In this episode, naturopathic clinician Angela Hywood returns to the show to talk with host Sara Le Brun Blashka, MS, about the role of herbs in premenstrual syndrome (PMS). According to The Office on Women’s Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 90 percent of women report premenstrual symptoms at some point in their lives.
There are different PMS-related symptoms experienced between individuals, even different symptoms experienced by the same individual on different cycles. Angela breaks down PMS symptoms into four main subtypes, which she says can help in the decision-making process for diet and lifestyle support solutions.
Females with high histamine associated with their menstrual cycle also may lack the ability to produce an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), which is responsible for breaking down histamine. Angela’s “giveaway detective signs” include migraine, general fluid retention, loose bowels, cramps, and ovulation and period pain. She recommends supporting the detoxification of histamine and supporting the immune system. Relevant herbs include rosemary, Schisandra, black cumin seed, and skullcap.
When considering iodine for breast pain during PMS, Angela looks for fibrocystic breast issues pre-menstrually. Importantly, she stresses being careful with dosages and keeping a close watch over individual iodine status.
Wild yam may provide estrogen support for women experiencing period pain. However, there are many misconceptions about the usage of wild yam, something Angela calls “the wild yam scam.”
>> Audio bookmark: Angela’s go-to herbal protocol for the luteal phase:
Lastly, Angela highlights the importance of a wholistic approach to addressing PMS, especially stress management and mental health support.
>> Audio bookmark: “Take a step back and ask: What is our body asking us?”
“Persevering in the face of extreme pain. It has been a journey full of so many highs and lows. I guess at times, with the pain being so severe, it was difficult to let go and accept that that was the reality of the situation”
says 26-year-old Amelia about her journey with endometriosis.