Guts and Girl Bits Podcast Episode #44
While PMS may be common it is not ‘normal’ and can be a sign of deeper hormonal imbalances. PMS can express in different ways (there are 150 different type of signs and symptoms that can be attributed to PMS) and one of the more severe forms of this is PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
While up to 80% of women experience symptoms of PMS, 8% of women experience a more severe type of PMS called PMDD which usually starts occurring straight after ovulation (yep, these women often experience 14 days of severe mood symptoms such as aggression, hostility, paranoia, anxiety and depression ).
PMS is a condition that can respond so beautifully to natural treatments, so I am so very excited to share this episode with you.
I am also releasing this episode in April which is PMS awareness month. Please share this with anyone who you feel would benefit from learning how PMS and PMDD is something that should not be dismissed, and what they may be able to do to support it naturally
In this podcast episode naturopath Lisa Costa Bir shares her knowledge on how to nourish your hormones and to address the driving factors that cause PMS and we dive deep into PMDD.
Have a listen here or on the embedded player below:
Get in touch with Lisa…
Lisa is a leading Naturopath in the Sutherland Shire. Lisa strives to show her clients that good health is not be simply the absence of disease but rather a state where they find mental, physical and spiritual balance in all aspects of their life.
Lisa is also a lecturer and clinical supervisor at Endeavour College of Natural Therapies where she mentors students completing degrees in Nutrition and Naturopathy and has taught nutrition to dancers at ED5 performing Arts School.
Check out previous podcasts that have featured Lisa here:
- Thyroid Health
- Ayurvedic Medicine
- How to lose weight without changing your diet (much)
- Adrenal fatigue (part 1)
- Adrenal fatigue (part 2)
Alison Mitchell 0:08
Hi everyone, you’re listening to Guts and Girl Bits. I’m Alison Mitchell a practicing naturopath and I hope to share with you all sorts of information about women’s health and digestive health to educate and empower you to make informed choices about your own health. Please remember that all information is eneral and does not replace consulting with your practitioner.
Hi, everyone, welcome to Guts and girl bits. Today I’m joined with Lisa Costa Bir – naturopath extraordinaire. She is known as the thyroid queen in many circles, but in this episode, we’re going to be talking about PMS, particularly PMS in the way that it affects mood and mental function as well. Thank you so much for joining us.
Lisa Costa Bir 0:53
Thanks for having me back again.
Alison Mitchell 0:56
If you didn’t catch it in previous episodes, Lisa came on and talked about thyroid health and Adrenal Exhaustion as well. So those were some really good episodes if you wanted to jump back on and have a listen to those. But PMS, it’s an interesting topic. Do you see a lot of that in clinic?
Lisa Costa Bir 1:13
I do. I see loads of it, I think is something that a lot of women suffer with, but just think that it’s normal.
Alison Mitchell 1:22
Yeah, they just have to put up with it.
Lisa Costa Bir 1:24
Alison Mitchell 1:25
And it’s something that you’ve had a bit of in your own personal journey.
Lisa Costa Bir 1:28
Oh I’m the PMS queen. So anyone that’s ever lived with me, my Mum, Dad, partners can definitely attest to the fact that I have made them suffer with my PMS, but I’ve I found that using naturopathic strategies in particular looking at thyroid and serotonin to be instrumental in helping me manage my own PMS. So I’m very passionate about helping other women because It is definitely something that can get better. And so women don’t have to dread their luteal phase. And for some women, it is literally from the point that they ovulate day, say that’s your day 14 that they suffer for two weeks out of every month. And you know, that’s half half the month.
Alison Mitchell 2:19
So they don’t had to dread that
Lisa Costa Bir 2:24
They don’t, and neither do their families.
Alison Mitchell 2:29
So the phases of a cycle. So there’s the two the two main phases, then you’ve got your follicular phase, the first half, and say average person wins the 28 day cycle that’s between days and then the second half is you luteal phase which is after ovulation. That’s also generally 14 days, but everyone’s so different. 28 days is just like a number that’s been put out there. Like I mean, the cycle could be 26 to 35 days and just be totally comfortable for you. It really just depends on you know how It’s affecting you if you’re getting any symptoms as well.
Lisa Costa Bir 3:02
Yeah, that’s really good to clarify because I have had patients say to me, I don’t have a 28 days cycle, you know, 30 days a day stressing out because it is 30 days, but that’s, that’s completely normal to me.
Alison Mitchell 3:14
Yeah, yeah, that’s it. The 28 days is a number that’s been brought by pill companies. Yeah. Okay. So Pms is typically it’s in that in that luteal phase.
Lisa Costa Bir 3:26
Exactly. You know, if you’re, if you’ve got mood issues, or breast tendonitis, or you know, backache or anything like that, and it’s day 13 that’s not really it’s not classified as pms.
