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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Chiropractic

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Chiropractic

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by mood swings, tender breasts, swollen abdomen, headaches, back pain, food cravings, fatigue, irritability or depression in the days before a woman's monthly period. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild to incapacitating and may last from a couple of days to two weeks. It has been estimated that three of every four menstruating women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome, and it is more likely to trouble women from their late 20s to early 40s. Between 10-20% of all women experience symptoms that are severe or even disabling. PMS is thought to be a side effect of hormonal changes during the monthly menstrual cycle and can be made worse by stress, decreased serotonin levels in the brain and subluxations in the low back. Although chiropractic care cannot fix the way your body responds to the hormonal changes that precedes menstruation, several studies have shown that it can help decrease many of the symptoms of PMS without the potential side effects of prescription drugs. Since the nerves that exit the low back are responsible for regulating all of the tissues in the lower abdomen, any pressure or irritation that can be alleviated through chiropractic care can be helpful. Contact our chiropractor . . . we can help!

The Premenstrual Syndrome

PMS is a recurrent, variable cluster of troublesome physical and emotional symptoms that develops from seven to 14 days before the onset of menses, and subsides when menstruation occurs. Approximately one-third of all premenopausal women are affected, primarily those 25-40 years of age. In about 10 percent of affected women, the syndrome may be recurrent and severe. Symptoms can be classified as:
  1. Behavioral (nervousness; anxiety; irritability; mood swings; fatigue; lethargy; or depression).
  2. Gastrointestinal (abdominal bloating; diarrhea or constipation; or appetite changes with cravings for such foods as sugar, salt or chocolate).
  3. Reproductive Tissue (breast tenderness and swelling; uterine cramping; or altered libido).
  4. Other (headache; backache; acne; ankle and finger swelling).
Though not every woman experiences all the symptoms or signs at one time, many consistently complain of bloating; breast pain; ankle swelling; a sense of increased weight; skin disorders; irritability; aggressiveness; depression; libido changes; lethargy; and food cravings.

Causative Factors

One of the underlying factors linked to PMS is an elevated estrogen-to-progesterone (E-P) ratio five to 10 days prior to menses. This can arise from excess estrogen synthesis; decreased estrogen clearance (liver detoxification of circulating estrogen); or reduced secretion of progesterone from the corpus luteum. (After ovulation, the corpus luteum is formed in the ovaries, which secretes progesterone. If fertilization does not take place, it shrinks and progesterone secretion drops off, until approximately day 14 of the next menstrual cycle, when a new corpus luteum is formed in the ovaries.) Typically, this derangement is caused by a combined mild estrogen excess and mild progesterone deficiency.

Chiropractic Treatments for PMS

A number of small clinical studies have demonstrated that the combination of chiropractic manipulation and soft tissue therapy is an effective intervention in the management of various PMS symptoms, primarily regarding the relief of associated back pain, abdominal cramping and dysmenorrhea. A statistically significant improvement in PMS symptoms was noted in the group receiving adjustments and soft tissue therapy from a chiropractor. In this study the treatment frequency was two to three times in the week before menses for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.

Nutrition and Supplements

At bones and beyond we provide the highest quality supplements that is effective for PMS. In recent years mainstream practitioners have acknowledged that various nutrient deficiencies and dietary patterns may play a central role in the cause of menstrual discomfort. The mainstream literature now cites deficiencies in calcium; magnesium; manganese; B-vitamins; vitamin E; and gamma linolenic acid as being linked to PMS. A high-sugar diet, and the consumption of large amounts of caffeinated beverages or alcohol have also been identified as factors that contribute to PMS. In this regard, a number of clinical studies have shown that certain nutrition and supplementation interventions can be effective in the management of PMS, and should be considered in the overall treatment plan.