SURFING THE CRIMSON WAVE
HOW WOMEN ARE LOOKING TO CBD TO ALLEVIATE THEIR PMS SYMPTOMS
Crankiness. Bloating. Achy breast tenderness. Feeling like your world is pretty much collapsing. Sound familiar? Then you’re one of the 90% of women who experience PMS.
These symptoms may be occasional, monthly, mild, or severe – they vary woman by woman, can change with each cycle, and often increase at around 40. There are a number of reasons that can make PMS symptoms worse. Luckily we have some tips for managing these symptoms including some benefits on how CBD for PMS might be helpful for you.
THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Do you know exactly what happens during your menstrual cycle? If that’s a “no”, you’re not alone. Despite this happening to most women most months, a huge number of us don’t know what’s actually going on inside our bodies.
So let’s lay it all out. The menstrual cycle isn’t just about the period. This all-encompassing phase covers the whole month, and when we say “month”, we’re putting in those inverted commas. Because everyone’s “monthly” cycle is different. You might be a 24-dayer, or your cycle might be 38 days. Generally, most of us have a cycle between those timespans, but in reality, each of us is a unique snowflake.
The period is the first part of your cycle, and the first day of your period marks day one of that cycle. That cycle ends when the next period begins. So far, so good? But here’s another little fact for you, actually, because our bodies are wonderfully complicated things, each menstrual cycle consists of two cycles that overlap and kind of talk to one another. One of those is going on in our uterus, and the other is getting busy in our ovaries.
All the while, these two parts of our bodies are communicating with one another. Seriously! Through the power of hormones, they harmonize and talk to our brain, and this all gets the wheels of our menstrual cycle in motion.
PHASES OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
If you’re wondering why you feel differently at each part of your cycle, the answer all comes down to the stuff going on inside your body. At some points, you’ll probably feel like a goddess with a high sex drive, good hair days, glowing skin and a pepped-up vibe. Others you’ll experience headaches, low moods, a sore tummy or diarrhea. It can also affect things like chronic disease symptoms throughout your cycle.
While it’s crazy to think that our menstrual cycles can do all this and more, it really comes down to the levels of hormones in our systems, and the work that’s going on behind the scenes to keep the cycle ticking over. To understand this better, we need to know what is going on with each phase, so here it is, in the order it happens, from day one of your cycle.
- Menstruation: AKA your period, which is when your body sheds the uterine lining if no baby is present. Hormone-wise, your estrogen and progesterone are at an all-time low here and combined with the cramps needed to rid the uterine lining, it can all leave you feeling sluggish, bloated, and blue.
- Follicular phase: From the lows to the highs, now you get your happy spike of estrogen as your body prepares to release an egg. It’s no coincidence that mother nature also makes us feel energetic and ready to roll (under the covers) at this time. Also note, estrogen is linked to plumper skin and thicker hair, so this is exactly why you’re feeling good and looking great at this stage of your cycle.
- Proliferative phase: As your uterine lining is built back up, you’ll continue enjoying good moods and feeling engaged with those around you. Testosterone levels are at their peak around now too, and this is the hormone that regulates your sex drive.
- Ovulation: Around mid-way through your cycle your ovaries release an egg and estrogen levels peak making it the best time to get pregnant, then dip. This gives you a bit of a see-saw effect of feeling super-good and sexual and then potentially experiencing a low point straight after. You might also get a few cramps as the egg is released. We know, this thing is a rollercoaster!
- Luteal phase: Say hello to the luteal phase, the bit between ovulation and the start of your next cycle. Many women feel moodier as progesterone ups and the body stands ready for a potential pregnancy. If you’re wondering how this affects your mood, progesterone helps to make cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, and this can make us feel strung out.
- Secretory phase: While your body figures out whether you’re pregnant or not, the uterine lining works up the chemicals needed to either support early pregnancy or start the process again, from the breaking down of your uterine lining (which of course, leads to your period) onwards. Expect moodiness and even some cramps as progesterone drops.