Alison Mitchell 3:39
No, that would be ovulation symptoms or something else. Yeah. Okay. All right. So what are the main symptoms of PMS, and are the different types of symptoms you can get?
Lisa Costa Bir 3:48
So I think there’s over 150 different signs and symptoms associated with it. So there’s loads of them and every woman’s presentation is a little bit different, but generally Send them out more common things on slack mood or anxiety or irritability, bloating, pain dysmenorrhea. So, like back pain or cramping, breast tenderness, fluid retention, cravings, we could go on and on.
Alison Mitchell 4:18
So many Yeah. And because it is so many symptoms, it has been broken down into categories as well. So we’ve got PMS, a PMS anxiety, which is where you’ve got your typical sort of anxiety symptoms and, and more worrying and feeling like you want to be more introverted, and then PMS C which is why you’ve got your food cravings. And then you tend to get that what’s called hyper hydration in that period as well where you get more breast engorgement, fluid retention and bloating. And there is PMS D, which is like more mild experience of depression and then PMDD Which is what we’re going to be talking a bit more about in this session today to talk about that. Sure.
Lisa Costa Bir 5:05
So that relates to premenstrual dysmorphic disorder or more severe ball of pms. About 6% of women experienced premenstrual dysmorphic disorder. So just a heightened mood symptoms much flatter in terms of the mood more melancholy or more irritable, more sensitive, more paranoid, completely different to how that patient maybe is in follicular phase and so they notice a difference but they don’t really understand why am I having this heightened mood responses just, it can really impact their relationships can impact their jobs. I’ve had a patient that just kept cycling through job after job after job because she was very aggressive and at conflict with all her colleagues, but only in the luteal phase. They found it very difficult to deal with and she recognized I’ve got a problem but I don’t know. I don’t know what happens to me every every month i turn into this raging, another person that I don’t recognize and I don’t know how to stop it. So it can be very distressing to for an individual where they know this isn’t my normal self, but I can’t seem to stop myself from being like this.
Alison Mitchell 6:16
Yeah, it’s like they’ve got this little person comes out takes control, little devil. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 6:23
So, you know the sleep may also be affected sluggishness not wanting to be interacting with others tools that can be that social isolation and are very sensitive.
Alison Mitchell 6:37
which I think that it is fairly normal and then stage before you get periods to be a bit more introverted, but when it’s actually affecting your quality of life and you know, your ability to interact with people in that it’s completely different.
Lisa Costa Bir 6:51
And especially if it’s happening, you know, 10 days before you actually get your period and it’s gone on for that amount of time for a lot of people. If it happens one or two days before they have the blade. It’s not so much of an issue, but 10-14 days that’s a really long time, isn’t it to suffer?
Alison Mitchell 7:10
Do you think that there are other things that influence a woman’s susceptibility to experiencing PMS?
Lisa Costa Bir 7:15
Absolutely. I have no doubt that if a woman has experienced stress, it comes up again and again and again. But where a woman is juggling a lot. In the weeks prior to menstruation, I often find that pms is far worse. And I see this all the time I see myself, but I see it with students, for example, but during semester time students that patients of mine during the semester time because they’re juggling quite a lot in terms of their workload, maybe they’re working and all the rest of it and they’re putting that pressure on themselves. menstruation, or PMS is more profound. And then over the holidays or Christmas and someone if they’re quite relaxed, they get their period. They come like oh, who knew it was coming? Just because they’ve been getting more sleep. They’re, they’re more relaxed. So I feel like that poor stress adaption definitely causes the female hormones to go a little bit out of whack. Yeah. Which makes sense, right?
Alison Mitchell 8:16
Yeah. So if you’re at a stage in your life where you’re more stress, so be that, you know, going through HSC as a young person, or dealing with toddlers ors teenagers, yeah. Oh, yeah, flee. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 8:31
And I think that’s because we’re, we’re juggling a lot. Apart from cortisol, the stress hormones, it’s probably depleting nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins, which is so important for hormone balance. We won’t be getting enough sleep this multiple factors. Yeah, sure. Okay.
Alison Mitchell 8:50
So what’s actually what’s actually happening in the body when people are going through PMS?
Lisa Costa Bir 8:56
I think there’s lots of things happening differently. We’re seeing sensitivity with hormones with oestrogen and progesterone. If we’re thinking about what happens in that luteal phase, when most women are getting that exacerbation, we’re seeing fluctuations with oestrogen and progesterone. So that definitely impacts mood cravings and bloating and all that sort of stuff. But we’re also seeing dysregulation with neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and GABA and serotonin is the one that’s really studied in most detail, and we see that the dropping with estrogen, estrogen is neuro active so it it actually is involved in serotonin pathways. There’s some studies show that with the decline in oestrogen that occurs in that luteal phase, we also see fluctuations and really a drop in serotonin and that’s a big driver of the mood disturbance. Definitely have cravings and things like that. Yeah, for sure. And so in building upon that in conventional medicine, they’ve they’ve really understand that and that’s why antidepressants are actually the number one medication used to manage premenstrual dysmorphic disorder. Because they understand that serotonin has up to large, has a large part to play.
