As we’re familiar with, a common healthcare experience is to receive a prescription for our pain (and for us womxn of colour, that’s if our doctors are actually listening to us). While miraculous in some aspects—a one-and-done treatment sounds quick and efficient, doesn’t it—the modern medicine approach may not cover all the bases. In fact, sometimes medication is a treatment for your symptoms, but not from what actually ails you.
Naturopathy goes deeper: it’s a blend of modern science and traditional healing, and it aims to get to the root of what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. That’s exactly how Dr. Steffe D’Ornellas approaches the health of her patients, especially as it pertains to PMS and how it shows in the body.
And PMS is different for every body: there are 150 symptoms documented, and they all arise when our levels of estrogen and progesterone levels are out of balance with each other. Which means that if we can find ways to balance these hormones, we can actually alleviate our PMS symptoms.
Dr. Steffe shares her approach and tips for getting to know your own PMS symptoms and what you can do to treat them.
Our periods tell our bodies’ stories.
They’re more than just cravings, mood swings, and cramps. They’re a message from our bodies regarding our current health. Sometimes these signs are normal and expected, and sometimes they’re signals for something unhealthy happening. Our bodies are trying to tell us how they are doing; listen.
Track your period and symptoms.
In order to address PMS, we need to be connected with what we’re feeling and when. There’s no harm in getting to know our bodies, at any point of our lives. And when our bodies can seem like mysteries even to ourselves, knowing what to expect or knowing our own patterns can be an empowering comfort.
Nutrition plays an important role.
What you eat affects your body’s inflammation and hormonal levels, and eating more nutrient-dense foods can help your symptoms. Try avoiding dairy and sugar, for example, which can cause inflammation, and substitute gentler things in their place, like nut milks and more natural sugars like those found in sweet potatoes.
Be empowered to make decisions for your body.
Knowing our bodies will help empower us to make informed decisions for ourselves. In the end, we possess the opportunity to know our bodies best, and therefore only we can discover and know what will make us feel our best. Think of it simply: if it doesn’t feel right, something probably isn’t right. And on the flip side, if it feels good, it probably is good for you.
Lifestyle changes will change your life.
Naturopathic healing finds the root cause of your symptoms to help you heal your body and find the lifestyle that best serves you. Sometimes what we’re feeling is linked to just one cause, but often our many inner systems coincide to present in a specific symptom. Treating these symptoms can be approached with the same collective attitude that your body has in bringing them to the surface in the first place: through changes that touch on all aspects of your lifestyle.
Our periods and PMS are so much more than an offhand excuse for moodiness. What we feel is very real, and there is a reason. Our bodies are powerful and lead their own ways through this necessary cycle of life, and we have the power to take care of our bodies, through this process and beyond. Naturopathy, if you feel it is the right choice for you, can aid you in taking care of yourself.
Here are some more resources on PMS and naturopathic medicine:
A handy infographic on what you can expect with your first appointment with a naturopath.
A more in-depth explanation of what naturopathic doctors do.
A full list of the 150 PMS symptoms mentioned above.
Dr. Steffe’s Instagram is filled with easy-to-digest tidbits of info.