Let’s get real. There’s no individual on earth with a uterus who enjoys going through the woes of menstruation each month, but with the flick of the next calendar page or the slim glimmer of the new moon, it’s impossible to ignore the shudder of trepidation that cascades down your spine in a warm, anxious trickle.
It’s not even the period that’s the worst part; comparatively speaking, the sensation of warm blood between your thighs is no more than a minor inconvenience when PMS enters the picture.
That’s right, the real bane of all monthly cycles is the beast that is PMS. Take a slew of undesirable characteristics like irritability, fatigue, mood swings, bloating, hot flashes (the list goes on), shove them into the worst week or two of your life, and get the full and unfiltered effects of PMS.
Though common, PMS shouldn’t be something you have to battle against every single month of your existence. Your personal health and comfort should be a priority, which means these dreaded symptoms of PMS have got to go.
How, though? 5-HTP supplements could hold the answer. Continue reading to learn more about the interesting relationship between 5-HTP and PMS symptoms, as well as the following:
- Common symptoms of PMS
- How 5-HTP helps manage PMS
- Possible side effects of 5-HTP supplements
What is PMS?
PMS, short for Premenstrual Syndrome, is that absolutely dreadful time of the month that typically occurs between ovulation and the beginning of menstruation. There are two phases of the menstrual cycle, first the follicular followed by the luteal. PMS occurs post-ovulation, during the luteal phase. Accompanying it are a whole slew of annoying symptoms including depression, food cravings, moodiness, and breast tenderness.
More than three million individuals across the United States experience symptoms of PMS, and on average women older than thirty are more prone to having PMS than other age groups. Intensity of symptoms can vary person to person, and some cases can be so severe that women suffering from PMS must miss work, school, and other responsibilities just to manage the pain.
For more fortunate folks, PMS doesn’t hit as hard. Though PMS is extremely common, most women only have to deal with mild symptoms that don’t impede on their daily activities. There are little to basically no signs of symptoms for some individuals, allowing them to proceed through regular routines with minimal interference.
There is no known direct cause of PMS, but it is speculated that the changes in hormone levels during menstruation may play a role. It is possible that these altered hormone levels affect some women more intensely than others, explaining why symptoms can manifest more intensely in different individuals. Generally, the symptoms that people do experience are mild or low, and can be self-managed with moderate ease.
A less common fact of PMS is that there are actually four sub-categories that it can be divided into. Most women will likely find themselves stumbling into two or three categories, but it isn’t always set in stone. Some months might be dedicated to full-blown, intense episodes of PMS while another month might bring about one set of secondary syndromes.
While PMS can be a frustrating nightmare, it is important to look out for the general subtype you fall into. Once you have a good grip on that, managing symptoms of PMS gets worlds easier.
The PMS subtypes consist of the following:
- PMS-A, for “Anxiety”: Characterized by anxious feelings, depression, mood swings, tension, difficulties with emotional regulation, and moderate depression.
- PMS-C, for “Cravings”: Characterized by binge eating, increased appetite, cravings for sweets, and lethargy.
- PMS-D, for “Depression”: Characterized by general symptoms of depression, mood swings, low mood, confusion, lack of interest, and crying spells.
- PMS-H, for “Hyper hydration”: Characterized by water retention, abdominal bloating, breast sensitivity, and weight gain.
Symptoms of PMS are not universally experienced by everyone who manages PMS in general, but a surprising statistic suggests that nearly half of women suffer from migraines, depression, swelling induced from water retention, and breast tenderness.
However, the question of how to make PMS symptoms less severe still remains. Let’s dig deeper into how PMS can be managed and what steps you can take to improve your experience.
Improve PMS Symptoms
Make Lifestyle Changes
For a significant number of individuals, lifestyle changes can help make PMS symptoms manageable, and even relieve them in some instances. There are many small things you can do to reduce the intensity of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including making changes in your diet, exercise routines, and general approach to daily life.
The very first area of your life to look at for potential change in your diet. Modifying your regular diet can come in a lot of different forms, and some possible changes may include limiting your intake of salty food, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, eating smaller meals to reduce bloating, and choosing calcium rich foods. This might not sound like much, but your diet has a profound effect on your health, and altering it can be the difference between night and day.
