PMS is not 'normal' - here is how to eliminate it

Pretty much every woman on the planet has experienced some symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome before.


Nowadays, women and people who have periods just have to accept that for a week every month, they are going to experience a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Society, especially in the mainstream Western world, has normalised having bad cramps, taking painkillers, irrational mood swings, acne, and low moods; when actually, in most cases the severity (if not the occurrence) of any of these symptoms is preventable.

The key to understanding why more and more of our female society struggles with PMS and many other common cycle-related issues is understanding the culprit - hormone imbalance.

Understanding hormone imbalance

The menstrual cycle has always seen a drop in estrogen and progesterone in the luteal phase (which is typically the week leading up to your period). This drop typically means you will feel less energy and less of a positive mood due to this natural process. However, the presence and severity of PMS has increased dramatically in our Western society alongside many hormone-related diseases plaguing women like PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, and ovarian and breast cancer.

In the case of PMS, lifestyle factors and nutrition can have a drastic impact on the health and ease of our cycle. Unfortunately, our environment today contains so many hormone-disrupting chemicals, in our food and our products. These chemicals mess with the balance of estrogen and progesterone and, therefore, we are having more troublesome periods than ever before. It is vital to understand this and make the changes you can for optimal health.

The main things that disrupt hormone levels in women today leading to PMS are:

  • processed/junk foods/lack of adequate nutrition
  • cosmetics, chemical products,estrogen-disrupting products
  • alcohol
  • lack of exercise
  • constant stress
  • lack of good sleep
  • chemicals in plastic
  • the pill
  • poor gut health

PMS can be relieved quickly once a lot of the things above are cleared up. When I work with clients and educate them on behaviours and lifestyle changes that will help balance their cycle, they usually notice a drastic reduction in PMS or painful periods within a cycle or two.

How to reduce PMS 

Every woman should have the knowledge and resources to reduce their levels of PMS, and when we turn to nutrition and lifestyle - there is a lot we can improve. The foundation for restoring hormone balance and improving your cycle lies with the following:

  • Eating a whole food, predominantly plant-based diet, removing junk and processed foods, limiting/removing dairy.
  • Eating a high intake of cruciferous vegetables for liver metabolism and detox.
  • Eating sufficient Omega 3s - can be found easily in chia seeds or flax. Wild-caught fish in certain parts of the world is a good option here too but only if you don’t have any underlying disease you are trying to reverse.
  • Exercise - if you are not already, move your body a few times a week but limit more high-intensity exercise often if you are dealing with hormone imbalance.
  • Stress reduction practices regulating your nervous system i.e. regular yoga, breathing practices, meditation.
  • Seed cycling (a practice where the first two weeks of your cycle you ingest flax seeds daily and then the second half you ingest seeds high in omega-6 like sunflower seeds for progesterone production).
  • Lifestyle changes like eight hours of sleep, limited blue light, rising in the morning, and taking sunlight.
  • Some natural supplements assist PMS too, such as magnesium.

Together, these changes can go a long way, and your discomfort can be eased getting your body on track for a much healthier cycle and overall health. If you are curious or would like more information about how I work with clients to restore hormone balance, please get in touch.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, W4
Written by Helena Phillips, BSc, MSc, R.H.N, RYT
London, W4

I am a Women's Holistic Nutritionist (MSc, RHN) and somatic coach. I work with women to restore the balance of their hormones, establish a healthy relationship with their bodi, eat more mindfully and intuitively, and curate radical self-love.

I focus on plant-forward diets, sustainable long-term behavior changes + eliminating emotional eating.

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