Whether it’s bloating, cramping, or baffling mood swings that leave you wallowing on the bathroom floor in tears, the week before Aunt Flow comes to town can be a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions. Although some women try to ease their premenstrual syndrome symptoms through a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream with a side of aspirin, there are better ways to help your body than to fill it full of empty calories and drugs.
In my book Stop Your Bitching Naturally, I explain step-by-step that women don’t have to be monthly victims of PMS if they choose to be proactive about eliminating their symptoms. Women need to take control of PMS and put their bodies back into balance by reducing extra estrogen (estrogen dominance) in their bodies, and they should be aware of products that contain chemicals that act like estrogen, as these products can cause many of their PMS symptoms. It’s important to look at the food you’re eating and consider where you might be adding estrogen into your body through additives and pesticides. Your body knows how to make hormones, which are like the operating system on a computer; the last thing you should be eating is artificial hormones or chemicals that create more hormones.
Going organic is one of many ways to reduce the risk of ingesting something harmful. Here are 10 tips to reduce estrogen dominance before that time of the month:
>> Drink filtered water
Instead of drinking tap water that may contain estrogen from hormones that get into your water supply, decide to filter your water. These days it’s easy to find a filtered water pitcher or a filter that snaps easily onto your faucet. Also, don’t drink water in plastic bottles because many contain harmful bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that acts like estrogen.
>> Eat certified hormone-free meat and drink rBGH-free milk
rBGH is a genetically engineered hormone injected into cows to make them produce more milk.
>> Choose products free of parabens
Parabens are preservatives used to extend shelf life and are typically found in skin moisturizers, sunscreens, deodorants, and shampoos.
>> Microwave food in a glass or ceramic dish
Avoid plastic or styrofoam containers that can leach chemicals into the food.
>> Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners—such as aspartame and sucralose—can wreak havoc on the body’s blood sugar balance. Also, avoid high-fructose corn syrup.
>> Wash your hands before eating
Xenoestrogens—a type of hormone that imitates estrogen—can be found on cash register receipts and paper money.
>> Eat cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are great vegetables because they help remove excess estrogen from the body’s filtration system.
>> Have at least one bowel movement daily
Not only does your body need to remove toxins, it also needs to remove recycled estrogen. Increase soluble fiber to keep things moving.
>> Exercise daily
Getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day helps keep blood moving and the liver functioning optimally to cleanse blood.
>> Use herbs
Herbs help reduce estrogen and cleanse the liver. Consider dang gui, white peony root, and dandelion root as a tea or supplement.
I struggled with debilitating PMS as a teenager and young adult but have since taken control of my symptoms by finding ways to naturally balance my body’s hormones. I like my hormones kept on a short leash and house trained; Stop Your Bitching Naturally is designed to empower women to gain control of their hormones, rather than hormones controlling them.
Cathy Margolin, LAC, Dipl. OM, founded Beverly Hills-based Pacific Herbs. Margolin discusses Stop Your Bitching Naturally and its companion piece, 30 Days of Tips, at StopYourBitching.com.