Diana J. asked if I would explain more about my PMS game plan choices, so here goes.
I started suspecting that my PMS was caused by a hormonal imbalance awhile ago. Progesterone came up on my radar screen mainly because progesterone levels are high during pregnancy, and pregnancy is when I feel most "myself," happy, and emotionally-stable. I've also gathered that abnormally high estrogen levels can cause the anxiety, aggression, and irritability some PMS-sufferers experience (PMS type A). So I'm thinking it's likely I have elevated estrogen levels when they shouldn't be high and not enough progesterone. Maybe.
Based on what I found digging on the internet, I created my own game plan to attempt to regulate my hormones as follows:
1) Early to bed. I'm a night owl. (And I have a baby who nurses off-and-on in the night.) So I'm basically in a state of constant and chronic sleep-deprivation. In fact, I think I could say I've been sleep-deprived since I was in high school when I started frequently staying up late. So that's over a decade of lost sleep. Based on what I've been reading, sleep loss can wreak havoc on your hormone levels. Ooooops. It's also my understanding that our bodies are designed to sleep from about 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Varying from that can cause big problems. Interestingly enough, there was one week-ish when I was consistently going to bed by 10:00 and getting up around 6:00, and I was amazed how great I felt. I'm doing better, but still working on this one.
2) Down with the xenoestrogens. You know... those chemicals in our environment that act like estrogen. They're everywhere! It's virtually impossible to eliminate them from our life, but we can try to minimize our exposure through using more natural and organic products and avoiding foods and drinks heated in plastic, etc. This is one of the reasons why I started drinking organic milk, buying more organic meat/produce, using natural products for lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and drinking from a less-toxic water bottle when I'm out of the house.
3) Mushrooms. In my research, I discovered that mushrooms may reduce estrogen levels and decrease breast cancer risk. If I do have elevated estrogen levels prompting my PMS symptoms, I figure more mushrooms are in order, especially on days 26 and 27 of my cycle (when I usually experience the anxiety, aggression, and irritability). Plus I think they're yummy. So far I've been eating them somewhat randomly, but I think I will start reserving them (they're kind of expensive) specifically for the "luteal phase" (last week-ish) of my cycle. I've never seen or heard of using mushrooms to treat PMS, but I figure it makes logical sense... worth a shot.
4) Other PMS prevention measures.
* Avoid junk food
* Get extra calcium (more yogurt), magnesium and vitamin E (almonds), vitamin D, and B vitamins
These are all natural PMS remedies I found popping-up all over the web. I am still trying to work regular exercise into my routine. This site has some excellent tips on what to eat to beat PMS.
I hope this helps! It seems to be helping me so far, and that's a HUGE relief!