What can men do about PMS?
“Frailty, thy name is woman!” said Shakespeare but I’m sure he had no idea what it is like to suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome. My spouse used to joke that he had a full 6 minute window of opportunity to talk to me between my pre-and post menstrual phase – without having to duck the crockery.
As PMS has many unpleasant symptoms, ranging from cravings, irritability, depression, water retention to headaches or skin problems, it is best diagnosed by looking at the timing and cyclical nature of symptoms. Usually, they occur one to fourteen days before onset of the period, with considerable relief when menstruation begins. If this is the case, your partner may be victim to the dreaded PMS.
Each month, hormonal fluctuations combine with nutritional and psychological factors to turn up to 70% of women in the UK from Dr Jekyll into Mrs Hyde. Career opportunities and family life often suffer in the process. I can assure you that she is not deliberately behaving like a prima donna but biochemically “out of kilter” so-to-speak! Rather than suffer in silence, join forces when you shop and cook to implement simple, effective dietary and lifestyle changes:
Cravings for sweet things increase as she approaches her period – so does her weight and bad mood. Instead of buying chocolate, consider a supplement to reduce sugar cravings such as chromium or L-Glutamine. Avoid sugary foods or drinks and eat small meals at regular intervals.
Refined foods (white flour and white rice) drain energy and encourage mood swings. Stay clear of junky, processed meals and choose complex carbohydrates (like brown rice or oats). A little protein at meals helps to stabilise energy.
Excess salt increase water retention and bloatedness. An addiction to salty crisps may indicate a lack of vital minerals. Add herbs to food or low-sodium salt.
Stimulants like tea, coffee, coke, chocolate, nicotine and alcohol contain substances which aggravate PMS symptoms and deplete nutrients. Ask for tasty alternatives in health food stores.
Red meat and dairy can aggravate breast tenderness. Choose fish, white meat and vegetarian sources of protein such as soya.
Increase intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and water (6-8 glasses daily) and encourage her to exercise and destress regularly. A foot massage should go down well!
The main nutrients needed to combat PMS are the B vitamins (especially vitamin B6), magnesium, evening primrose oil, vitamin E and chromium. Rather than self-prescribing, ask a nutritionist to prepare a personal supplement programme for your lady. This also involves checking out other factors such as blood sugar imbalances, allergies, pollution, yeast infections and lifestyle. By actively managing and reducing PMS symptoms together, you are far less likely to agree with Shakespeare!
© 2011 Martina Watts MSc Nut Med, First Published Brighton Argus March 2000