Magnesium and Premenstrual Syndrome
PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME: MAGNESIUM AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PAINKILLERS
Many women suffer the same symptoms month after month: Prior to getting their period, they struggle with depression, fatigue and irritability. During their period, they also often experience acute symptoms such as cramps, abdominal pain, back pain and headaches. Approximately 20 to 40% of all women experience these premenstrual symptoms, affecting their quality of life. Painkillers like ibuprofen or naproxen are often used to treat acute symptoms. But a painkiller doesn't always have to be the solution! Magnesium can also have a positive effect on PMS and menstrual cramps.
WHAT EXACTLY IS PMS?
Many women experience a range of symptoms in the days leading up to their period. Some are physical, like lower abdominal pain, breast tenderness and headaches. Many women also experience water retention, difficulty sleeping and digestive issues. Other symptoms are of a psychological nature and include exhaustion, depression and irritability. These physical and psychological symptoms can occur up to two weeks before menstruation. In medical terms, they are referred to as premenstrual syndrome - or PMS for short.
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Emotional sensitivity
- Lower abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Breast tenderness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Digestive issues
- Water retention
The exact cause of PMS has not yet been conclusively determined. The relationship between the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone seems to be one possible cause. Studies have shown that the progesterone levels of women suffering from PMS are too low, especially during the second half of their menstrual cycle. But a genetic predisposition and stress can also play a role. And, importantly, a magnesium deficiency can also be the cause of premenstrual syndrome.
WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY AND PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME?
One of magnesium's many roles in the body is to ensure that muscles and nerves function properly. Since the uterus is also a muscle, it requires magnesium to function. During menstruation, the uterus contracts to help shed the lining that has built up over the course of the menstrual cycle. Magnesium helps the uterine muscles relax. This helps prevent cramps and pain in the lower abdomen during menstruation.
Scientific studies have shown a link between magnesium deficiency and premenstrual syndrome. For example, women with PMS have low magnesium levels. This in turn can also increase the risk of PMS. Patients with PMS who took high-dose magnesium for 2 months experienced a significant reduction in typical symptoms such as weight gain, water retention and breast tenderness. Women suffering from PMS need to keep a close eye on their magnesium levels and prevent a deficiency.
HOW CAN MAGNESIUM HELP ALLEVIATE MENSTRUAL CRAMPS?
Tightness, aching and cramping in the lower abdomen: Painful periods, known as dysmenorrhoea in medical terms, can be extremely unpleasant. But many patients don't want to take painkillers all the time. The good news is that there is an alternative. A study of patients suffering from dysmenorrhoea showed that taking high-dose magnesium significantly reduces menstrual cramps, even eliminating them completely in some cases.
This is in part due to the fact that magnesium inhibits the biosynthesis of certain tissue hormones and that it has a vasodilatory effect.