Common PMS Symptoms

Here are some common PMS symptoms and when they are deemed abnormal:   PMS Symptom #1: CRAMPS (aka dysmenorrhea if you want to be fancy!) […]

Here are some common PMS symptoms and when they are deemed abnormal:


PMS Symptom #1:

CRAMPS (aka dysmenorrhea if you want to be fancy!)


Cramps are caused by prostaglandins. Having more estrogen and less progesterone influences period pain and the amount of prostaglandins. What in the heck is a prostaglandin? For cycle purposes, they are hormone-like substances that cause uterine contracture. Prostaglandins are found in almost every tissue in our body, including receptors in our uterus. Hence why taking an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) will help with cramps is because NSAIDs inhibit prostaglandin production.

What is abnormal? Tolerable period cramps are NORMAL. Taking fistfuls of Ibuprofen is NOT. Missing work is NOT normal due to debilitating cramps. You should be able to function normally during your cycle.


PMS Symptom #2:


Flow Facts:

👉🏻Average blood loss is 5ml to 80ml during period

👉🏻1 regular tampon/pad = 5ml

👉🏻1 super tampon/pad = 10ml

👉🏻Cup= 30ml-60ml

Flow problems:

👉🏻Soaking through products every hour

👉🏻Passing clots larger than a quarter

👉🏻Having to double up on products to prevent leakage

👉🏻Having to restrict daily activities due to ‘oopsies’

👉🏻Carrying back-up undies ‘just in case’

👉🏻Fatigue, shortness of breath (signs of anemia)

Your flow is NOT supposed to be heavy. If it is, we need to figure out the hormone imbalance and guess what? Fix it.


PMS Symptoms #3:


Tend to have clearer skin towards the middle of your cycle than at the end? Constantly having an ‘outbreak’ around your cycle? There could be a few different causes. First, estrogen and progesterone are beneficial for the skin. If these drop or are out of balance, hello acne. Second, is your blood sugar balanced? If you haven’t had your fasting glucose or insulin checked in awhile, do that. Sugar increases a hormone called insulin growth factor (IGF-1) which increases inflammation, sebum and keratin–all contributing to increased acne. Third, we have to look at the gut. Dysbiosis (or unbalanced gut microbiome), food sensitivities, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can all contribute to increased acne.

What is abnormal? Really any acne at all, but especially around the chin.


PMS Symptom #4:


Feeling extra sleepy around your cycle? It could be due to several reasons. One, sleep disturbances. If you tend to have sleepless nights, aka insomnia, around your cycle this is likely due to a sudden decrease in estrogen and progesterone (also why postmenopausal women have such a hard time sleeping!). Second, could be due to stress and adrenal dysfunction. This type of stress causes you to be moody and irritated. Last, it might be due to an inflammatory response due to decrease in progesterone. As mentioned in the last module, progesterone is anti-inflammatory. The best way to compare this type of feeling is the ‘period flu’

What is abnormal? Not sleeping a wink. Sleep is SO important and our body is going through so much during menstruation that sleep is critical. If we aren’t sleeping, our immune system is likely going to be compromised putting you at extra risk for illness.


PMS Symptom #5:


Hormone fluctuations that occur during your menstrual cycle cause water retention and a buildup of gas in the digestive system which can lead to feelings of fullness, discomfort and a swollen ‘bloated’ abdomen. In addition, during menstruation, the uterus contracts, which can cause further discomfort and bloating. It is normal to feel bloated to an extent during your period, but if you are feeling like you’re 9 months pregnant and experiencing long-lasting effects of bloating, it’s likely your hormones that are unbalanced.

PMS Symptom #6:


The average length of a menstrual cycle is around 26-32 days. If it’s any longer than this or shorter, it’s likely due to a hormone imbalance, thyroid dysfunction, low caloric intake, anovulation among other reasons. In addition, bleeding more than 7 days during your menstrual cycle is also abnormal. See the symptom of flow to learn about heavy bleeding and the symptoms to look out for. It’s also important to note that your cycle should be regular for you. It should not be 25 days one month, then 42 the next. Being off a couple days each month is OK, but if your period is like a ping pong game, this is not normal.

PMS Symptoms #7:


There is some hormone component to it moodiness, specifically too much estrogen, however, other factors, such as, blood sugar, gut health and liver detoxification are also important. Mood changes can range from sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and irritability. Have you ever heard of the gut-brain connection? Likely if you have gut dysfunction, your brain is impacted–hello mood swings! This is why it is important to have regular bowel movements, at least one, well-formed, easy to pass a day. If we aren’t pooping, we aren’t excreting our hormones either, leading to excess accumulation in the body.

Our liver is like a pool filter. It filters everything we put into our body. If our liver is congested, it leads to estrogen excess, which is usually the culprit to many PMS symptoms and period irregularities.

Blood sugar. Sugar is more addictive than crack. The average American eats about 152 pounds of sugar a year. We love sugar because it makes us feel better. It stimulates our dopamine receptors in our brain which is our pleasure and reward center. The side effects of sugar really aren’t worth it though and the impact it has on our hormones leads to estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency, cortisol and thyroid dysfunction.

What is abnormal? Losing your mind. A patient once told me her kids referred to her period as ‘shark week’. Is this you?


Just because you have been told your hormones are balanced or ‘normal’ does not mean they are optimal. The only true way to determine this is to have your hormones tested on cycle day 19, 20 or 21 (or 7-10 post ovulation). This is where progesterone is supposed to be at its peak and a good indicator of optimal hormone levels. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned these past 2 weeks, it would be a good idea to check your hormones. We want to have your hormones work for you, not against you.  Check out my Hope For Hormones program.

Tags :

  • hormone
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  • hormones
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  • menstrual
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  • period
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  • pms

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