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Why a PSL is not helping your PMS symptoms

October 24, 2016
coffee, pms, toronto naturopath, naturopathic doctor toronto, period naturopath

I love coffee for its taste, compared to many of my family and friends who need coffee to power them throughout the day. In 2015 research showed that 63% of people ages 25-34 drank coffee in the past day, and that number keeps increasing as age increases. In fact, coffee is actually the most consumed beverage  in Canada (above both tap AND bottled water) – we are pretty addicted!

This begs the question, why are so many of us drinking so much coffee? Without a finding a study, it may be safe to say that our society loves this drink so much because it keeps them awake and focused (those long line-ups at a coffee shop every morning may be proof).

What does coffee have to do with PMS?

PMS is known as premenstrual syndrome, and typically occurs 5 days before menstruation begins (for at least 3 cycles in a row), end within 4 days of menstruation starting, and interferes with normal activities. Symptoms are wide ranging and include: depression, angry outbursts, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, increased naps, changes in food cravings, breast tenderness, bloating, headache, fatigue, skin problems and abdominal pain. I personally notice skin changes (my dreaded period pimple) and breast tenderness.

When it comes to fatigue and depression, research shows that in PMS symptoms typically begin in the luteal phase where progesterone should be high. Moreover, another study demonstrated that women with PMS in the luteal phase performed poorly on the psychomotor vigilance test that measures time it takes to respond to a visual stimulus. No significant was seen with maintenance of wakefulness task, which measures how alert you are.

According to theAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women should be avoiding caffeine (among some other dietary changes). Research is on the fence when it comes specifically to caffeine and PMS, however you can’t dispute that so many of us reach for that cup of coffee when we’re feeling tired. Coffee acts as a stimulant, and the more of it that we consume, the less effect that it has – which may be why most Canadians drink 3.2 cups per day.

Increasing Energy, Decreasing Fatigue

When it comes down to it, fatigue must be our biggest issue. In short, we lead busy and stressful lives which may be taxing on us and our energy. Instead of reaching for that PSL-quick fix, why not reach for adaptogenic herbs which help balance the body’s stress response, eating high energy foods like protein and avoiding sugary foods and drinks, drink water, sign up for the yoga class, and make sure you get enough sleep.

Final Thoughts

If you feel that you are doing all the right things to help keep your energy high and fatigue low but nothing is helping, your next step may be to consult your Naturopathic Doctor to go over particulars in your blood work (ferritin, B12, TSH) and your overall lifestyle to see what treatments (like acupuncture!) may be best for your unique case.

Now that you have a solid plan, please sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for more informative and useful content like this! I want to make sure that you have a good flow!

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