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Issue: July 2007

PMS and Naturopathic Medicine

Dr. Samantha Ristimaki, BSc, ND (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine)

If you are like most women (80%), you recognize that your period is coming by characteristic emotional and physical change. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a group of more than 150 different symptoms that occur cyclically after ovulation, up to 2 weeks before our monthly menstrual period and improve shortly after menstruation starts. About 30% of women consider these symptoms to be problematic while 5-10% of women consider them to be debilitating.

For convenience and ease of treatment, PMS symptoms are divided into four categories
samantha PMS-A (anxiety)
PMS-C (cravings)
PMS-D (depression)
PMS-H (hyperhydration OR water retention)

These categories reflect the specific hormonal, neurotransmitter, circadian and ultradian rhythm imbalances. They respond to different treatment strategies.

Many women with PMS, for instance, have low serotonin levels after ovulation (a neurotransmitter that keeps us happy). Women generally do not fit snugly into one category but often exhibit a variety of symptoms.

Besides hormonal imbalances, emotional and dietary factors may also contribute to PMS symptoms. A variety of treatments offered by naturopathic doctors can help address a person’s individual needs.

One study showed that a 78% improvement in PMS symptoms of anxiety, breast tenderness, insomnia, headache and digestive upset using acupuncture vs a 6% improvement in a control group.

Self help tips:
Spend at least 20 minutes outside in the early part of the day to help increase serotonin.
Sleep in a dark room to increase melatonin production at night. This may decrease estrogen’s activity and help regulate other hormones.
Exercise 40 minutes a day to reduce estrogen levels and increase endorphin levels which elevate mood.

Women today are busy, stressed and often trying to do more than their share of tasks. Women lack the support they need to keep them healthy mentally, emotionally and physically. More and more women are turning to naturopathic doctors to help them manage their health concerns and learn stress management techniques. Talk to our resident Naturopathic Doctor about how she can help you address your women’s health concerns.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information
and to book your appointment with Dr. Samantha Ristimaki.

For pricing information please click here.


Recipe: Mixed Greens and Feta Pie

45 minute prep time – serves 6

1⁄2 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup water
1⁄2 lb collard greens, stems removed
1⁄2 lb swiss chard, stems removed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp fresh dill
2 tsp dried oregano
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
8 oz feta cheese, drained
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp pine nuts

For rice crust: Combine rice and water in a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer over reduced heat until water is absorbed. Cool and press the cooked rice into a greased pie pan. Preheat oven to 350°F and set rice aside until filling is ready. Boil large pot of water. Strip the leaves off the stems of the greens and plunge the leaves into the boiling water for 2 minutes to blanch. Drain, rinse with cold water and squeeze water out of leaves. Mince finely.

In a large fry pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions. Add garlic, then minced greens. Cook until greens are dry. Remove from heat and stir in dill, oregano, salt and pepper. Cool slightly and then crumble in feta and stir in the eggs. Scrape onto rice crust, smooth top and sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake 375°F for 35-40 minutes.


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