Dr. Pamela Smith, ND 

Dr. Pam has a family practice at The Nest Family Wellness Centre which offers naturopathic and midwifery care. She combines science-based natural medicine with conventional medical therapeutics. Learn more about Dr. Pam and the services offered by her clinic here, or book an appointment at www.drpamelasmith.com.

Check out the latest Ask Dr Pam Q&A and posts by topic below as well as her health and wellness posts.

Ask Dr Pam   

I feel terrible when I get my period! Is there a way to help alleviate PMS symptoms?

Even though so many women experience some symptom prior to their menses, they really do not have to! There are many ways to help prevent or treat PMS, including: 

  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Make a point of eating 1-2 servings of the Brassica family vegetables everyday which are high in molecules specific for liver detoxification of excess estrogens. These include: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. 
  • Consuming 1-2 tbsp of ground flax seeds each day is also helpful for many women as flax is a phyto-estrogen as well as a great source of fibre. 
  • Avoid highly processed and fatty foods especially the week prior to your menses. Keeping your blood sugars stabilized by having small, frequent, low glycemic meals may also be beneficial. 
  • Large amounts of caffeine intake have also been linked to PMS, especially severe PMS and can worsen fibrocycstic breasts – swollen, painful, lumpy breasts. Limit your caffeine intake to less than two cups of per day.
  • Consider eating organic dairy when possible as pesticide use and in some countries, the direct use of hormones can lead to excess estrogens or hormone disrupting chemicals in the body.
  • Exercise can help reduce PMS by increasing blood flow around the body, increasing oxygen levels to the reproductive tissues and stabilizing hormones. Getting some form of exercise each day can be beneficial for a number of reasons, even if you only have time for a quick workout. Here are some helpful tips for starting (or getting back to) an exercise regime.
  • Castor oil packs can provide much needed relief from cramps, constipation and muscle spasms.

There are a number of other ways to help alleviate your PMS symptoms including nutritional therapies, hormone support and acupuncture. To read more about the causes, prevention and treatment of PMS, visit this post.