Mrs M came to see me as she was experiencing some pre-menstrual symptoms (PMT) every month.
On questioning, I discovered that she was feeling extremely tired during the first week of her cycle when she had her periods. She was suffering from headaches and backaches and bleeding quite heavily intensifying the feeling of tiredness.
On the second week of her cycle she was feeling fantastic. Her energy was back and she was feeling “normal” and happy.
At the beginning of the third week of her cycle, she felt cramping of the lower abdomen during what she thought was ovulation time. The cramps lasted for about 12 hours during which time she needed to take painkillers to be able to function. If the cramping occurred at night, the pain would wake her up.
Her irritation increased from week three to the fourth week leading to her periods. At this time of month, she felt incredibly irritable, started sweating at night and her headaches and backaches would slowly return to culminate on week one of her period.
So here we have a lady who is able to function normally one week per month, which is 12 weeks per year. So for 9 month per year, she suffers from various symptoms which are impairing her quality of life.
She did not wake up one morning with all these symptoms. They developed over a period of months reaching a culmination point when she decided to have treatment.
In this specific case, Mrs M started experiencing a few symptoms one year ago, when she started a new job. Although she enjoyed the new challenge, having to reach weekly deadlines quickly became stressful. She was also a mother of 2 young children. She was very happy to go back to work after her maternity leave but having to take time off every time one of her child was not well made reaching the deadlines very difficult. Moreover, she felt guilty for not spending enough time with her children.
Over a period of a few months, her diet started deteriorating as she did not have time to have “proper” lunches anymore. She was eating quickly at her desk, a combination of convenient food. She did not have the required intake of 5 fruits and vegetables per day. Her snacking on fruits was replaced by snacking on chocolate and her water intake was replaced by strong coffee as she felt she needed the boost from the caffeine.
She did not have any spare time to exercise or to have some “me” time.
So how can we help the PMT symptoms?
From a diet point of view, breakfast need to be complete with protein (cold meat, eggs), with some fruits or vegetables, some intake of “good fat” such as a handful of nuts or avocado. You can also switch the cold meat for oily fish. This breakfast will keep you fuller for longer decreasing your cravings mid morning. If you need a snack, go for a few nuts. DO NOT MISS BREAKFAST as it is the most important meal of the day. It is your petrol for the day.
If you have to have a convenient lunch (sandwich), make sure you rebalance your daily intake of fruits and vegetable with your evening meal.
Looking to decrease the stress is extremely important. If you can, go and have a walk out at lunch time. It is not a waste of time. You will find that your attention is much higher when you come back.
Calming your mind before going to sleep is really important to have a restorative sleep. So you can do some meditation before going to sleep, or just take a few slow deep breath when you are in bed, visualising a peaceful environment which could be a beach, a forest etc..
Exercising is really important. If you do not have the time, try to walk as much as you can. Go to the park to kick a ball with your children at the week end .Take them swimming.
If you pay attention to your body, you will soon realise that the months when you go on holiday or when the pressure is off at work, your symptoms are not as severe.
It is really important to look after yourself as all these symptoms are signs that your body is rebelling. Listen to them and act accordingly.
Carole Mabboux, Acupuncturist & Reiki Master