Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I am in my mid-forties, and I suffer terribly from PMS. Most of all, I find the bloating and breast tenderness the hardest to take. How can I remedy this situation?
A: PMS symptoms usually occur after ovulation and before menstruation. They are caused by hormonal fluctuations, which create yin and yang imbalance within the body, mainly involving blood and qi. It may be either stagnation of qi and blood, or a deficiency of blood.
To assist with the imbalance try these remedies:
1. One week prior to the onset of PMS symptoms, increase your consumption of ginger, green onions, fennel, orange peel, spinach, walnuts, and Chinese angelica (dong quai). You may also make cinnamon tea. You should also add omega 3 and GLA oils as supplements.
2. Avoid cold and raw foods, excessive consumption of fruits, vinegar, all shellfish, and stimulants such as coffee, and smoking. Reduce dairy, as well.
3. In the case of bloating and breast tenderness, you may be retaining water. For this, boil tea from ginger and orange peel. Or cook pearl barley, mung beans, and adzuki beans together in a soup.
Acupuncture and herbal remedies have shown good efficacy in treating PMS symptoms, and I would suggest you contact a local certified acupuncturist for further consultation.
Additionally, you may try the Traditions of Tao “Passages Plus”, “Menstruation”, “Emotional Tranquility” tea and “Bloat” herbal formulas. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.