Dealing with Crazy PMS

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.



That time of the month.


When you hear those words, what comes to mind?


If you are like 75% of women, you think: headaches, irritability, breast tenderness, mood swings, bloating, cramps, emotions, and…chocolate (or other sugar cravings).



In other words: your period.


Unfortunately, symptoms, such as these, have come to be accepted as the ‘norm’—it’s just what happens during that time of the month.


“I just feel so terrible!”


“I just have to have a cookie (or five)”;


“I can barely function—it’s so awful…”
…Said many women…


While that time of the month CAN be a great excuse for getting out of a speeding ticket (yes, totally done it)…it’s vital to ask yourself:


Are these symptoms really normal?


The short answer?




In fact…what if I told you that “that time of the month” really didn’t have to be any different from any other time of the month?


That it didn’t have to be sooooooo bad?!


What if I told you that you don’t have to settle for needing Aleve, birth control pills, heating pads, and Ben & Jerry’s every 30 days to function?



That the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde version (of yourself) need be no more?




The fact of the matter is that the real cause of PMS is not “just because it’s the way it is…the nature of the beast” (what your body has to go through every 30 days).


[That’s like saying: “Getting lung cancer is normal”…it’s not, unless you smoke; OR, “Becoming insulin resistant (diabetic) is normal”…it’s not, unless you eat a diet full of sugar, refined and processed foods, and lead a sedentary lifestyle, right?!)]


The real cause for PMS is simply this: Your hormones become unbalanced (your estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease).


When we already have hormonal imbalances as a pre-cursor, come menstruation time of the month, our symptoms are FULLY EXPRESSED—your period is simply the STRAW that breaks the camels back…throwing your body off with an extra “jab, jab, right hook” (an extra shift in your hormonal imbalances during that “time of the month”).


In order to “get to the bottom of the problem”, it’s important to answer this question: How do your hormones become ‘unbalanced’ in the first place?


A handful of ways:


  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise
  • Refined foods, Packaged/processed foods & Grain consumption (leaky gut, and difficulty breaking down)
  • Dairy consumption (hormones in milk products)
  • Conventional meat (hormones in meat)
  • Toxins from pesticides and pollution


Factors such as these all contribute to worsening PMS.


Moreover, couple these with another “imbalance” in your body—those of you who have digestive issues (constipation, bloating, GERD, IBS, indigestion, etc.) and you have an even bigger problem on your hands!


Dr. Mark Hyman of the Functional Medicine institute explains, “Constipation and imbalances in the gut bacteria can worsen the situation, because they lead to the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut back into your blood, even after your liver has tried to get rid of it.”


(Translation: Estrogen is recycled at the wrong time and you end up with an excess of estrogen in your body…hello tears over the person ‘stealing’ your parking space in the parking lot, or the waiter getting your order wrong at the restaurant).





Outside forces are working against you (and your body)—ultimately throwing your hormones into a topsy turvy!


If you relate to having ‘wonky periods’ during ‘that time of the month’, here are some simple steps you can take TODAY to ELIMINATE PMS—no prescription drugs (or Ben & Jerry’s) needed.


1. The ‘Unsexy’ Nutrition Cure. We all want a magic pill or magic snap of our fingers to ‘be healthy’, ‘get fit’, lose/gain weight—we want it, and we want it now. The same can be said for PMS—we want to feel better now! One of the BEST things you can do for your body is cut the crap. Give it a shot at least for 8-12 weeks to see how your body (and hormones) respond:

  • Eliminate caffeine and alcohol
  • Stop eating sugar, processed and refined foods
  • Build your meals with protein as the foundation (eggs, meat, poultry, fish, even a quality protein shake), and choose organic sources as much as possible
  • Eat balanced meals throughout the day
  • Increase your essential fats by eating fatty fish like sardines, herring, salmon, eggs, grassfed butter, coconut/coconut oil, olives and olive oil, raw nuts and seeds
  • Experiment with cutting back/out gut irritants and allergens (such as dairy and gluten)—give your body a chance and see how it responds
  • Increase fiber naturally in your diet with veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, pre-soaked beans/grains to promote improved digestion.


Yada, yada, yada…you’ve ‘heard it all before’…but have you really given it a chance? Meat, veggies, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, essential fats with every meal, lots of water…does a body good.


2. Supplement Wisely. It can be easy to go into your local health foods store and stock up on anything and everything under the sun labeled as a ‘vitamin’ in efforts to ‘be healthier’. But what actually helps ease PMS symptoms? Here are a few go-tos:

  • Probiotic (Enhancing the healthy bacteria in the gut helps normalize estrogen and hormone metabolism. Take 5 to 10 billion live organisms in a daily probiotic supplement. )
  • Equifem—A superstar supplement by Biotics Research. I use with many of my clients! It is the ultimate ‘female’ superstar supp with a balnce of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to promote hormonal balance. Check it out here https://home/laurynlax/ ; http://home/laurynlax/
  • Evening primrose oil — Take two 500mg capsules twice a day; (By interfering with the production of inflammatory prostaglandins released during menstruation, the GLA fatty acid in evening primrose oil can help to lessen menstrual cramps)
  • Vitamin B6-50 to 100 mg a day along with 800 mcg of folate and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 (B6 is a natural co-factor for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine—assisting with mood changes that happen during pMS)
  • Magnesium Citrate (Magnesium is known as the anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is a natural detoxifier and muscle relaxer and helps with constipation and painful cramps. In addition, consider this: Women can get depressed before their periods, but PMS is not just depression. Yet PMS is often considered by medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies to be a psychiatric condition suitable for treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem). But keep in mind that a lack of fluoxetine does not cause PMS symptoms; a lack of magnesium In fact, it has also been found that magnesium relieves the depression of premenstrual syndrome by positively influencing serotonin activity naturally.)- http://home/laurynlax/
  • EPA/DHA fish oil/cod liver oil (helps to decrease inflammation in the body and pain caused by PMS)
  • Taurine — Take 500 mg a day to help liver detoxification
  • In severe cases: topical, natural bioidentical progesterone in the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. The usual dose is 1/2 tsp (20 to 40 mg) applied at night to thin skin areas for the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle


3. Stress Less. Stress stinks. Write out a list of the top stressors in your life right now. Next to them write out 1-3 action steps you can take NOW to eliminate that stress. It could mean: saying ‘no’, replacing the activity with another, clearing up time in your schedule, delegating a task, putting some yoga into your life, making time to sleep one more hour each night, taking a hot bath, deep breathing, fresh air, a run or walk, time spent away from the computer screen, becoming a little more organized, etc. Stress is a ROOT cause of imbalances…less stress is the goal.


4.Rock your body. Moderate exercise balances Aim for 30-60 minutes at least 4-5 times per week and find what MOVES YOU! (i.e. don’t stay stuck in a rut or dread exercise!!) Walk, cycle, om, run, lift, dance, bootcamp it, stretch it (pilates), tone, etc…you were given limbs that move and a heart that beats for a reason—use them.


5. You don’t have to ‘go it alone.’ Build a team of support to help you navigate restoring your hormones. Consider: nutrition therapy, acupuncture, integrative and functional medicine, homeopathy, reiki…lots of options here! I invite you to schedule a free consult today if you’re ready to THRIVE in your own hormonal health (hey, it could happen).


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