When you lay it all out, it makes you realize two big things. First, how amazing and busy are our bodies? Second, it’s no wonder we have a rollercoaster of physical and mental health symptoms across our cycle.
COMMON SYMPTOMS DURING THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Most women experience symptoms during the days leading up to menstruation and during the first days of menstruating when the flow is heavier. There are over a hundred different symptoms that have been attributed to the menstrual cycle and these experienced symptoms can also change over time. Some women are lucky enough to not experience any symptoms while others struggle with more severe side effects that impact day to day life.
While common, menstruation symptoms are often exacerbated by hormone imbalances as well as poor diet and lifestyle habits. There are also certain chronic conditions that can impact the symptoms experienced by women.
PHYSICAL MENSTRUATON SYMPTOMS
- Tender breasts
- Muscle aches
- Bloating, fluid retention
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Joint pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Lower back pain
- Low energy, fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
EMOTIONAL & BEHAVORIAL MENSTRUATION SYMPTOMS
- Food cravings
- Mood swings and irritability
Options are limited for managing painful symptoms like cramps, backaches, and joint pain. Some women use NSAIDs or even prescription pharmaceuticals which all have a laundry list of undesirable side effects. There are self-care and management options available including warm baths, warm compresses, keeping hydrated, and focusing on proper nutrition.
Tip: Try soaking in a warm bath with our Indulgent Bath Salts to help soothe aches and pains.
COMMON PMS SYMPTOMS
About 90% of women will experience PMS symptoms during some point in their lifetime, while 20% to 30% of women experience clinically significant PMS that impacts their day to day lives. PMS symptoms tend to increase in women around age 40.
PHYSICAL PMS SYMPTOMS
- Joint or muscle pain
- Weight gain related to fluid retention
- Abdominal bloating
- Tender breasts
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Alcohol intolerance
EMOTIONAL & BEHAVIORAL PMS SYMPTOMS
- Anxiety or tension
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
- Irritability or anger
- Appetite changes
- Food cravings
- Poor concentration
- Changes in sex drive
- Social withdrawal
WHAT CAUSES PMS SYMPTOMS?
- Hormone changes: The symptoms of PMS change with hormone fluctuations and disappear with both pregnancy and menopause.
- Brain chemical changes: Fluctuations among serotonin levels can also trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient levels may lead to premenstrual depression, fatigue, sleep issues, and food cravings.
- Depression: Some women experiencing significant PMS have undiagnosed depression which can exacerbate symptoms.
- Chronic conditions: Chronic conditions like endometriosis can lead to significantly more painful menstrual cramps and other symptoms.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is characterized as a severe form of PMS that includes physical and emotional/behavioral symptoms often resolved with the onset of menstruation. PMDD can cause severe symptoms in women a week or two prior to menstruation.
PHYSICAL PMDD SYMPTOMS
- Tender breasts
- Muscle pain
- Pelvis pain
- Weight gain
EMOTIONAL & BEHAVIORAL PMS SYMPTOMS
- Severe mood swings
- Depression or extreme sadness
- Anxiety, hopelessness, or panic attacks
- Irritability or crying
- Appetite changes
- Diminished interest in usual activities
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Increased sensitivity to rejection
- Trouble concentrating
- Self-critical thoughts
Treatment for PMDD encompasses self-care techniques for management, therapy, as well as certain pharmaceutical options. Oral contraceptives, SSRIs, and anxiolytic medication can be prescribed for PMDD but often have numerous long-term, adverse side effects.
CBD FOR PMS, PMDD, & MENSTRUAL SYMPTOMS
Cannabis has been used for centuries to help alleviate menstrual symptoms with texts dating back to the 9th century AD describing its effectiveness for uterine cramps in Persia. Cannabis has been celebrated for menstrual challenges throughout history and worldwide with an overwhelming abundance of positive anecdotal testimonials. While considerable strides still need to be made with clinical research before we can make any conclusions, here’s how taking CBD for PMS may help women manage their symptoms before, after, and during menstruation.
