Premenstrual syndrome is defined by a set of symptoms that wax and wane through the progression of the menstrual cycle. Some women notice only minor changes in physical and emotional well being while others suffer nearly debilitating symptoms, most women experience symptoms whose severity falls somewhere between those two extremes. All variations on this theme result from fluctuations in a few important intercellular messengers on a backdrop of an individual’s unique body chemistry.
The Underlying Causes
A number of theories have been developed to explain the spectrum of symptoms described by premenstrual women since the time of Hippocrates. Fortunately, a wealth of both ancient remedies and modern research are currently available to provide effective relief from PMS.
At the heart of each explanation for premenstrual symptoms lays the combined effect of individual physiology and fluctuating hormone levels. In some circumstances, certain cells of the body become overly sensitized to the messages they receive, causing a larger effect than intended. In the case of premenstrual syndrome, some women may be overly sensitized to the effects of relative and absolute changes in hormone levels. Add to this factors such as excess stress, inadequate sleep, dietary disturbances or altered endocrine function and otherwise normal hormonal signals can lead to extreme changes in physical and emotion well being.
The two most well-known hormones driving the physical changes unique to women, estrogen and progesterone, have a large part to play in the experience of premenstrual symptoms. There are, however, other actors helping to create the variety of distressing symptoms occurring in the week or two before menstruation. Prostaglandins, important chemical messengers in a variety of body processes including the inflammatory cascade, are believed to be at the heart of premenstrual symptoms.
In addition to the wealth of physical changes such as bloating, weight gain, body aches, and indigestion occurring just prior to menstruation, many women also experience emotional symptoms due in large part to the effect of estrogen and progesterone levels on serotonin activity in the brain. Without enough of this ‘feel good’ brain chemical, premenstrual women are prone to bouts of depression, fatigue and anxiety. Due to serotonin’s role in moderating pain perception, aches, pains and tenderness are also a commonly occurring premenstrual symptoms. Women who have naturally low levels of serotonin activity are even more likely to experience emotional and pain-related symptoms prior to menstruation.
Alleviating Premenstrual Symptoms the Natural Way
Although the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome abate with the onset of menstruation and disappear for good after menopause, there is no need to simply ‘grin and bear’ these symptoms month after month and year after year. Both lifestyle modification and dietary supplementation can be very effective natural remedies for alleviating premenstrual symptoms.
Exercise is an excellent means for managing premenstrual symptoms, acting both directly on the causes and indirectly on the symptoms. Physical activity stimulates the body to metabolize and excrete any hormone excess, including stress hormones. Staying active also curbs appetite and improves sleep quality.
Avoiding excess caffeine and sugar also helps prevent premenstrual symptoms. A diet including healthy omega-6 fatty acids promotes proper prostaglandin balance and thereby diminishing premenstrual symptoms.
While these lifestyle changes can be very effective in curbing the experience of premenstrual symptoms, they may not always be sufficient in the face of all that life can demand. For this reason, a dietary supplement that acts on all premenstrual symptoms helps ensure that they are kept in check, in even the most hectic of times.
Saffron extract, a natural derivative of the Crocus sativus plant, has been used for centuries to treat and prevent the onset of premenstrual symptoms. This simple supplement provides a multi-modal means of combatting the causes and symptoms of PMS. The anti-inflammatory nature of Saffron promotes prostaglandin balance. It is also associated with enhanced serotonin activity which helps to improve mood and diminish depressive symptoms.
Supplementation with Saffron further protects against the dietary disturbances that can exacerbate PMS symptoms by providing a rich source of vitamins and minerals. As a natural appetite suppressant, Saffron extract also helps control the cravings that contribute to the weight gain and poor dietary choice that can result from PMS.
With the potential for improved health, well being and control over premenstrual syndromes all backed by a money-back guarantee, there’s just no reason not to try Saffron extract.
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