Alison Mitchell 10:19
I mean, I understand why that is used by when naturopaths and our naturopathic philosophy, – Tolle causum – cause is to treat the cause. And when you’re just addressing the serotonin directly, it’s not really getting to the underlying cause. I mean, everything has its place. But for us, we’ve got a very different treatment approach. No, definitely. Yeah. So, so obviously, like we know that using anti-depressants is going to be working on the neurotransmitters. So for PMS, pmdd. That’s going to be quite indicated for that but other forms of PMS often the oral contraceptive pill is recommended. And for my understanding one of those reasons is because it’s actually basically phasing out our own hormones and inhibiting ovulation. So you know, natural cycle, we’ve got estrogen coming up high high until ovulation, and then that will actually drop down. And then progesterone, which is released from the corpus luteum, which is the shell of our oocyte, that’s going to be then gradually taking that, that whole place there. So the relationship between the oestrogenand progesterone should be a fairly smooth inverse. But what can happen is that if we are stressed or other hormonal factors are at play, like you said your thyroid function, then that ovulation is not going to be strong enough that corpus luteum is basically going to be a little bit sloppy, instead of these nice source of progesterone. And so then, the dropping of that means that estrogen and the progesterone tend to wobble a little bit in relationship to each other. And then the pill basically stops ovulation from happening. It just supplies synthetic hormones. So theoretically, you’re getting these synthetic hormones in replacement, so you don’t get the symptoms as a result of the other hormonal fluctuations.
Lisa Costa Bir 12:18
And I think the big thing there is that was your own supply, you do get those fluctuations because the hormones are changing, you know, every day really, in particular, if you experiencing profound stresses or something like that, they’re they’ve got a wobbly pattern, but where you’re taking the pill, you’re getting that same amount. If it’s a monophasic pill, you’re getting that same amount every day. So, you know, you’re getting that stability, which, you know, is not necessarily what your body would normally be doing.
Alison Mitchell 12:51
We’re not creatures that are monophasic. There are biphasic pills, but I think that you know, there’s a lot of people out there Any sort of information like Lara Briden and other people who talk about how ovulation is actually key to a woman’s general health and well being in terms of our mental health and our general inflammation load and our immune health and our digestive health and musculoskeletal health and cognitive function, you know, we need to ovulate for that to happen. So even though it is an option, it’s not something that like Personally, I think, is that great. Yeah, no, I think I think there’s places for it but in PMS naturopathic stuff can be like, very good. Yeah. As we’ll talk about, Mm hmm.
So then what happens then when you’re on the pill, and you still getting PMS?
Lisa Costa Bir 13:44
So if that’s really unfortunate, if you’re on the pill and you’re still getting PMS, it pretty much means that you’re on the wrong pill for you. So with patients like that, I would say, you know, sometimes patients want to take the pill for contraceptive, for contraception. That’s fine, or because they got endometriosis or something like that. Yeah. So we just need to change the pill, and maybe choose one that has the strength that’s more appropriate for that individual. Or we’re looking at other we were looking at herbal options I use Saffron a lot in my clinic, which actually works on that serotonin pathway. So if the period has just occurred because of those changes in serotonin, that’s, I think that’s really useful to us.
Alison Mitchell 14:34
Yeah, so there’s always going to be times when women do want to be on the pill, and that’s fine, if that’s what they want to do. So that we know that we’ve got some options to treat it on top of that. And I know you love your Saffron,
Lisa Costa Bir 14:44
I love Saffron it’s changed my life and so many of my patients,
Alison Mitchell 14:49
yes, yeah. Yes. I’ve had similar experiences with my patients too. And we’ll talk about that when we talk about our herbs bit. Yeah. But before Herbs lets get into diet. Hmm. So there’s just a general protocol that you generally recommend for people preparedness isn’t there?
Lisa Costa Bir 15:09
Yeah, I mean look in my clinic pretty much everyone gets very similar diet anyway. whole food diets are very nutrient dense. Lots of fruit and veggies. I think the recommendations for two fruits and five veggies is a little bit ridiculous. I’m aiming for much higher and I think the latest research anyway coming out on cardiovascular health is suggesting 10. So I’m not getting my patients to measure or anything like that, but try to get as much variety as possible. And you know, your two fruits and veggies should really just be in your entree breakfast, trying to spread them out throughout the day and have as many as possible. The more fruits and veggies we have, the more nutrients we’re getting, which is going to be beneficial for PMS and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Adequate protein is also really, really important and the big thing to me is adequate carbohydrates, which is where I find all of my patients actually falling down. They not eating enough of the right carbohydrates. Yeah. Particularly in that week before they get their period because they’re feeling maybe bloated or they’ve got a bit of a distorted feeling about how they look and because of those changes that are occurring with the low oestrogen and serotonin, which affect our perception of ourselves. So our relation with the higher estrogen and steroid hormones, women might pass the window and think, oh, look at me. I’m fantastic. And in the luteal phase, literally a week later, walking past that same window and just thinking oh my god, look at me I look terrible or whatever. And literally, not much has changed except for changing the hormones and neurotransmitters as a result of what’s happening.
