Premenstrual syndrome-- the collection of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle-is so common that many women consider it to be a "fact of life". The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 85% of women in their childbearing years suffer from at least one symptom. A small percentage of these women-roughly 3 to 8% --suffer from a more severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and in 2 to 10% of cases, the symptoms are severe enough to impact women's lives-including their jobs.

It may be hard to believe, but not too long ago, PMS was considered an imagined disease, and the women suffering from it were told their symptoms were "all in their head". Today, however, we know that it is not only a real disorder, but a rather complex and even mysterious one. There are more than 200 symptoms associated with PMS, including anxiety and stress, difficulty in falling asleep, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensitivity, and changes in libido. The three most prominent symptoms are irritability, tension, and unhappiness. Many women would be surprised to learn that the bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps, breast swelling or tenderness, and joint or muscle pain they experience each month are not considered PMS. According to the formal definition, the emotional symptoms above are not only a requirement for a diagnosis of PMS; they must be the woman's main complaint.

These women would probably not be surprised to hear that the exact symptoms, as well as their intensity, vary significantly from woman to woman, and often from cycle to cycle as well. Each woman with PMS has her own personal pattern. While one woman might be anxious and tense for a week each month, another might be depressed and tearful for two days; still another woman might find that she is easily irritated by problems she would normally consider minor. However, each woman's pattern, although different from what others with PMS experience, will be relatively predictable. In other words, she will not experience anxiety in one cycle, depression the next, followed by anger, and so forth.

What causes PMS?

Medical science has not determined the exact causes of PMS; however there a number of theories ranging from hormonal and chemical, to nutritional and psychological. We do know that women whose mother or sisters have PMS are more likely to have it, so there may be a genetic component. An examination of the research leads one to believe that it's a most likely combination of genetic, physiological, and environmental factors. Many researchers have even speculated that culture may play a role in PMS.

Risk factors for PMS include:
Increasing age
Depression (which affects 20% of the population)
Dietary factors, such as caffeine

What is the solution to PMS?

Many treatments have been suggested for PMS, with varying degrees of effectiveness (which makes sense, considering we are unsure of the cause). Most of the women I know have a relatively mild form of PMS and take either Advil or aspirin to alleviate their symptoms.

For those with more severe PMS and PMDD, traditional medical practitioners usually favor hormonal intervention and anti-depressants. Holistic practitioners, on the other hand, often suggest dietary and lifestyle changes; for example, Chasteberry, which has been used for thousands of years to ease symptoms related to menstrual problems. It is believed some of the compounds found in Chasteberry work on the pituitary gland to balance hormone levels. More recently, researchers at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences found that omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve the emotional symptoms of PMS.

What Can I Do About It?

Over the past twenty years, I've had many female patients who complained of PMS. As a chiropractor, I would make sure their nervous system was functionally optimally. I would also suggest calcium and magnesium to help relax their muscles and support the nervous system.

As I learned more about holistic procedures, however, I began testing the female hormone levels. Oftentimes I would find an interference with progesterone, which I then restored to hormonal balance. If stress seemed to be a factor, I would look for cortisol; if mood was an issue, I would check the serotonin, and so on.

Last year, a patient brought her five-year-old in for food allergies, and while she was there, told me about her severe PMS. As she spoke, I noticed she was waving her hands and moving around rather dramatically. I decided to check my primary hormone list:


Sure enough, she had several hormones that needed to be balanced. When I did balance them, the results were incredible. The patient's PMS disappeared! I told her to come back into the office just prior to her period so I could see whether the hormonal balance treatments were holding. To my delight-and hers-- PMS was no longer an issue in her life.

An African-American woman in her mid-thirties came to see me for migraines and severe PMS. Through my testing procedures, I learned that Allopregnanolone appeared to be the vital hormone for alleviating her symptoms. As with the previous woman, her PMS vanished when I balanced her hormones. I still see her for an occasional headache or stress, but she no longer suffers from severe PMS.

Since then, I've treated four patients with rather severe PMS. Balancing their allopregnanolone, I was able to provide them quick relief for their symptoms. While it is imperative-- for many health reasons-- to ensure all the primary hormones are functioning without energetic interference, it has proven to be an especially successful method in markedly reducing PMS.

Author's Bio: 

For 20 years, Dr. Mike treated well-known entertainers, top CEO’s and world-class athletes in Los Angeles. He has toured the country treating colleagues, and has participated as a healthcare provider in four Olympic Games. Dr. Mike and his family moved to Atlanta where he joined forces with a group of dedicated doctors at Millennium Healthcare. He is concerned first and foremost for the well-being and swift recovery of his patients. Dr. Mike is thorough and extremely efficient in his approach and aims to improve the quality of life in all those he comes in contact with.