Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Success with PMS- Herbs, Nutrients and Food Intolerance

So in the last few days, I've deduced that a sneaky gluten allergy can be a HUGE factor in PMS and dysmennorhea.
I've got three cases
1)Classmate is working with a woman with premenstrual acne, which cleared up upon removal of gluten.
2) Me myself and I have always had painful menses, usually the first day, and some heavy bleeding, along with major mood swings. I've tried nutritional and herbal therapies to no avail. Even herbal antispasmodic/anodyne formulas weren't touching the pain. The only relief I could get was from an Aleve, before cramps got really bad. If I let it go too long, even the aleve didn't work too well.
I removed gluten to 'experiment" and because I ate 4 pieces of toast before bed one day (and had already removed dairy frm my diet) and woke up 2 hrs later completely congested and stuffed up to where I was having trouble breathing.
SO, out came the gluten, and lo and behold, when my moon next came round, it was remarkably less painful! I still had some cramps, for which I took a combination of wild yam, ginger, turmeric and wood betony, which immediately allieviated the pain, for the rest of the day!

I suspect low grade, or not low grade inflammation was manifesting in my uterine/reproductive system, and was just enough and consistent enough that magnesium, fish oil and B-6 was not addressing the problem. For much of common PMS symptoms, supplementation with those three nutrients can make a radical difference.

3)One of my clients has had severe pain, fainting and heavy bleeding. We made three changes to her regime. An herbal formula of dong quai, peony, dandelion, lavender, rosemary. ( to build blood and release stuck liver chi), and a higher protein, paleo like diet- lots of wild meat,vegetables, nuts, and less grain, dairy and legumes. Not strictly though. The client contacted me after consuming some wheat bread after not eating it for several week, and complained of nausea, diarrhea and a headache. Based on that reaction we decided to remove the wheat/gluten from her diet, and lo and behold- her symptoms have resolved!

Obviously this only works for women who have an underlying gluten intolerance, that they may or may not know about. I sure as hell didn't suspect it in me, but, alas, there it was. I'm not sure this will help for symptoms that stem from organic changes in the reproductive system (endometriosis, cysts, fibroids or other infection related inflammation), but it is a handy tool to keep in the healer's kit when working with someone with PMS.
First try the Magnesium, Fish Oil and B-6, which are antiiflammatories, antispasmodics, aid liver clearance of estrogen and nourish the hypothalamus to regulate dopamine and hormone balance in the body. Also try appropriate herbs for the situation, could be blood builders (peony, dong quai), could be uterine tonics (raspberry leaf, mitchella, agrimony), or herbs to aid with liver clearance of estrogen (st johns wort, dandelion, oregon grape). And if those fail, start looking at diet and possible food allergens. This MIGHT also hold true for a dairy allergy. ( I've got both, but mine responded much more to removal of gluten). I just dont have any direct cases to report with dairy allergy effecting PMS/dysmennorhea.

I'd love to hear if anyone else has seen a correlation, experience with dairy affecting PMS/menstrual issues, or has anything strategies to add to menstrual/reproductive therapuetics.


Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

Thanks for posting this! I have the same symptoms you have with a few more of my own to through in, always real cold and have flu like symptoms the first day, moods wheww I won't go there lol. I'm going to try eliminating gluten and see what happens. Interesting, a great friend of mine told me she had a gluten allergy, she always had the same PMS symptoms too, she's better now, funny we did not put this together.

Shamana Flora said...

the magnesium and fish oil will really help with the mood stuff. I DID notice a difference in my moods with the supplements...but the cramps were dependent on the gluten thing.

Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

Barlene's makes a real good Flax, Borage, Evening Primrose blend that worked great for the moods. This last moon was a surprise (nursing and pregnant the last year, hadn't had one) Body going a little crazy hormonally getting back in balance.

Tara said...

Yay, you fixed me!

(I'm person #3)

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~