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About PMT

Do you Suffer with PMT?

  • Yes but it has got worse as I have lost weight

    Votes: 2 22.2%
  • Yes but it has got better since I have lost weight

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • No, not at all

    Votes: 4 44.4%

  • Total voters


Loving the Cambridge Diet
Do you suffer from PMT?

Having been through horrendous PMT recently myself I came across this article which I thought was concise and very interesting -

Time of the month

by Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas looks at natural ways to beat PMT

Here you go again - the bit of your cycle when you don't feel yourself, things get on top of you and your body seems to have a life of it's own. It seems too easy to blame it all on hormones. But then isn't that the bottom line on pre-menstrual tension (PMT) - raging hormones?

Unfortunately, the answer is neither yes nor no because PMT isn't a straightforward condition. For many years PMT was thought to be a figment of a woman's imagination; just an excuse to blow off steam, get a few days off work and, generally, behave badly. All that changed in 1987 when it was officially declared a 'psychiatric disorder' by the American Psychiatric Association.

PMT is as common as it is difficult to treat

Officially, the syndrome is made up of a collection of more than 150 different symptoms and is experienced by around 90% of women at some point in their reproductive lives. While some women are told that PMT will go away after they have a child, others find that childbirth is the trigger for PMT, often with a vengeance.

There seems little disagreement that body, mind and emotions do change premenstrually. While PMT is now recognised as a legitimate medical condition, it's worth considering the flip side of the argument - if up to 90 per cent of women suffer regularly from one or more of the symptoms of PMT, is it really a disorder or simply a normal, if somewhat unglamorous, part of being a woman?

Conventional medicine believes in a hormonal cause of PMT. Women may be offered synthetic hormones, such as the birth control pill, to 'regulate' their cycles. PMT guru Katrina Dalton, author of PMT - The Essential Guide to Treatment Options (Thorsons, £7.99), concurs with this view and is an enthusiastic proponent of progesterone treatment for severe PMT.
But most women experience only mild to moderate PMT symptoms and, while the holistic view doesn't rule out hormones, it does take a wider view.

PMT symptoms usually occur during the second half of the cycle

Symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to fluid retention and food cravings generally last several days, and end when your period begins. From a holistic point of view, there are several complex biochemical processes which can throw your normal hormonal pattern out of balance. Diet and lifestyle are very influential here. Holistic therapists believe that things like sugar, fat, salt and complex carbohydrates influence hormones and other potent chemical mediators.
Excess sugar intake has been linked with fluid retention. This is because sugar triggers insulin secretion and suppresses a substance called ketoacid, which helps the kidneys clear excess sodium and water. Without ketoacid, sodium and water build up, causing weight gain, breast congestion and tenderness, abdominal bloating, and puffy face and fingers.
High fat intake can also influence water retention. In one study several years ago a group of women suffering from PMT were put on a diet composed of 40% fat. They then switched to a diet with only 20% fat. When PMT symptoms of the two periods were compared there were significant decreases in weight gain, bloating, and breast tenderness with the lower fat diet.
While studies into salt intake have been inconclusive, some have found a relationship between caffeine and PMT. The results of one study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1990 are particularly striking. Women who drank one cup of coffee per day increased their risk of developing PMT by 30% - the risk jumped to 700% in women who drank eight to ten cups per day.
OK, so that's the bad news. The good news is that there are alternatives
Complex carbohydrate foods, such as cereal grains, pulses and raw fruits and vegetables, help to clear estrogen from your gut more quickly. By reducing estrogen levels, fibre may also lessen emotional symptoms associated with PMT. For instance, one study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1989 found that when women suffering from severe premenstrual depressions ate carbohydrate-rich, reduced-protein evening meals in the premenstrual phase, depression, tension, anger, confusion, sadness and fatigue were significantly reduced.
Increase your intake of water, which acts as a diuretic, encouraging your body to eliminate excess fluids. At the same time reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol can increase your sugar cravings because it causes a temporary drop in blood sugar levels, creating a vicious cycle.
Of all the supplements vitamin B6 has proved the most useful in treating PMT. Several scientific studies have shown significant improvements in sugar cravings, irritability and bloating when women take extra B6 premenstrually. Try taking the following: 100 to 400 mg of vitamin B6 daily, beginning 10 days before your period; 400 to 1,200 iu of vitamin E daily, throughout the entire menstrual cycle, to relieve breast tenderness and mood swings and, at least, 1,000 mg of calcium daily to help prevent water retention, mood swings and cramps.
It is also important to have plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet. The omega-6 oils in your diet. Flaxseed (linseed) oil, cod liver oil, and cold-pressed vegetable oils such as evening primrose oil are excellent sources. Evening Primrose oil has been proven to ease breast tenderness. Take 1000mg daily throughout your cycle.
Stay active. Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing, but a 20-30 minute aerobic workout, two or three times a week, will increase your production of serotonin and endorphins, which help natural relaxation and sleep.

You may have to experiment to find what works for you. But if you want to go the natural route some therapies have been shown to be more successful than others.
The herbal remedy Agnus castus (or chaste tree) extract has long been a favourite of herbalists and naturopaths for treating PMT. A new study conducted in Germany and published in the British Medical Journal found that more than half of the women who took the remedy experienced up to 505 reduction in symptoms. Irritability, mood alteration, anger, bloating, headache and breast fullness were all reduced, and only bloating was unaffected by the remedy. The authors went on to suggest that Agnus castus should now be considered by conventional physicians as an effective way to treat symptoms in the pre-menstrual period.
From a holistic point of view, when a woman has PMT symptoms, the liver which breaks down nutrients and estrogen so they can be excreted, is often involved. Herbs and vegetables that improve liver metabolism include beets, carrots, globe artichokes, turmeric, flaxseed, milk thistle seeds, dandelion greens, and dandelion and liquorice root teas.
A newer homeopathic remedy which is being used to treat PMT and other 'women's problems' is Folliculinum - made from homeopathic doses of birth control pills. If you are not keen on taking the pill you may wish to talk to your homeopath about this remedy.
In the week leading up to your period don't be afraid to indulge yourself a little

Rest more and eat more (nutritious foods, that is - your metabolism will be faster in the week before your period). Consider booking a regular massage in the later half of your cycle. It can help create a feeling of well-being, and it's also useful for easing boating and water retention.

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Loving the Cambridge Diet
My (very mild) PMT disappeared altogether for the first 7 months I have been on the Cambridge diet.

Now, all of a sudden it is back with a vengeance.

My CDC says that this happens as we lose weight.

On thinking about it the last time I had -

*painful, swollen breasts

*horrendous water-retention - swollen fingers, weight gain
(on Monday evening I had gained SEVEN pounds in weight!!! 7 pounds, that is impossible!!! It stayed all day yesterday. Today it has vanished again and have started a period.



*being tearful

*losing my temper

I was a similar weight - and less - that I am now

So there may be a point to this?

What do you think?

S: 16st4lb C: 10st12lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 25.3 Loss: 5st6lb(33.33%)
I can't really vote as when I was overweight I didn't have periods at all - now they're back regular as clockwork, complete with pms! I def retain water (mainly in my boobs lol) and crave carbs like mad!

Corinne x

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