginal irrigation, 1150-1200 F., for 15 minutes. In cases of deficient development, as in infantile uterus or nerve spasm of the uterine vessels, employ the Revulsive Sitz Bath, alternate genito-urinary douche, tonic sitz bath, pelvic and general massage. Surgical measures are often required for permanent relief, but a surprisingly large number of cases are resolvable without surgery; hence water therapies should be perseveringly tried before resorting to surgical procedures.
Also see "Menstrual Disorders."
SYMPTOMSHot flashes, insomnia, disturbances in calcium metabolism, irritability, mental instability, dizziness, backaches, headaches, bladder problems, dryness and aging of the skin, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Some have almost no symptoms at all.
CAUSESMenopause is the cessation of ovarian function, the stopping of the menstrual cycle, and the end of reproductive years. This is caused by glandular changes, and is a natural event in a woman's life; this usually occurs between 42 and 55. The average age is about 50, and the transition is generally up to 5 years.
There tends to be a hormone starvation at that time, since menopause usually results from a decreased production of the female sex hormones.
The lessened supply of estrogen increases the possibility of cardiovascular disease, vaginal atrophy, and osteoporosis.
It is popular to take estrogen supplements, to prevent or postpone menopausal symptoms. But keep in mind that there is an increased risk of cancer when this is done.
If estrogen (hormone replacement) therapy is begun, take vitamin E several hours earlier or later, not at the same time.
In addition, generous amounts of vitamins B6, C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, PABA, and B12 will make the estrogen therapy more effective.
Oral estrogens should not be accompanied by progesterone because they increase the cancer induction risk.
Keep in mind that synthetic, not natural, estrogens are given in hormone replacement therapy. These tend to accumulate in the body, and also can cause metabolic changes in the liver. This can lead to high blood pressure, fluid retention, and blood clots. But natural estrogens are available; one is equine estrogen, and is extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. But it is very powerful, and may also cause changes in the liver. Do not use it if you are obese, smoke, or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or varicose veins.
The safest natural estrogens are estropipate (Ogen) and estradiol (Estrace, Emcyt, and Estraderm); these are all metabolized more easily by your body. Be sure and use the smallest possible dose, and take it only every other day.
It is coming to be recognized that it is often more important to replace the lessened progesterone than the lessened estrogen. Natural progesterone creams (from the herb, wild yam) provide a simplified way to do this. Many, many, have been helped by doing this!
When the menopause proceeds normally, the adrenals and liver increase their output of female hormones and make up the difference from the lost ovarian function.
Proper diet, nutritional supplements, exercise, and adequate rest can minimize the effects of menopause.
TREATMENTVitamin E (up to 1,200 IU daily) is especially important at this time.
Vitamin C, working with bioflavonoids, maintains capillary strength.
The B complex vitamins, especially pantothenic acid and PABA, relieve nervous irritability.
It is very important that sufficient calcium be taken, to maintain a proper calcium-phosphorous balance. Not doing so can also result in a broken hip later.
An increase in protein and reduction in carbohydrates is recommended at this time.
Maintain an adequate intake of vitamin D, iron, and magnesium.
Eliminate all processed, refined, and junk foods. This includes white sugar and white-flour products.
Raw fruit and vegetable juices, brewer's yeast, lecithin, kelp, and cold-pressed vegetable oils are needed. The diet should be at least 50% raw food.
Avoid animal products and dairy products.
Do not use alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, sugar, and hot soups and drinks. They make the emotional swings worse and the blood more acidic. This causes the bones to release extra calcium, to balance blood pH and weaken the bones if extra calcium is not taken.
Substitute garlic and onion powder for salt. Consuming salt increases urinary excretion of calcium.
Drink 2 quarts of water each day, to help prevent drying of skin and mucous membranes.
After menopause begins, you will not have as much calcium in your body, due to the lessened estrogen; it is important that you henceforth supplement with calcium. Of the 250,000 hip fractures that occur in the U.S. every year, 80% are due to osteoporosis.
Avoid mental and emotional stress and worry. Be happy with the blessings you have, and thank God for them.
Get plenty of outdoor exercise and sufficient rest. Lay down and rest a little before lunch and supper. A lack of exercise weakens bone density.
Especially important are vitamins E, C, A, and B complex, including PABA and pantothenic acid.
Hypothyroidism is common during menopause, and is responsible for a number of the symptoms. Be sure and take additional amounts of Nova Scotia dulse or Norwegian kelp.
Helpful herbs include lady's mangle, motherwort, and St. John's wort.
Also see "Menstrual Disorders" for related information.
ENCOURAGEMENTAll the instructions we need to obey God is found in the Bible. Read it every day; and, accompanied by earnest prayer for help, you will receive the strength needed to fulfill God's will one day at a time.
HOW TO DO ITA douche is especially helpful if one has a history of discharges or infection.
Retention douches are especially effective, and are best done in a bathtub with the feet up on the sides, to aid in retaining the fluid for 10-15 minutes. Warm the douche to body temperature before taking. Possible douches include:
4-8 ounces of diluted vinegar to a pint of distilled water, 4-8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 ounce of bayberry myrtle (myrica cerifera) to 1 pint water.
A replant of lactobacillus acidophilus may be needed, to normalize flora after vaginitis or antibiotic drug medications. Plain, unsweetened yogurt (4 ounces) can be emptied into warm water (10-20 oz.).
Routine douching is not necessary for personal hygiene. Douching is best reserved for therapy, in time of infection. Excessive douching may actually help promote infection.
WARNINGDouching may induce pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In one study, almost 90% of the women with PID were vigorous douchers, often since the age of 16 or 17. Very likely, infected fluid is flushed up into the uterine cavity by the douche.
ENCOURAGEMENTHome is to be the center of the purest and most elevated affection. As, through prayer and earnest effort, each person in the home is submitted to be molded by the Spirit of God, home can become a little heaven.