Stress can wreck your hormones and cause PMS when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Thyroid disease and PMS

For some women, their monthly period is no big deal. For others, it’s a grueling journey through depression, anxiety, irritability, pain, and more.

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If you think premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is too awful to be natural, you’re right — PMS is a symptom of a hormone imbalance often caused by too much stress. This imbalance can signal imbalances with your thyroid function.

Although a variety of factors can cause hormonal imbalances and PMS, one of the more common is low progesterone caused by long term chronic stress. Chronic stress plays a major role in triggering thyroid and hormonal flare-ups. Managing the various factors that cause stress is vital to both PMS and thyroid health.

Low progesterone symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Crying easily
  • Irritability
  • Poor focus and concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or irregular menstruation
  • Low sex drive
  • Migraines

How stress lowers progesterone when you have thyroid disease

Chronic stress causes pregnenolone steal, a situation that causes progesterone deficiency and hormonal imbalances. Pregnenolone is a precursor hormone used to make progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol.

The body can only make so much pregnenolone. This means that if stress is always high, it “steals” pregnenolone from progesterone to make cortisol in order to meet the demands of stress. This causes an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen.

This balance in turn causes spikes in inflammation that worsen symptoms of thyroid disease or Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, making it difficult to manage.

Factors that cause pregnenolone steal

Progesterone cream use can further skew hormones. It’s better to address the causes of low progesterone, which is typically stress-induced pregnenolone steal. These are among the similar strategies one uses to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Causes of pregnenolone steal and PMS include:

  • Sugar and sweeteners, excess processed carbs — rice, pasta, bread, pastries, etc.
  • Excess caffeine
  • Food intolerances — gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, nuts, grains, etc.
  • Digestive issues — bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, leaky gut, pain, etc.
  • Lack of sleep
  • Inflammation — joint pain, chronic pain, skin rashes, brain fog, fatigue, etc.
  • Autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto’s)
  • Overdoing it; over exercising
  • Feeling constantly overwhelmed
  • Poor nutrition
  • Reverse pregnenolone steal to soothe PMS

Ways to reduce pregnenolone steal and better manage thyroid and hormone imbalance include an anti-inflammatory diet, restoring gut health, and managing autoimmunity.

A variety of compounds can help soothe PMS, such as omega 3 fatty acids and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) —evening primrose oil, borage oil, or black currant oil. Visit one of our nutrition stores to learn more about these supplements and order.

Supporting serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes well-being, may help with PMS mood symptoms. Helpful supplements include tryptophan, 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, and SAMe.

Keep in mind, this is a broad overview. Contact our team for more advice on using natural therapies to alleviate PMS, support healthy hormones, and manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and hormone imbalances.

Joni Labbe

About Joni Labbe

Dr. Joni Labbe is a board-certified clinical nutritionist specializing in science-based nutrition with a focus on women's health issues. She has successfully helped pre-menopausal and menopausal women regain and maintain their health since 1995. Dr. Labbe is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Thyroid & Menopause Madness and It’s Not Just Menopause: It’s Your Thyroid. She is also a professional speaker, radio personality, fitness expert, and former host of “Healthier Way With Dr. Labbe.” Dr. Labbe is one of the country’s leading authorities on thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease. Dr. Labbe has also authored numerous articles and blogs on health, nutrition, and thyroid health, as seen in Naturally Savvy, Thyroid Nation, and Fox News. She is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Doctor of Chiropractic, and has post graduate training in Functional Neurology, Functional Endocrinology, Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, and earned a Diplomate and Fellow in Nutrition from the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

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