Women can experience a wide range of symptoms during the phase when hormones are high.  PMS describes this time at the end of each monthly cycle before menstruation.  The Pill is offered to women for nearly any hormone imbalance. The impact on the gut microbiome, libido, and pleasure is often minimized.  Using the Pill to get rid of PMS or other symptoms associated with your cycle results in muscle loss.

Once menstruation begins women are likely to have more energy, creativity and a feeling of expansion.  This is a great time to build muscle as estrogen is on the rise and helps with this.  Appetite and cravings are minimal.  Then ovulation occurs and progesterone rises. This hormone is catabolic meaning it breaks down muscle.  Women need to eat protein within thirty minutes of exercise to offset this.  This is true at all phases of our cycle.

We can harness the power of our hormones to go hard at the right time, fuel in a smart way and rest when needed.  During PMS, you may have less energy, headaches or digestive symptoms.  You will feel more hungry than you did at ovulation.  Your mood will change but there are simple ways of mitigating symptoms without turning them off with the Pill. Gentle exercise or movement can help. So can a specific nutrient.

Mood & Motivation

Estrogen curbs your appetite, makes you more social and helps you build muscle.  For anyone doing low-carb or keto, estrodial will decrease and estrone will do the opposite.  This can lead to fat storage especially around the abdomen.  If the body senses that you may be at threat of starvation cortisol increases.  In fact, some of your progesterone may even get converted to stress hormones.

Bloating or water retention before your period is caused by estrogen.  In fact, your blood is actually thicker which makes it more difficult to exercise hard.  Focus on gentle movement, reflection and don’t be hard on yourself.  Estrogen also increases serotonin and modifies endorphins. If you aren’t fighting against yourself it can be a brilliant time of emotional intelligence and responsiveness.

Progesterone in the Pill

This hormone raises body temperature.  It also breaks down muscle.  In studies comparing women taking the pill to those who did not, the findings were dramatic.  Those not on the pill had better recovery and more aerobic capacity.  They also build 40 to 60% more muscle!  Muscle is important for long-term health.  It is actually crucial to aging well and avoiding injury.  Keep in mind that progesterone only birth control suppresses testosterone which can have a variety of health consequences as well. And it’s not real progesterone but a synthetic drug version.

Tips for PMS

  1.  Use leucine for mood.  This amino acid can help and is found in protein rich foods.
  2. Nitric oxide for migraines.  Bolster up your nitric oxide by eating more beets, pomegranate, watermelon and spinach.
  3. Hydrate.  Ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids.  Two liters a day and more if it’s hot out or you are very active.
  4. Fiber.  Avoid constipation and curb the loose stools by staying steady with your fiber intake.  Flax seeds are great and a phytoestrogen.
  5. Essential fatty acids.  Basically eat fish often.  Aim for 5 servings a week or supplement with fish oil.
  6. Magnesium helps muscles.  The uterus is a muscle.  So is the GI tract.  This is why you may get gut symptoms around your cycle.

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