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Nutritional tips for PMS and PMDD

Most women have experienced Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) at some point. Unfortunately, many women really suffer from PMS. Now women are being diagnosed with a severe version called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

In a perfect world our periods should come and go without any issues. So in this blog, I hope to help you eliminate that not so fun time of the month with some good old fashion nutrition. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel and have less symptoms by providing your body with the proper nutrients to help regulate your hormones. So why not give it a try and see how you feel next month.


Hormonal imbalances have probably plagued women for thousands of years. PMS occurs during the hormonal shifts from ovulation into the luteal phase and usually starts around cycle 21 leading up to bleeding.

There is a long list of symptoms that women can experience during PMS, but here is a condensed list of the most common symptoms.

  • Mood changes: irritability, depression, anxiety

  • Breast tenderness

  • Fatigue

  • Food cravings

  • Headaches

  • Bloating

  • Low libido/sex drive

With PMDD, times 1000 intensity to those symptoms. These women experience extreme highs and lows during this time of the month. This is when women come to see me, because they are exhausted with having to plan around this time of the month. They are tired of not feeling like their happy self for next two nexts.

In TCM, when assess this time of the menstrual cycle related with yin and yang imbalance. Western Medicine explains it as imbalance of estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. This is mostly a liver issue since the liver is the hormone regulating organ. In TCM, it is diagnosed as Liver Qi stagnation, which means your liver isn't able to regulate the hormone changes. So the main focus and treatment is to address the liver.

By optimizing your diet, you can help your liver to its job and minimize those horrible PMS symptoms and reduce the severity for PMDD.


1. Eliminate foods like dairy, greasy, fatty, and spicy.

Dairy can have added hormones and antibiotics. Plus, if you have sensitivity to dairy then it can create some inflammation in the body. Greasy and fatty foods require bile to breakdown and digest, which is made by your liver. Spicy foods can create more heat in the body, which can exasperate your symptoms.

2. Consume foods that are bitter.

Bitter flavor will help clear out heat and assist with digestion.

  • Cruciferous foods-kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts

  • Dandelion leaves

  • Milk thistle

  • Arugula

  • Collard and mustard greens

  • Green tea

3. Consume sour foods.

Sour is the flavor associated with the liver.

  • Drink lemon or apple cider vinegar water daily.

  • Lime

  • Grapefruit

  • Sauerkraut

4. Consume iodine rich foods.

Iodine helps balance estrogen levels by blocking the receptors so you aren't estrogen dominant.

  • Seaweed or sea kelp (best source)

  • Cod fish

  • Shrimp

  • Eggs

  • Avoid using table salt for iodine

Please give these TCM nutritional tips for PMS and PMDD a try and see if that helps get rid of your symptoms. If that only helps somewhat, then you probably need more help to regulate your h. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas for PMS and PMDD is very effective. Please feel free to contact me or book a New Patient Exam and let's get started so you can live life without having to plan around that time of the month.

In Good Health!


acupuncturist for PMS & PMDD Stacy Spence



Traditional Chinese medicine on treating premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Intake of Selected Minerals and Risk of Premenstrual Syndrome


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