Premenstrual Syndrome

All women undergo monthly hormonal variations due to the menstrual (or ovarian) cycle. This famous period of about 28 days from the first day of the period to the first day of the next period comes back every month and reminds us that our body is ready to be impregnated (Nice! Or not...)


This cycle is divided into two phases, the follicular phase (from the 1st day of menstruation until ovulation) which varies in length and the luteal phase (from ovulation until the 1st day of the next period) which invariably lasts 14 days. These phases are controlled by hormones produced by the hypothalamus-pituitary complex and by the ovaries. And it is these hormones: oestrogen until ovulation and progesterone afterwards, which will cause premenstrual syndrome.


So what is the purpose of these hormones?


Well, they both act on the uterus. The first stimulates the development and vascularisation of the endometrium, while the second prepares the uterus for implantation. If fertilisation does not occur, our body experiences a drop in these two hormones, which leads to menstruation.


For most women, this phenomenon is not as simple as it sounds on paper. Indeed, these hormonal variations have more or less important consequences for each of us, which are often underestimated.


Estrogen causes breast swelling and water retention, which progesterone usually alleviates. Only sometimes estrogen can be secreted in excess and conversely, progesterone can be insufficient. Sometimes aldosterone, secreted by the adrenal cortex in a cyclical way and more important in the premenstrual phase, is also blamed. It is these imbalances that in turn cause physical symptoms as diverse as:

  •  Breast tension
  • Abdominal and pelvic cramps
  • Transit problems
  • Headaches
  • Back muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling due to water retention
  • Acne outbreaks
  • Herpes outbreaks (catamenial herpes)
  • Insomnia...


Is that all? Of course not! Because these hormonal fluctuations are perceived by the brain and are even suspected of influencing neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin. As a result, the symptoms are not only physical but also psychological: irritability, aggressiveness, emotionality, anxiety, depressive episodes, concentration and memory problems...


PMS also has the particularity of reactivating the symptoms of chronic pathologies of all kinds: digestive, dermatological, psychological...

The physical and neuropsychological signs are estimated at 150 at least!


Obviously, it's cyclical, so it doesn't leave much respite ... Don't panic, there are solutions


Firstly, diet:

Saturated fats, refined foods, salt and caffeine should be avoided as much as possible during the last days of the cycle. On the other hand, we prefer omega 3, whole grains, legumes, oilseeds and fibre. It is also important to have a good supply of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, chromium and zinc.Consuming 25g of flaxseed a day has an effect on painful breast strain.


Vitamin E can also help to reduce inflammation and thus reduce pain. Vitamin C has an effect on stress. Vitamin B6 is said to have an effect on anxiety and irritability, but it is rare to run out, unless you are taking anti-viral drugs or antidepressants which reduce its absorption. In this case, it should be taken as a supplement without exceeding 100mg/day. It is best to consult a qualified therapist.



Plants too:

The concentrated macerate of young raspberry shoots is an ovarian regulator, it also regulates blood flow and acts against uterine spasms. Take 2 x 5 drops/day from the 10th day of the cycle until the beginning of the next period. If necessary, you can combine it with alcoholic macerate of chaste tree: 10 to 25 drops 3 times a day from the 10th day of the cycle until the end of the period. If the abdominopelvic pain is severe, you can apply a few drops of tarragon essential oil mixed with a little vegetable oil to the lower abdomen several times a day.


For less severe symptoms, yarrow and rosemary infusions to be drunk throughout the day from the 18th day of the cycle may be sufficient.

The essential oils of lavender and petit grain bigarade are interesting for reducing inflammation and symptoms of nervous origin.


To combat water retention, you can drain the body with, for example, dandelion, pilosella, artichoke or ash. Various hydrolats can also accompany you during this period: clary sage, damask rose, cypress, basil and St John's wort. To be taken in synergy of 3 depending on the symptoms. Start one week before your period and during your period. Mix 50ml of each hydrolate and put 1 tablespoon of this mixture in 1 litre of water to drink throughout the day.


And finally, physical exercise!

Regular physical activity throughout the month will improve the blood flow to the various organs and thus regulate hormonal variations. Walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are recommended.


That's it! If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail: Contact form


Don't forget to refer to an experienced therapist. Contraindications or interactions are possible. In particular in case of hormone-dependent disorders.