Chances are if you saw this heading and were drawn to reading it, there are times throughout your monthly cycle the above words describe you perfectly. Ever considered natural therapies to conquer your PMS? Well read on...
For the purpose of keeping it short, I am going to focs on one of our big guns for PMS, the herb Vitex agnus-castus, also known as Chaste tree. Vitex is used for a range of female gynaecological conditions and science is now validating what traditional healers have been practicing for centuries.
Vitex is said to be the herb of the luteal phase of the female cycle (that is from ovulation to the first day of menses). It is particularly useful for conditions that occur during this time, PMS. Positive effects have been noted for acne, cold sores and genital herpes, headaches, saddness, irritablilty, fluid retention and breast tenderness as well as menstrual irregularities including absent ovulation and periods. It is thought that Vitex aids conditions characterised by low progesterone secretion and elevated prolactin levels.
The effectivness of Vitex has been studied in multiple clinical trials with positive outcomes for patients over a 1- 3 month period. Vitex is well tollerated with no notible side effects even when used long term. It is a complex herb with variance in quality between brands, use under a practitiners supervision is reccommended.
Obviously our hormones are as individual and complex as we are, in the natural therapy world there is no one shoe fits all policy. Other treatments including Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Iron, St Johns Wort, Ginger, Dong Quai, Fatty acids etc may be indicated for you as an individual. We look at the whole body to investigate why these imbalances are occuring... stress and adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalances, weight issues, dietary gaps or excesses, family history and general inflammation. Please book a consultation for a personalised treatment plan for your PMS.
In the meantime, if you are a person who loves science, you may like to have a read of the follwing; I love it when great research backs up our industry favourites!
In 1993 52 women with luteal phase defects were involved in a randomized placebo controlled trial. They received a daily dose of 20mg of Vitex and after 3 months Prolactin levels were normalised and defects in progesterone production eliminated. There were no side effects and 2 of the women fell pregnant. (A. Milewicz 1993)
A Placebo controlled trail in 2000 involving 1634 patients suffering PMS symptoms including depression, anxiety, cravings, headaches and fluid retention took Vitex for 3 months and completed a questionnaire regarding their symptoms. 93% of patients reported a decrease in the number and severity of symptoms, some with complete cessation of complaints. 85% of physicians involved rated the herb as a good or very good treatment with no adverse reactions.
(2014) A multi-centre, open-label, single-arm study was conducted in 69 Japanese women with PMS. Each participant was given Premular (Vitex) once a day, over three menstrual cycles, and was asked to measure the intensity of ten PMS symptoms (irritability, low mood, anger, headache, bloating, breast fullness, skin disorder, fatigue, drowsiness, and sleeplessness) After the first menstrual cycle, there was a significant decrease in the symptom scores which continued to reduce over the following two cycles. Premular was also well tolerated; and by the third menstrual cycle, almost all of the women were without symptoms, or experienced only mild symptoms