Getting regular exercise is important, too. Try to incorporate fitness routines into your daily schedule that last a duration of at least thirty minutes. These activities may include brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, or other aerobic activities. Partaking in regular exercise will boost your health and elevate your mood, fighting back feelings of fatigue and depression.
In general, reducing your stress levels is a good idea when it comes to managing PMS symptoms. You can do this by getting more sleep, relaxing your muscles through yoga or a tension-relieving massage, and by practicing deep breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and insomnia.
More and more research is collected every day supporting the use of certain dietary supplements for PMS management. Some major supplements include the following:
- Vitamin B6
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (HTP)
- Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids
Though these supplements can all help those with PMS, our main concern is with 5-HTP and its effects on PMS symptoms. 5-HTP is a natural supplement that can do a lot of good for your health and, in turn, your mood. Let’s see how it can help lessen the severity of symptoms caused by PMS and turn your day around.
Taking 5-HTP for PMS: How it Helps
You may not be aware of the full potential of 5-HTP, or have even heard about this fascinating chemical, so allow me to break it down in simple terms.
5-HTP is a chemical that the body produces using tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid obtained via the food you eat. An amino acid is considered to be “essential” when the body cannot make it on its own, meaning it must be obtained through diet or supplementation.
5-HTP is the precursor molecule to serotonin, made from amino acid tryptophan, then converted into serotonin using cofactors magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin B6. Once in the brain, tryptophan is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a vital role in mood regulation and your overall well-being.
Is There A Link Between Serotonin and PMS?
So, why do we care so much about serotonin anyway? Isn’t this whole thing about making PMS easier to deal with?
Well, as it turns out, serotonin may have quite a bit to do with your PMS symptoms. Low levels of serotonin mean an increased presence of PMS symptoms, which is why supplementing with 5-HTP can alleviate and lessen the severity of some symptoms.
5-HTP even works in more extreme cases of PMDD, short for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This disorder is a lot like PMS, except everything is amplified by ten thousand and it is an absolutely miserable experience. Taking 5-HTP, however, can trigger the production of serotonin and work to enhance your mood, lessening the impact of the debilitating mood symptoms of PMDD.
If your curiosity is piqued by the wondrous effects that 5-HTP can have on lessening the severity of PMS symptoms, there are a plethora of supplements available out there for your consideration. I’ve even developed my own 5-HTP Plus dietary supplements with serotonin synthesizers to help boost your brain function and increase your serotonin levels.
Are There Any Side Effects to 5-HTP Supplements?
Everything You Need to Know Before Diving into 5-HTP Supplements
Like a majority of dietary supplements and medications available either over-the-counter or via doctor’s prescription, the expectation of side effects is commonplace. Nothing can be guaranteed for certain, though, and medication affects people differently, making it difficult to discern how 5-HTP supplements will personally affect you.
That being said, there are always pros and cons to weigh out in every situation, so try not to shrug off 5-HTP supplements simply because you fear making things worse. Consider the potential benefits against the drawbacks and determine what’s right from there.
Possible cons of 5-HTP supplements include:
- Stomach pain
- Sexual issues
- Muscle problems
There is no guarantee any of these side effects will happen to you, but it’s best to consult your doctor before you start supplementing with 5-HTP. Everyone’s bodies are different and their health journeys are unique, making it impossible to compare yourself to the accomplishments of other people. Doing so hinders your own wellness journey and keeps you from reaching your full potential.
Be Smart With Your Supplements
5-HTP supplements function in much the same way as other medications, and in order to obtain their full effects, you’re going to have to manage appropriate consumption of them.
There are various dosages of 5-HTP that work for different treatments, and 200mg is the perfect sized dose for enhancing mood and increasing serotonin synthesis, making it a great companion for getting through PMS. If you find 200mg doesn’t get the job done for you, it’s okay to go higher. In fact, 5-HTP can be taken safely in doses as high as 400mg per day, but that’s about as high as I’d recommend going.
There is no specific time of day that you must take 5-HTP supplements to maximize their potency, so it is acceptable to take them whenever you feel is appropriate. For best results, it would be good to develop a regular routine of taking the supplements at the same time every day so your body gets accustomed to it, but when that occurs is entirely up to you.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own well-being, and no one can make you do what you don’t already want to. Supplements aren’t going to be a magic pill that transform your life overnight, but choosing to implement them into your wellness routine is a step towards legitimate, healthy change.