CBD AND PROSTAGLANDINS
Your body produces a chemical called prostaglandins which are essential for numerous physiological functions including playing a critical role in helping the uterus shed unused tissue which becomes your menstrual flow. Prostaglandins can unfortunately also cause inflammation, pain, cramping, and diarrhea.
CBD inhibits the production of COX-2 which is an enzyme that the body utilizes in order to create painful prostaglandins. Inhibition, therefore, may alleviate pain or even help prevent the symptoms before they occur. This is the same mechanism that’s targeted by over-the-counter options like NSAIDs, however, these drugs actually also inhibit COX-1, an enzyme that defends the digestive system. That’s why these pain medications can cause undesirable gastrointestinal side effects. CBD may help address the pain caused by prostaglandin production without the unpleasant GI effects.
CBD FOR PMS CRAMPS
The inflammation caused by prostaglandins may be addressed by CBD’s encouraging anti-inflammatory properties. By activating receptors that prevent the body from releasing inflammatory proteins, CBD may prevent prostaglandins from causing further inflammation that can cause painful symptoms throughout the body. CBD may also soothe discomfort by desensitizing pain-perceiving nerves.
Cramps are one of the more common side effects of PMS and menstruation. They are actually contractions of the smooth muscle that lines the uterus. CBD may offer natural muscle relaxant properties that target receptors located in the muscle tissue in order to relax the contractions. CBD may also trigger muscle relaxation among the smooth muscle that lines blood vessels, helping increase blood flow and provide relief to oxygen-deprived tissue. This may further assist in alleviating painful cramping.
Tip: Try massaging our Restore Deep Relief Cream into painful areas for relief.
CBD FOR PMS MOOD SWINGS
CBD’s celebrated anti-anxiety and stress-relieving potential may offer therapeutic value for the emotional and behavioral symptoms experienced during PMS, PMDD, and menstruation. Since CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, it may help balance hormones and important brain chemical messengers that often exacerbate emotional menstrual challenges. It may also address some of the root causes of severe symptoms by offering therapeutic promise for depression, endometriosis, PCOS, and more.
Tip: Try our Balance Everyday Tincture for overall mood management support.
CBD FOR BLOATING & INFLAMMATION
Many women are all too acquainted with the bloating and inflammation caused by their menstrual cycle. This is where CBD comes in strong again. It has been clinically shown that CBD may reduce the amount of inflammatory cytokines in the body – small proteins used for cell messaging in the immune system. Which has a minimizing effect on both acute and chronic inflammation.
The body’s inflammatory response is complex, however, and more research is needed to understand the relationship between our hormonal cycles, inflammation, and CBD specifically.
Tip: Try sipping on our Harmonizing Bloom Tea to help soothe digestive symptoms from PMS.
HOW TO USE CBD FOR PMS
All cannabinoid therapy varies from person to person, including managing PMS and menstruation symptoms. The results and effectiveness highly vary on the person, the administration method, product cannabinoid profile, timing, and dosage. Some women take CBD on an as-needed basis while others will take it consistently for preventative and overall management.
Because everyone is different, CBD dosage for PMS tends to vary from one person to the next. We recommend self-experimenting with dosage and timing to find what works best for you. When it comes to understanding the effects of any new supplementation, it’s also wise to keep a journal where you track your dosage, timing, and menstrual symptoms. This can give you a clear set of data points for creating the proper CBD regimen for PMS, allowing you to better understand how it affects you.
It’s important to support yourself throughout your month, and give yourself a bit of a break on the low points. Remember, all this stuff is physiological. It’s not a choice we make, but rather the consequences of big things going on in our bodies. Now you know why you feel supercharged at some points, and flat at others, you have the knowledge to a) let yourself off when you’re having a bad day and b) embrace the good bits. Because even when you’re at an all-time low, the good parts will be on their way.
PRESS PAUSE CBD FOR PMS
As women, we understand the complicated nuances of our body chemistry and how differently our menstrual cycle impacts every one of us. That’s why we’ve handcrafted our high-quality CBD products just for you. We’re always happy to help you find the right products for viable PMS and menstruation symptom management and addressing the underlying causes. Please contact us for more information!