Alison Mitchell 16:53
It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Yeah, really does change the way you view yourself. Like I always like put the When I’m describing it to my patients I say, oestrogen is like your go getter friend. She’s like you’ve got this girl you just honestly just chill out. Definitely, yeah, if you’ve got high oestrogen, you tend to be a bit more vivacious and have more body confidence, but then when that drops down the lack of that support, so yeah, that’s, that’s interesting.
Lisa Costa Bir 17:22
It’s really interesting. So, you know, a lot of people, a lot of women, because they’re feeling a bit more retained more fluid or whatever, they reduce their carbohydrate intake, but really in the luteal phase, that’s when you probably need to be upping your carbohydrate. If you are someone that suffers from low fat flat mood and that lack of motivator it’s particularly in that week before they get their period because they’re feeling maybe bloated or they’ve got a bit of a distorted feeling about how they look and because of those changes that are occurring with the location and serotonin which affect her perception. ourselves. So our relation with the higher estrogen and storage of hormones, women might pass their window and think oh, look at me. I’m fantastic. And in the luteal phase, literally a week later we’ll pass that same window and just thinking oh my god, look at me I look terrible or whatever and literally not much has changed except for changing the hormones and neurotransmitters as a result of what’s happening to us and they really does change the way you view yourself. I always like put when I’m describing it to my patients I say oestrogen is like your go getter friend. She’s like you’ve got this girl you look great. Yeah, and progesterone is like just just chill out and take a rest Yeah, if you’ve got high oestrogen tend to be a bit more vivacious and have more body confidence, but then when that drops down, the lack of that support. So yeah, that’s, that’s interesting.
It’s really interesting. So You know a lot of people, a lot of women, because they’re feeling a bit more retained more fluid or whatever, they reduce their carbohydrate intake. But really in the luteal phase, that’s when you probably need to be upping your carbohydrate if you are someone that suffers from more of that flat mood and that lack of motivation, because carbohydrate intake actually increases serotonin. So that lowered serotonin is driving a lot of those mood symptoms. So that you know, the last thing we want to do is restrict the carbohydrate, the more the serotonin even more. So I find actually increasing carbohydrate intake in the luteal phase is actually really important. And that insatiable hunger that a lot of women experience with payments in that week before is also there’s a lot of research suggesting that due to low serotonin as well, yeah, that’s so interesting.
Alison Mitchell 19:55
So the sorts of carbohydrates you’d be suggesting for people to increase more often Not like you know your hot chips and cereal.
Lisa Costa Bir 20:03
Quite the opposite of course. So lots of fruit. I’m big on fruit, potatoes, maybe not the white potatoes, but we get so many beautiful, different colored potatoes to bake those, etc. Rice, I’m a huge fan of good quality breads so sourdoughs for example, all of those really lovely carbohydrates that are quite nutritious, quite grounding, which is what a lot of people actually need in that week before they’re be a bit kind of Space Cadet ish. Yeah, and that’s also because of that lowered estrogen issues really, really important for cognition. And as it drops in that luteal phase, a lot of women feel a bit spacey and you know ‘where are my keys oh i cant remember and where this…’ and so ensuring that you’ve got adequate carbohydrates is actually really good. Yeah, I think I read a study. This has to do with pair of unicorns but when a student drops in that perimenopausal period serotonin drops by 50% so the same would be probably true of that pms in that luteal phase with oestrogen dropping. serotonin drops substantially if you think about it. Yeah, perspective.
Alison Mitchell 21:22
Yeah, that’s so interesting. Okay, what about things like nutrients?
Lisa Costa Bir 21:29
So yeah, this I love a good B vitamin. I’m on a good B complex. I love magnesium, too. But the one a lot of people don’t know about, which I found to be really, really useful is calcium. So calcium levels dropped dramatically in the week before menstruation and there’s some good research showing that a thousand milligrams, so quite a large amount actually helps with a lot of the mood symptoms. So irritability, anxiety, flat mood. etc, which is quite good, isn’t it?
Alison Mitchell 22:02
Yeah, that’s really good. But yeah, everyone’s all about the magnesium they are which I mean, we need. Yeah, we need a lot. We need a lot more than that too we need the calcium. Yeah. Because they work hand in hand.
