What is premenstrual syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a mixture of emotional and physical symptoms that women experience after ovulation and before their menstruation. It is thought to be due to the fact that estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly after ovulation. PMS symptoms should stop a few days after menstruation, as hormone levels begin to rise again. More than 90% women will experience PMS symptoms at some point in their lives. For some women, the symptoms are mild and manageable. However, for others, the pain and discomfort can be so severe that it interferes with daily life.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
Due to the decrease in hormone levels, women may experience many emotional symptoms such as
- mood swings
- crying periods
- sleep disturbances
- low sex drive
- changes in appetite and food cravings
Women may also experience various uncomfortable physical symptoms such as:
- diarrhea or constipation
- swollen or tender breasts
- low noise and light tolerance
There are some factors that can increase the severity of PMS symptoms. A family or personal history of depression will increase the likelihood of experiencing depression as a symptom. One large study found that women who smoked tobacco experienced worse PMS symptoms than those who did not smoke. Eat healthier throughout the month and avoid
Sugary or caffeinated beverages can also help reduce problems. PMS symptoms are more likely to affect women in their thirties and may continue until menopause. For some women, the symptoms worsen with age, and in some cases, PMS can develop into a Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This is similar to PMS but much more severe.
What are the current treatment options?
The symptoms of PMS are very varied and can affect each woman very differently. For this reason, there is no miracle cure for all of them together. However, there are many options for treating them individually. For physical symptoms like headaches, cramps, and swelling, there are over-the-counter pharmaceutical options like aspirin and ibuprofen. These are a good short-term fix, but any chemical taken for a long time is bad for your health. Another option is prescription medication. Certain diuretics can help with swelling, and there are several types of birth control that can help correct hormonal imbalances.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to relieve emotional symptoms. All of these treatments can be successful. However, there are always risks involved in taking any medication. Several lifestyle changes can help, such as eating healthy and being more physically active.
How can CBD help?
Mountains of anecdotal evidence confirm that it helps with pain, nausea, anxiety and more. However, for some women, taking THC does not work for them, and it can actually increase feelings of sadness and anxiety. This is where CBD comes in. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is similar to THC but does not produce the "high" associated with the plant. CBD can actually reduce the feelings of anxiety caused by THC.
CBD is already used to relieve many of the emotional symptoms of PMS. Its use in treating sadness, feelings of anxiety and mood swings has been very successful. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors can be found in abundance in areas of the brain related to anxiety and sadness. This means that cannabinoids such as CBD can help regulate these emotional conditions. CBD has also made a name for itself as a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic. This may be useful when it comes to relieving the physical symptoms of PMS. Some women experience headaches and cramps as severe
that even getting out of bed is difficult. An early 2012 study found that cannabinoids such as CBD are "ideal therapeutic agents in the treatment of inflammatory and neuropathic pain" and that they can weaken pain sensations "without significantly causing a major psychoactive side effect and tolerance of pain medications" (2012, NCBI).
CBD is a health supplement, used to support homeostasis and maintain a healthy immune system. It is not a cure, nor is it a medicine, but it can provide relief from many physical and emotional problems. Medical research is limited due to its cost, but what has been discovered so far is very promising. In addition, the anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of cannabinoids such as CBD is overwhelming. If you're thinking of trying it, it's always best to do as much research as possible, and consult with your doctor.
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Xiong, W. et al. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. [online] PubMed. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/ [Accessed 3 Jan. 2020].