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PMS and Menstrual cramps

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Why does PMS cause menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps come from an imbalance within a powerful group of cellular messengers called eicosanoids. These substances, which are subdivided in 3 types, are similar to hormones and control all the biochemical processes of the body. When Type 2 eicosanoids such as prostaglandin F2α are present in too high a ratio compared to Type 1 and 3 eicosanoids, we observe an increase of inflammation, a decline of oxygen delivery to the cells and excessive blood clotting. This describes exactly what occurs in the body during menstrual cramps. Naproxen based medication such as Anaprox® act by preventing the synthesis of prostaglandin F2α. 

Chronic stress and too much caffeine lead to an overproduction of adrenaline and cortisol, which promote the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.  

Finally, an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels induces an escalation in insulin secretion, which promotes prostaglandin F2α.

What can I do about it? Diet!

Diet is generally at the root of an eicosanoids imbalance. The following nutritional changes are key to restore equilibrium and eliminate menstrual cramps:

  • Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and simple sugars. They lead to an increase in insulin secretion that will, in turn, intensify the production of prostaglandin F2α.
  • Choose good fats and avoid other fats. Monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, Omega 3, 6 and 9 promote the production of Type 1 and 3 eicosanoids. The latter have anti -inflammatory properties and can help counteract the inflammatory effect of Type 2 eicosanoids.
  • Take 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed olive oil every day. VegOmega-3 from A.Vogel is an excellent source of good fats and daily intake is beneficial. Trans fats and animal fats have the unwanted effect: they favor the production of Type 2 eicosanoids and therefore have an inflammatory effect.
  • Eat food with plenty of micronutrients, especially vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium. Micronutrient deficiencies impair eicosanoids metabolism.

Are there herbal remedies to help me?

Bio-Strath can help quickly overcome micronutrient deficiencies, especially in B complex vitamins and minerals.

PMS Vitex - Agnus castus from A.Vogel stabilizes the hormonal system by restoring balance between estrogen and progesterone levels, which has a considerable impact on eicosanoid production.  It takes approximately 3 months for PMS Vitex to reach its full potential. Meanwhile, taking the Joint Pain Relief from A.Vogel can help relieve menstrual cramps within 30 minutes. It does not balance eicosanoids levels and therefore does not fix the problem, but acts as a general anti-inflammatory and alleviates pain.

Agnus castus has been used for many years to treat menstrual disorders in women. There is good evidence for its use in reducing period pains as well as to help other PMS symptoms such as bloating, irritability, low mood and anxiety.

If you are taking oral contraceptives, hormonal medication or HRT, speak to your doctor before using Agnus castus as it may not be suitable for you.

My PMS Journal

Keep track of your symptoms with our PMS Diary to identify patterns & help discover ways to minimise them.

What do you think?

Have you found what you read useful? If so, I would love if you would leave your comment below. Thanks Sonia Chartier

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