How are you? It’s the most wonderful time of year, right? There’s parties to host, marshmallows to roast, cards to send, and those last minute goodies to bake. Oh its feeling a lot like Christmas! Shall we all sing?
I used to think that is was the holiday stress that made my PMS worse. Who wouldn’t? Especially when you put everyone’s wants, needs and expectations before your own. Somehow December was always my worst PMS month all year with symptoms like extreme irritability, mood swings and depression. I would snap at the littlest annoyance. And there were day’s I barely got out of bed. Oh yeah and it was supposed to be a joyous time of year! Fa la la la la – NOT!
But when I took a step back to really get a sense of what was happening or what was different, it wasn’t really the stress that had radically changed in my life… it was my diet.
I was eating more homemade sugary treats at work. Plus, I was baking an insane amount myself. There was pumpkin bread, candy, hot cocoa, and cookies lining my kitchen counters. Normally, I never have these foods in my house but…hello…I kept them around for
me my family—or so I told myself.
Yep, you got it. The big change was…the SUGAR.
How did I know this was affecting my PMS? I experimented. I tried cutting the sugar out completely and I would feel better within days. Then I would eat something sweet and quickly found my irritability increasing. When January finally came around and the sugar treats disappeared from my counter so did the extreme PMS.
So how does sugar do this?
The real cause for PMS is simply this: Your hormones become unbalanced, your estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease, either within a cycle or all the time.
There are many things that can cause these hormone imbalances, such as eating too many high-sugar, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, stress, and too much alcohol. Alcohol contributes to PMS problems because it turns into sugar in your blood stream but also puts a strain on the liver and prevents it from excreting excess estrogen.
FACT: Estrogen and not enough progesterone = PMS.
Our hormones are responsible for maintaining mood, reproductive function, sleep, sex drive, and the ability to handle stress. So it stands to reason that when hormones are out of balance, the range of symptoms is wide and different for everyone.
But this does have a happy ending. Once I hit menopause, the PMS I suffered basically faded away. Yes, THE CHANGE brought a GOOD change. In fact, I would say that entering menopause was a blessing for my PMS. But that doesn’t mean that I can now eat tons of sugar. In fact, watching the sugar intake is still a very real part of my life.
Now it’s called “belly fat.”