Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is characterised by a myriad of physiological and emotional symptoms that occur in the 7-14 days prior to mensuration (the period) and then disappear at the time of, or shortly after bleeding.
Symptoms of PMS include:
- Breast pain &/or enlargement
- Mood swings
- Sugar cravings
- Fluid retention
- Brain fog
- And more!
PMS affects many women, in-fact 10% of women in the UK report symptoms so severe that they interfere with their ability to live to the full and 20% of women need to seek medical help.
It might surprise you to learn that when it comes to addressing PMS and establishing healthy periods, we need to first consider the health of your gut!
Here’s why …
Gut bacteria & oestrogen
Certain species of gut bacteria (e.g. Bacteroides spp, Clostridium perfringes) produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. In excess, Beta-glucuronidase can impair healthy oestrogen elimination by re-activating and reabsorbing oestrogen. This produces an excess of free oestrogen (in relation to progesterone) which can result in worsening PMS symptoms.
An abundant and diverse gut microbiome helps to maintain oestrogen metabolism whereas a dysbiotic gut can result in elevated beta-glucuronidase and consequent altered oestrogen metabolism.
To further highlight the complex interplay between your gut and hormones, research shows that sex hormone receptors are present along the gastrointestinal tract. This means that fluctuating hormone levels can influence gastrointestinal symptoms like altered bowel movements, bloating and pain perception. This might explain why female IBS sufferers report worsened IBS symptoms during certain phases of their menstrual cycle.
How do I know if my gut is contributing to my PMS?
Although PMS is portrayed as normal and inevitable, I’m here to tell you that it does not need to be that way. In-fact, PMS can in-fact be a thing of the past.
When I work with clients in my 1:1 consultation packages, I often run either a comprehensive stool test (to assess beta-glucuronidase and the gut microbiome) and/or a comprehensive hormone test to see levels of sex hormones (like oestrogen and progesterone).
These tests help me identify (or rule out) certain gut or hormone imbalances that may be contributing to PMS. In doing so, they also allow me to personalise a treatment plan for you so that we can get effective results much quicker.
Book in for discovery call to learn more about the testing packages I offer and how I can help you get back to feeling your best.