Lisa Costa Bir 22:14
Yes, please. So using maybe a product that has both of them would be the best. Yes. Okay.
Alison Mitchell 22:22
You want to talk about herbs?
Lisa Costa Bir 22:25
Okay. If you insist.
Alison Mitchell 22:29
Okay. Shall we start with Saffron?
Lisa Costa Bir 22:32
Okay. I love Saffron. I just think it’s so so useful. And the research shows that you know, it’s on par there with a lot of antidepressants too. So and you know, it can be taken with some antidepressants as well. So it’s quite, it’s quite a useful one. It is very expensive, but really, really worth it. You don’t use it much. Now you’re not using a lot at all. Use if it’s just plain old PMS, maybe 10 mls a week, and if it is premenstrual dysmorphic disorder, up to 15, and maybe even combine it with St. John’s Wort if they’re not on the pill. Yeah. And I find that so useful and I’ve had patients that have come and see me for premenstrual dysphoric disorder that pretty much spend all their luteal phase on the couch can’t work can’t look after their children like some people who have very, very severe symptoms, and they have just had such great results and not have not experienced any of that. And that’s within a cycle. The research does show saffron from being useful premenstrual dysmorphic disorder, the best results we’re seen in s.. were taking it for about four months. But in my clinical experience, I see people noticing a difference with by that next cycle. I find that was very, very quickly. We didn’t feed him.
Alison Mitchell 23:57
Yep, I would say that. my clinical experiences similar like that often, I’m combining it with other herbal nervines. But it’s usually fairly quick in terms of its action. And, and the interesting thing about the way that it works within the three months is because then that is suggesting that it is actually impacting on the hormonal level as well. Because then that’s like your, like your longer stage of your oocyte formation and recruitment.
Lisa Costa Bir 24:24
Alison Mitchell 24:26
So I guess that’ll probably be something to keep your eye on.
Lisa Costa Bir 24:29
Definitely. There are some like for me, I will only use it generally in the luteal phase too. So, you know, for my patients, I tend to put it in the big 500 ml bottle because it gets kind of tricky to have to take two different types of herbal formula, but it can just be taken in the luteal phase rather thanthroughout the cycle.
Alison Mitchell 24:53
saves money too. And because it is it’s such a… With the way that it’s harvested, it’s like this one little stand in a flower that has to be picked out by hand all these little tweezers and then the whole plant and it How much does it take to actually like make a tincture? So I guess environmentally It is better to use it less when when you can. Okay? I’m, I’m also a big fan of as you said St Johns wort, so particularly for when you’re feeling really irritable and sensitive to everything going on around you. And you know that when when you just can’t stand the slightest noise and you can stand the slight tough and you’re like “stop touching me”.
Lisa Costa Bir 25:40
or like stop chewing in front of me i can hear you crunching their apples.
Alison Mitchell 25:44
St John’s what is known as an antidepressant but it has so much more than that. Like traditionally it’s called a thymoleptic which means mood balancer. And like when you look at the traditional approach on it, it’s not Not just for people who are depressed. It’s also for just general people, irritability, irritable or anxious as well. But there is a caution obviously because it increases the CYP450 pathway through the liver of the drug metabolism. Yeah. So if you’re on the pill you can take stJohn’s wort sorry
Lisa Costa Bir 26:20
Unless Can you take the remotiv, that one’s okay.
Alison Mitchell 26:23
Yeah, yeah, they can, because that one’s a field of St Johns wort. And John’s while there doesn’t seem to have the hypercin or hyperforin or whichever constituent is being shown to be responsible for that pathway.
Lisa Costa Bir 26:37
Yeah, yep. So that one’s All right.
Alison Mitchell 26:39
Yeah. So that’s the Flordis one. Yeah. I also love dandelion leaf, when people tend to be their own foodie feeling as well. And dandelion works on the liver, and like a naturopathic approach as well as that, you know, you got to get your hormone clearance happening. Through your liver, you got to be detoxing. So while dandelion leaf is typically more of a diuretic compared to the dandelion root, it’s still have a little bit of an affinity for that. That detoxing action.
Lisa Costa Bir 27:14
I guess I love all the adaptogens for PMS too, Withania, rhodiola licorice, due to the fact that stress tends to make the PMS worse I find that they’re really really helpful. And before I started using Saffron, that’s pretty much what I used to use and get good results but it’s definitely elevated to another level. The other herb I find really, really useful is Chamomile actually for PMS This is a mild antidepressant which has been studied in PMS and shown to assist with mood, but it’s also fantastic as an antispasmodic. So quite good for that cramping that some women experienced too. is also a mild bitter. So it’s hitting a number of levels. Yes, yes. I like chamomile
Alison Mitchell 28:07
It’s nice. It’s anti inflammatory. It’s also mildly anti-andronergic,
so a few research papers showing its helpful in PCOS So I always put it in my PCOS formula, especially if there’s tension stress and gut issues. Yeah, lovely. It’s amazing. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 28:11
oh i didn’t know that
Alison Mitchell 28:29
Okay, what about Vitex?
