Folic-acid

Recognising Premenstrual Syndrome

A staggering 85 per cent of women with a menstrual cycle have at least 1 symptom pertaining to Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Tension (PMT). This is according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. With such a high number of women experiencing some indication of PMS, it’s important to be aware of what yours are and if they are serious enough to seek medical help.

RELATED: How To Naturally Balance Your Hormones

Symptoms

Symptoms usually present 1-2 weeks prior to menstruation and may continue until the commencement of your period. Each woman is different. Symptoms can present in isolation or in combination. They may be physical, which includes the following;

  • Acne or outbreak of pimples
  • Stomach problems; such as bloating, diarrhea or constipation
  • Feeling tired and worn out
  • Headache or migraine
  • Backache
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Appetite changes or food cravings – chocloate is popular
  • Weight fluctuations

For many women, emotional changes are common. These not only affect the individual, but can have a significant impact on their relations with others. The most common emotional symptoms include:

  • Tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Trouble with concentration or memory

Treating symptoms

If you have identified one or more of these symptoms; treatment is available. There isn’t a one size fits all solution, so working out what assistance is best for you, is recommended. Lifestyle changes, medications and alternative therapies may be a viable solution.

Lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle, will not only assist PMS symptoms, but will improve your overall health and well being.

  • Exercise at least 3 times a week
  • Eat healthy and avoid salt, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol, particularly when experiencing symptoms
  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night
  • De-stress, such as gardening, yoga, meditation; whatever works
  • Throw the cigarettes away! You know they are slowly killing you

Medications

Pain relievers, reduce pain. Loads of women avoid pain meds, but the stress which pain can place on the body, can often override any health benefits of avoiding medications. It’s very much a personal choice. Some PMS associated pain is due to inflammation, cramps, headache and backache. Meds, which reduces these symptoms include ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and asprin.

Alternative therapies

Vital vitamins and minerals are lacking in many busy peoples diets. Multivitamins are a great source for all round extra protection. For combating PMS symptoms: vitamins D, B-6 and E are all effective. Folic acid, magnesium and calcium are also recommended.

What next

If you find that you’ve made some changes and your symptoms are still apparent; you will need to visit your GP. The GP, will ask you to track your symptoms. Using a simple PMS tracker will help the GP establish if you have PMS and if it’s mild, moderate or server. Only 3-8 percent of women have severe PMS; known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). For these women, PMS is severe and disabling.

Most women will have a very mild to moderate indication of PMS. Avoid suffering in silence. Most treatment is relatively simple. So, come on ladies; what do you have to lose?

PMS Tracker: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/PMS-symptom-tracker.pdf

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October 23, 2014

Folate – An Essential Part Of A Pregnancy Diet

Everybody needs folate but if you are pregnant or are of a child bearing age and there is the possibility that you may fall pregnant (whether you are planning it or not), then it’s especially important that your everyday diet is rich in folate. Because our bodies don’t store folate for long periods of time, we need to ensure that we are continuously supplying our bodies with this important vitamin.

What is folate and how is it different to folic acid?

Folate is a B vitamin that is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, legumes and fruits. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin that is created in a laboratory and added to certain foods and supplements.

What does folate do?

Folate is used to make our DNA. It helps to produce and maintain new cells which is especially important during times of rapid cell growth such as pregnancy. In the early stages of pregnancy folate is essential for the healthy development of a foetus, especially the neural tube which is the structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord. The neural tube closes and fuses very early in life and if this doesn’t happen the result is a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Folate helps to reduce the risk of this happening.

Where can I find folate?

Folate can be found naturally in some vegetables including broccoli, spinach, asparagus, avocado and lettuce. Certain types of beans such as mung beans, chickpeas and kidney beans are also a rich source of folate as well as legumes, citrus fruits, seeds and nuts. Folic acid can be found in many fortified foods including some breads, cereal, pasta and rice.

During pregnancy our bodies need more vitamins than usual to keep us and our babies healthy, so as well as ensuring our diets are rich in folate it is recommended that we take a folic acid supplement. Start taking the supplement as soon as you start trying to fall pregnant because if you wait until you realise you’re pregnant then it could already be too late.

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By Karyn Miller

July 2, 2014