Do you suffer from mood swings, nausea, or water retention right before the days of your menstruation? Then it is not unlikely that you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But what actually is PMS, what are PMS symptoms and how can we alleviate them? Angelica from fembites answers these and many other questions for us. She also explains which foods are good for us and which are less so, and how fembites’ products can relieve PMS symptoms:
an you please briefly introduce yourself and your start-up?
Sure. The people behind fembites, are Jana and I, Angelica. We raise awareness about the different needs of the menstruating body and want to close the Gender Data Gap of nutrition. Through proper nutrition, we can help alleviate hormonal imbalances and the resulting symptoms and syndromes such as PMS in a sustainable way. These include: Mood swings, abdominal pain, headaches, hormonal acne, hair loss, immune system weakness, brittle fingernails, breast tenderness, and more. fembites stands for a transparent brand of innovative snack supplements for menstruating hormonal health. All ingredients are based on the latest scientific findings and have been selected in consultation with gynaecologists and nutritionists. Best of all, unlike conventional supplements, fembites completely eliminates gelatine, mythyl cellulose, synthetic nutrients, refined sugars, and other additives. All ingredients are 100% natural, vegan/veggie and of the highest BIO quality.
We founded fembites in 2021 and our first product “femchoc” was launched in June 2021. It was immediately awarded as the most innovative product by Trend One.
What is the difference between PMS and PMDS?
PMS symptoms usually occur right after ovulation and right before menstruation (four to 14 days). It is estimated that 85 percent of menstruating people suffer from PMS (unreported cases excluded). PMDS is less common: it is estimated that only two to ten percent of women of reproductive age are affected by PMDS. The percentage of trans and non-binary people who also practice with PMDS is unclear. While PMS symptoms can put a damper on your day, most people continue to participate in their daily activities without interruption. PMDS, on the other hand, can prevent you from doing so, as physical and psychological symptoms can have a massive impact on daily life. There is also talk of suicidal cases here.
What symptoms are caused by PMS?
PMS can include up to 80 different symptoms. These PMS symptoms are also divided into physical and psychological symptoms.
Physical PMS symptoms may include, for example:
- water retention in the tissues (edema)
- fatigue, symptoms of exhaustion
- circulatory problems
- cramps in the lower abdomen
- headaches and migraines
- back pain
- cravings or loss of appetite
- swelling or extreme sensitivity of the breasts (mastodynia)
- increased sensitivity to stimuli (light, noise, smell, touch, time, and work pressure)
- feeling of fullness
- pain in the genital area or during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- irritation of mucous membranes
- inflammatory foci in the body become active
Psychological PMS symptoms may include the following:
- mood swings
- restlessness, hyperactivity
- lack of drive
- depressive moods
- decreased self-esteem
- crying or laughing without reason
- feeling of being overwhelmed
- changes in appetite
Which foods intensify PMS symptoms?
So far, it is known that especially in the luteal phase (about ten to 14 days after ovulation), metabolism accelerates and cortisol levels are higher during the resting phase. Therefore, menstruating people should eat more calories every day to keep blood sugar levels stable, which helps to balance insulin levels – an important hormone that strongly influences the degree of PMS. Menstruating people should definitely abstain from:
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods and junk food
- Caffeine and alcohol can increase PMS symptoms and alter your cycle length by affecting hormone levels
- Salt can promote water retention (so don’t eat too much of it!)
How does fembites help alleviate PMS symptoms?
In all fembites products, we have carefully compiled the most important nutrients that the menstruating body needs to optimally support its cycle and to help the body feel energized, calm, focused and pain-free during each phase of its cycle. femgums, for example, independently and flexibly covers the needs of each phase to reduce PMS and period discomfort in a timely manner. We only work with ingredients based on the latest scientific studies, such as vitamin B6, which has been shown to help regulate hormonal activity and is often used to treat PMS.
What positive effects does vitamin B6 have on the menstrual cycle?
On the one hand, it increases serotonin and dopamine levels, on the other hand, it influences prostaglandin levels (corpus luteum hormone after ovulation) which improve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Vitamin B6 is also important in the breakdown and metabolism of oestrogen in the body. Since oestrogen is a significant factor in both the development of menstrual cramps and PMS, as well as conditions such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, and fibroids, it is important that oestrogen is properly degraded so that the excess presence in the body is lowered.
The raspberry – a super berry for PMS symptoms? What do you think?
Raspberries and berries in general are great superfoods packed with antioxidants in my opinion. Raspberry leaves also have a lot of magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamins B, A, C, and E, and iron, and can help relieve the symptoms of PMS as well as endometriosis, pregnancy, and menopause. They also contain fragarine – a plant that helps strengthen pelvic muscles, which in turn can reduce menstrual cramps.
I feel cravings and really want to eat something, what is your tip?
Don’t go on a diet and be sure to follow the cravings! The luteal phase is characterized by a natural increase in metabolism, which means that the menstruating body needs more calories. However, if you don’t stick to this number of calories, you’ll start craving sugar during this phase. To keep these cravings at bay, it’s important to focus on complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and brown rice during this phase.
This is good for the body at this time:
- B vitamins: Oatmeal, rye flour, leafy greens, legumes, walnuts, bananas.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: flaxseed, lentils, whole grains, green vegetables
- Calcium: legumes, leaf spinach, broccoli, yogurt
- Magnesium: peas, beans
- Vitamin E: raspberries, tomatoes, peanuts, almonds
*This article has been adapted to gender-sensitive language.