Lisa Costa Bir 28:31
Oh, you know what, I haven’t thought of Vitex at all, but I just thought of Vitex.
Alison Mitchell 28:37
Also known as Chaste Tree
Lisa Costa Bir 28:38
Yeah. So if there are issues with prolactin, then I’m always thinking about Vitex. Yes. And definitely there is that shorter luteal phase. Thinking about Vitex there too and as being very well studied for pms and so many women find it useful. I guess my only caution, I guess for listeners is that I find as lecturers we have I don’t know if you see this too, a lot of students just tend to go ‘oh female reproductive complaint- vitex’. Yeah. So I think we need to be really clear about how Vitex works and why we are prescribing it, not just using it for all female reproductive complaints. It is dopaminergic. So it actually decreases, it lowers prolactin via that mechanism, and high prolactin can cause a lot of issues. So it’s, it’s useful from that perspective. It is definitely not something I would use in isolation for a lot of the patients I see. And I mean, I’ve taken it myself and actually aggravated because I had other issues that were causing my PMS. So I think We always need to be very holistic and well rounded in our dispensive Herbs. Yeah, does that make sense?
Alison Mitchell 30:09
it does make sense. And I actually see a lot of people have self described Vitex because you know, it’s in the health food shop says on there. Yeah. And even has it on the label. Yeah. But there have been studies on it as Yeah. As as you said, like our understanding of it has developed. Sure. So it doesn’t, it’s not actually a progestogenic it’s a prolactin lowering herb. So the pathways are different. Yeah. How when we learnt it previously so it can’t be extrapolated to all PMS, basically.
Lisa Costa Bir 30:37
So we feel it’s so good that you pointed it out, because we said there’s more than 150 different signs and symptoms associated with periods. So Vitex is definitely not going to fix all 150 is such an individual thing.
Alison Mitchell 30:49
But I guess if you try it, maybe if you can afford a consult, then you’re essentially you’re investing your time and your health by self experimenting so you could experiment and you might find that it’s okay. And if you do find that you aggravate them stop, and then you know, you need to look at other aspects, you know, in other areas and, you know, eventually it will revert. And I actually aggravated on it too. So it’s interesting that we both did, because it took me about two months to go back to normal afterwards.
Okay. All right. Another herb i love it Vervain. So my students will know that I love vervain. It’s a bitter, it’s cooling. And it’s really good for reducing tension and irritability. So if you’re, you know, you’re a workaholic and you wound up and you’re tight and everything’s in your neck and your shoulders, then vervain is really good for you. So when you were a bit more, like angry and patient, that’s a personality. That’s me essentially. Yeah, that’s everyone. I think. Well, not really.
I always like to put that in mixes for PMS if they’ve got that sort of personality going on, which is you know, when when you’re a mom, I think in particular you’re working Mum. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 32:11
Alison Mitchell 32:12
Like, will you just do the thing that I asked you to do. Yeah, yeah, that’s my kids at least. Not my patients.
Lisa Costa Bir 32:18
not your patients,
Alison Mitchell 32:19
no not my patients i’m talking about my kids.
Lisa Costa Bir 32:24
It’s challenging. I mean, I think a lot of women who express the same thing with what I saw yesterday two small children, and so put down and hard on herself because she’s losing patience and frustrated with her children. But when we look at what’s really going on, and she’s because she’s got one of those watches and her youngest ones, five months old, and she’s she’s getting five max five hours sleep a night. Breastfeeding having to look after the three year old tooth fairy. He’s at that stage of life where he’s trying to assert his independence. It’s full on, isn’t it?
Alison Mitchell 33:08
Yeah, yeah. Well you’ve been through that.
Lisa Costa Bir 33:12
Well, only one.
Alison Mitchell 33:13
but it changes desn’t it there’s all Yeah there’s always different…
Lisa Costa Bir 33:16
Eight’s a breeze to anyone who’s got children young guards. eight is so good. She’s so she’s just a little pal. We go out for dinner together. I think they become independent. Yeah. And so I still, you know, shout at her in the morning to put shoes on and everything but it’s so much easier. Yeah.
