Part Two: Naturopathic Approaches to PMS and Mental Health

Anxiety and PMS
Part Two: Naturopathic Approaches to PMS and Mental Health
Also, the OCP does cause some micronutrient deficiencies such as B vitamins, selenium and magnesium, so discussing proper supplementation with your HCP can help mitigate this. Deficiencies in B vitamins is linked to worsened anxiety and depression.

Dr. Erin TeWinkel is a naturopathic doctor specializing in hormonal and mental health. This article is part two of Dr. Erin's Naturopathic Approaches to PMS & Mental Health blog series. In this part, Dr. Erin discusses mental health and its relation to birth control, supporting yourself from home, and how you can support others. We hope you enjoy these very insightful answers as much as we did! 

What if I am on birth control? Will this affect my mood? How can I best support myself?

Some people who use hormonal birth control will experience more depression. In 2016 JAMA released a study that showed women using hormonal birth control are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression. The risk was greatest for teens using progestin-only methods. So being aware and prepared for that potential outcome is important and can be supported with the same options as above. The myth to bust here is that people on OCP (oral contraceptive pill) don’t experience PMS - since the OCP stops ovulation and the cycling of hormones - it's not possible to have actual PMS while on the pill. However, each person’s experience is important - so track what's going on to understand and discuss with your period literate healthcare practitioner.

What things can I do from home to help support my hormone health?

To support a healthy cycle means supporting a healthy body overall - our period is a vital sign, just like blood pressure and heart rate! The best ways to support a healthy cycle:

1) Eat enough! And eat mostly whole foods - what does this mean? Fruits, veggies, whole grains, and enough protein - menstruators bodies are very sensitive to low-calorie diets and make all symptoms worse. Data shows that menstruators who eat whole foods with fruits and vegetables and adequate protein have less period problems.

2) Sleep - getting enough sleep helps our body regulate all of its cyclical nature. Being in the rhythm of our sleep-wake cycles sets the stage for our other cycles!

3) Movement - our bodies are designed for movement. The more sedentary we are, the worse symptoms we may experience - but also movement that you enjoy! Walking with a friend or dancing in your kitchen, weightlifting, boxing, cycling…find a movement practice that you enjoy, which will immensely help your mood and your period health.

Also, the OCP does cause some micronutrient deficiencies such as B vitamins, selenium and magnesium, so discussing proper supplementation with your HCP (health care practitioner) can help mitigate this. Deficiencies in B vitamins is linked to worsened anxiety and depression.

How can others support someone going through their time of the month?

One thing I love to discuss with people is the ‘blaming’ of emotions on someone’s cycle. Yes, during your luteal phase, you may feel more and share your feelings more - but those feelings are still valid. During our luteal phase, we are more in touch with our emotions and share them more readily - too often, menstruators' emotions get pushed away as ‘just being on their period.’ So the number one best way is to listen still and validate a person’s emotional experience. Secondly, menstruating is metabolically taxing - so being mindful that you may need more rest and reduce high-intensity exercises is important to know and support. Plus, helping build the above habits of eating whole foods, movement and sleep!

We would love to thank Dr. Erin Tewinkel for her very insightful and informative answers. We are also happy to inform you that Dr. Erin is now officially on our list of Experts. Check out more about Dr. Erin here! Happy National Women's Health Week! We hope you enjoyed this blog and it helps you support yourself physically and mentally! If you need further guidance with your hormone and mental health, Dr. Erin would be more than happy to help. If you have not read part one of this blog series, you will want to click here to check it out!

Dr. Erin TeWinkel, ND

Instagram: @drtewinkel



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