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Nutrition and Premenstrual Syndrome


Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The premenstrual syndrome it afflicts millions of women around the world throughout the reproductive period. More than 85% of the female population suffers by experiencing one or more symptoms in the days before or during menstruation; among these women, approximately 2-10% show symptoms that are so severe that they make it difficult, if not impossible, to carry out normal daily activities.

Premenstrual syndrome can manifest itself with mood disorders, depression, irritability, headaches, breast tenderness, severe weight gain and water retention.

The real cause of this now social phenomenon remains unknown, and there are different theories advanced over time. Without a doubt the hormonal change of this period represents a strong contributory cause. In fact, during the phase preceding the arrival of menstruation, there is a strong imbalance between estrogen and progesterone (hormones produced by the ovary), which influence the metabolism of serotonin involved in mood tone, on the hydro-saline balance through anti-diuretic hormone, on prolactin implicated in breast tenderness, but also on prostaglandins implicated in the perception of pain and inflammation.

On this basis, numerous therapies have been proposed over time, such as pill contraceptivei diuretics and of reducers of prolactinwhich however, despite having a beneficial effect, have numerous side effects.
However, a certain benefit can be derived from some precautions indiet daily and by the use of natural principles.

One of the most common symptoms encountered during PMS is weight gain. This characteristic is often due to a strong increase in water retention, but in some cases it is aggravated by the greater intake of sugars which often accompanies this period.

Let's look at some concrete cases.

Nutrition and Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome: Why do you experience abdominal bloating?

In the premenstrual phase and during menstruation, one of the most common complaints is the sensation of abdominal swelling sometimes accompanied by a considerable weight gain. This happens due to the relaxation and muscle distension of the abdominal wall just before and during the menstrual phase.

Sometimes the swelling also affects the legs; in this case the cause is to be found in water retention lurking right at the “cycle”. This situation is due to a spillage of waste from the capillaries inside the tissues, an excess that the lymphatic system is unable to drain. In this case, localized edema forms beneath the tissues, particularly in the legs. Here the increase in secretion comes into play above all progesterone throughout the second phase of the cycle. The walls of the vessels are particularly sensitive to this hormone and increase their permeability in response to it. Finally, progesterone has an effect on the smooth muscles of the body, causing a decrease in its motility with consequent abdominal distension, which is the cause of the feeling of bloating felt in this period.

Premenstrual Syndrome and Constipation

In some cases there is an increase in constipation.

To prevent these disorders, you need to observe some precautions and change your eating habits before your period. First of all, one is recommended in the ten days before the onset of menstruation iposodic diet, i.e. low in salt, to avoid the tendency to water retention and swelling. This means avoiding some foods rich in sodium: cured meats, sausages, cheeses, smoked meat and fish, and also all baked products, such as bread, pizza and biscuits.

But that's not enough!

A particularly rich diet grassi saturated resulting from these foods can slow down the lymphatic system, overloading it with the entry into circulation (see chylomicrons) of fat droplets acquired through nutrition, which can “clog” the lymphatic drainage.

Premenstrual Syndrome: Which Diet to Follow?

In light of what has been said, it is important to follow a low lipid diet avoiding all sausage products and animal fats, preferring the consumption of fruit, vegetables and legumes. In fact, these foods have a greater quantity of substances called lignans, which remove excess hormones from the circulation, restoring the hormonal balance.

Furthermore, fruit and vegetablesthanks to their greater quantity of minerals, together with a generous supply of water, they re-establish the hydro-saline situation, increasing diuresis and eliminating excess waste. Recent studies, in fact, have confirmed that a greater intake of calcium and magnesium, minerals present in vegetables and legumes, can significantly improve the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. These minerals can be gained through the intake of certain foods, such as wheat germ, soybeans, figs, corn, apples, walnuts, almonds, fish, garlic, peaches and apricots.

In some cases, the situation appears to be worsened by other pathologies, such as the modification of thyroid hormones which are unable to carry out their activity effectively, worsening water retention even further. In these cases it is useful to support thyroid function through the generous intake of foods rich in selenium, such as wheat bran, which the thyroid strongly needs to synthesize hormones.

In particularly serious situations of water retention it is useful to use draining phytotherapeutic products, such as green tea (which is also a strong antioxidant), in the form of herbal teas or concentrated extracts, together with infusions containing birch, a powerful diuretic. In case of an existing complication of the venous microcirculation it is useful to use extracts based on flavonoids, compounds in which all purple fruits, such as plums, grapes etc., are rich, which reduce capillary permeability.

By Doctor Roberto Uliano

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