Alison Mitchell 33:38
But it’s it’s a common thing. Like I see a lot of patients say, I feel like I’m more snappy at my children. Like I’m more irritable with them and losing patience with my kids. You know, whether it’s sleep deprivation or just poor stress response or PMS. You know, it’s a common driver for people to start, like acting on their health
Lisa Costa Bir 33:57
Definitely. Yeah, yeah. So I think you You know it, the body’s telling us that something isn’t quite working. And we need a bit of extra support, because you can’t give up your children. Some, but I thanked my patient yesterday, there’s actually we try to work out how she can get more sleep and it doesn’t appear that it can happen. She hasn’t got any family to help her. So you know, it is it is what it is there were things that we can’t change. So we’re just going to work with that. And sometimes that just means the herbs and nutrients just to support that adaption to stress because, as I said to her yesterday, you know, maybe 100 years ago in the past 30 other women living in the household, helping breastfeed and wake up at night and it was a little bit different. So even though we’re modern women, maybe we have a little bit harder in some respects.
Alison Mitchell 34:57
Yeah, I mean, we do we do have a harder and But then we’ve also got a lot more built burdens on yourself physically without like hormonal disruptors. So yeah, that’s a whole other podcast. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 35:10
So you know, women one to one, I’ve PMS and why they’re experiencing these symptoms. I think it’s kind of normal considering the juggling that a lot of women have to do.
Alison Mitchell 35:26
Yeah, it’s just our way of our body saying, you’re too much
Lisa Costa Bir 35:31
just chill out a little bit. Yeah. So often women need to do less and prioritize. What’s what can you know? Is the house gonna miss Themis? He will Oh, because it you clean it up it will be messy again tomorrow, or does it really matter if those clothes don’t get folded? For a month? What? Yeah, but you know what I mean? It’s it’s better just to get a bit more sleep.
Alison Mitchell 35:57
Yeah, you got to prioritize Just sort of like, delegate what doesn’t give you joy? As much as you can. Yeah, there is that if you if you find that like maybe your work gives you a little bit more joy, you could do an extra hour at work, get that income and then pay someone to do an hour of cleaning
Lisa Costa Bir 36:14
Yeah, I’m big on that. So I’m not a rich woman, but I do have a cleaner – hundred dollars he’s only coming once a month now. So that really equates to $25 a week, which for me is a massive Game Changer because I hate I hate cleaning the shower. I hate changing the linen and all that sort of stuff. So he’s well worth the money. You know, so I think it is about choosing. I’m gonna I would prefer to have him come in and do that for me and not go out for dinner. Yeah, you know, I’d rather put the money there. Yes, he’s helping my mental health
Alison Mitchell 36:48
If that’s important for you, then you find money from somewhere else. Or maybe you would rather do an extra couple of hours at clinic
Lisa Costa Bir 36:57
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, they do what gives you joy? Hmm. Which is not which is not cleaning the bathroom.
Alison Mitchell 37:06
Yeah, I actually don’t mind cleaning but that’s kind of like a relaxed.. Okay, I like cleaning some some aspects I like doing my main stress relief is gardening,
Lisa Costa Bir 37:18
gardening some really good. And it’s funny that that you mentioned gardening because gardens have actually been found to be happier individual so they’ve actually found that there’s certain bacterias and microbes in the soil, which release serotonin and gardeners actually get those microbes on the skin. So it’s it’s all done that way they inhale them, which is really interesting. gardening is a recommendation for individuals with PMS in that it’s gonna work on multiple ways. They’re the soil and the microbiome, but also I find that when you’re out in the garden, you can’t it’s kind of like a forced meditation because you’re quite present when you’re there especially if you’ve got birds and trees and things like that. Can’t help engaging with all that and just slowing down naturally. So, a lot of the time release, sympathetic nervous activation, which disrupts the hormones, but when you’re gardening out in nature, we actually find that green spaces lots of research to show that it lowers/ regulates cortisol reduces anxiety. very beneficial I would say, yeah.
Alison Mitchell 38:27
And you’re literally earthing while you’re doing it now which would be reducing inflammation in the body?
Lisa Costa Bir 38:32
Yeah, yeah. And so I think there’s even studies on trees to secreting certain substances which are immune modulating too. Very clever outset the basis of naturopathic principle if you know nature is medicine.
Alison Mitchell 38:46
So the further we get away from nature, the more our body tells us that something goes wrong, and PMS is one of those ways that it’s telling us that, particularly for us, ladies,
Lisa Costa Bir 38:56
yeah, so common recommendation for me. We’ve talked a bit about the Herbs I’m really big on lifestyle things too. And often, people, women that have PMS are often doing a lot of things. And so we’re actually getting them to slow down and do less. So it might be just taking your shoes off at work and your socks and earthing, or going going out for a quick break to where there’s some green, some grass, sitting down there and taking the shoes and socks off. And it’s incredible, just that simple. tasks can just help you feel so much calmer and grounded.
Alison Mitchell 39:34
It’s simple but powerful. Yeah. And then just doing fun things.
Lisa Costa Bir 39:41
Yes, definitely. Yeah. Isn’t life too short not to be having fun?
Alison Mitchell 39:48
Definitely, if you can say the humor in life and it’s just going to be a more enjoyable ride for you.
