• Dr. Randi Brown, ND

PMS is Common, But is it Normal?

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Breakdown:

  • Estimates as high as 80% of women experience some form of premenstrual mood or physical symptom.

  • Nearly 8% of women have severe PMS that disrupts their social, work, or personal life.


What constitutes PMS?

  • Combination of mood disturbances and physical symptoms that occur in the latter half of the menstrual cycle.

  • Mood Disturbances: mood swings, irritability, and depression.

  • Physical Symptoms: abdominal bloating, cramping, breast tenderness, and headaches

  • General fatigue and cravings are also very common.

What causes PMS?

We don't exactly know.

It is thought that cyclical changes in sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) play a role, but newer research is investigating the central role of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, opioids, and GABA.

It's likely that PMS is multifactorial as no single cause has been identified, though a number of dietary, lifestyle, and other nutrient deficiencies have been suggested as potential risk factors.

Potential Risk Factors:

  • Genetic factors, as well as socioeconomics may play a role

  • Cigarette smoking, lack of adequate exercise and a standard American diet all seem to increase risk

  • Increased stress or daily burden

What can we do to improve PMS?

  1. Lifestyle optimization such as proper nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep is the cornerstone to a healthy PMS management treatment plan

  2. Nutritional support and replenishing antioxidants

  3. Botanical supplements that have been researched specifically for PMS

  4. Acupuncture

  5. Functional testing to evaluate estrogen metabolism, cortisol, and thyroid function

  6. Consider pharmacotherapy in addition to a comprehensive treatment plan

Menstrual health is important to talk about, and just because something may be common, does not mean it is "normal". There's a huge range in the severity, timing, and frequency of premenstrual symptoms so you should always discuss any menstrual concerns with your doctor to find out what treatment plan may be best suited to your needs.


Book online today to discuss your treatment options, or book a complimentary discovery call.


Dr. Randi Brown | Naturopathic Doctor, Victoria BC.

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Dr. Brown is a member in good standing with the British Columbia Association of Naturopathic Doctors (BCNA), the College of Naturopathic Physicians in BC (CNPBC) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND). She has pharmaceutical prescribing authority, and also holds certificates in acupuncture, IV and injection therapy, and has advanced cardiac life support training.

As a naturopathic doctor serving the communities of southern Vancouver Island, I acknowledge that land on which I practice naturopathic medicine is within the traditional territories of the Lkwungen (Esquimalt and Songhees), Malahat, Pacheedaht, Scia'new, T'Sou-ke, and WSANEC peoples.