Lisa Costa Bir 39:53
Absolutely. So it’s a predictor of well being, you know, people that are more optimistic and can see the good in things that I mean, life’s not all about roses and chocolates, but being able to understand that there are ups and downs and things. Sometimes things happen to us that they are always not nice or pleasant, but they’re always contributing to our growth and development as a person. We can see the PMS or other disease as that, I think it can be really helpful.
Alison Mitchell 40:28
Yeah, you know, you actually learn from it as opposed to just sort of having to dread it and not appreciating it.
Lisa Costa Bir 40:35
So, going back to fun, I often ask patients, what do you do for fun, what makes you laugh? And more importantly, how often do you do it? Sometimes people aren’t laughing at all and it’s very fun. It’s fun.
Alison Mitchell 41:02
Like I said, I like gardening. and i like video games, get my PlayStation going…
Lisa Costa Bir 41:07
yeah. So, you know, I think they say children laugh 200 times a day. And when you earn children you would know with two, they fight they can be in hysterics if you say pharma poo or something like that they are literally rolling around tears flowing far is just hahaha so funny. Whereas adults tend to be way more reserved and might not laugh once throughout the day, which is
Alison Mitchell 41:36
well I’m very childish in my mind. And I’m lecturing, I’m talking about this a solo ad called potassium phosphate, which we refer to as P.P. And every time I say I go pee pee I just start laughing too much. I’m obviosuly too childish
Lisa Costa Bir 41:52
you I think it’s a lovely thing to find that amusing. So when we know I’m really big on it, Finding the laughter because there’s so much to it in terms of depth what it does to our body. It helps modulate the immune system when you’re laughing You can’t be in a fight or flight sympathetic dominant state. And we’ve the research shows that again and again, that it’s that sort of state that drives penis and other disease states. So the more that we are relaxed and laughing, the better our life is, and this less disease for us, essentially. It’s actually like simple medicine. It’s really yeah,
Alison Mitchell 42:33
so get outside get dirty. And start laughing
Lisa Costa Bir 42:36
that laughing Yeah, and that could be you know, watching Funniest Home videos means on Instagram, I love Brown cardigan, hysterical. Yeah, anything. It doesn’t have to cost anything.
Alison Mitchell 42:50
Yeah, that’s it. Tim has this thing that you look through all the time. And I love going over here every shoulder elements always this collection of memes and fails and that sort of thing like gym fails I love watching those.
Lisa Costa Bir 43:05
You laughing at other peoples misfortunes?
Alison Mitchell 43:12
Yes. I’m having fun. I’m sure okay, at the end of the day, okay, probably, you know, you talked about how gardening is really important when it comes to like the microbes in the earthing and the mindfulness as well, but like I just wanted to sort of expand on that and talk about gut health a little bit too, and how we actually make so much serotonin in our gut and our gut bacteria does that too. So that’s another area that you need to look out. Definitely, huh yeah. So that would be just you know, assessing do you actually have enough of the good bacteria are you breaking it down properly, are you eating inflammatory foods and then like if you got leaky gut you can work on that, or if you’ve got maybe an overgrowth of some unfriendly bacteria or you’ve got so you’ve got dysbiosis, SIBO or something going on there. It’d be important to address that and deal with a mentor that either you’re just ticking that off, getting that sorted, because that could be another driver. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And speaking of other drivers, you was talking about thyroid before. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 44:15
so I found for me personally, an underlying thyroid issues a sluggish thyroid was a really big driver of pms. So getting that under control and increasing t3 and thyroid function, I’ve noticed a significant difference in pms severity. Huge, so important. So I guess sometimes PMS is still PMS, but there’s other conditions underlying it, too.
Alison Mitchell 44:48
Yeah. And everything is so interconnected, interwoven, nothing exists in a vacuum. So in the body anyway. Yeah.
Lisa Costa Bir 44:56
So dysfunction in one area will always affect everything else.
Alison Mitchell 45:02
Goes to show how, you know you do need to look at everything holistically. Yeah. Is there anything else you wanted to go through for how to be happy in PMS?
Lisa Costa Bir 45:14
Well, I think is something that doesn’t happen overnight. I think we all just need to be, we need to be patient and if you’ve had a pms for a certain amount of time, it does take a few months to get on top of it. But really, I think using knew what’s going on, but definitely move stuff. Using Saffron, B’s and magnesium and applying from the lifestyle things that we talked about – fun. Making sure you’ve got enough carbohydrates omplex carbohydrates in the diet, adequate nutrients full stop, i think you should notice a change very, very quickly. Yeah.
Alison Mitchell 45:53
Awesome, thank you.
Lisa Costa Bir 45:55
Alison Mitchell 45:56
Thanks, everyone, for listening. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye.
Lisa Costa Bir 46:00
Transcribed by https://otter.ai