11 March 2006

PMS Hell - PMS Sugar Imbalances

Ahh PMS, that word is known to bring dread to many a man - and us women who suffer it, don't think much of it either.

My PMS hell is terrible sometimes, to the point where I cannot handle the sugar imbalances I experience. They are so bad, that I have to eat something sweet or with carbohydrates every few hours, otherwise I start feeling light-headed, dizzy, anxious, have this weird taste in mouth, like I haven't eaten, I feel totally hungry all the time and no matter how much I eat, I feel like I haven't eaten enough, especially if I eat something that has protein in it. If I exercise, it makes the sugar problem even worse. Although if I eat some chocolate (or other high sugar food), I feel much better, but even still, I need to eat lots and often.

I think it has something to do with my hormones being out of balance, but as I have not had any tests done when I am in the middle of this hell, always when I am feeling normal again, the tests are always normal, so the doctors think I am a hypochondriac! Great.
  • I have been tested for diabetes - nope, don't have it.
  • I have been tested for hypoglycaemia - nope, don't have it either.
  • I have been tested for abnormal hormones - all normal
  • I take vitamins, I take minerals, I take supplements.
The only thing I can relate it to, is constantly eating irregular meals with foods that may be too high in sugar and not enough protein, which in normal circumstances may not be healthy, but in PMS, causes such havoc.

These symptoms I experience are getting rarer and rarer, because I now know what is wrong with me and can correct it with the right (and regular) foods.
The thing is, because these symptoms present as both physical (dizzy, light-headed, unable to concentrate or think clearly) and psychological (anxiety, panic), initially I didn't realise they were connected to the same thing - PMS causing (or exacerbating) imbalances in my sugar levels. And because I experience high levels of anxiety and stress when I do have PMS anyway, these symptoms were completely exaggerated, to the point where I thought I was going crazy, but of course I wasn't, it was just the effects of the PMS I was suffering.
I insisted on going to several specialists, to get checked over properly, as I read so much and thought it had to be something sinister that was causing this serious problem. All of them, again told me it was "all inside your head", that it was just "stress" and that they "couldn't help me". What kind of attitude was that? It left me more emotional and more confused until I just thought, "Oh well, this is it. Must be some terrible disease no-one has realised yet".

Still, I researched more. I wasn't ready to give up yet. Finally I came upon some material about PMS causing blood sugar imbalances, just in the two weeks during PMS. It reminded me of many times when I had the PMS sugar imbalances, the last thing I ever did was to eat, so of course it got worse, but I remembered that when I did, I felt better. So this information struck a chord with me. I researched some more.

I discovered that there are so many layers to PMS and to health in general. I discovered the "Zone" diet and amazingly enough, it helped me. I didn't follow it religiously as I still needed more simple carbohydrates than it recommended, but because I ate more healthily, I ate more protein and I ate more regularly, it helped.
At the start, it was hell

All the nutritional stuff I was doing was making me feel even worse, even exercise seemed to lower my blood sugar levels further and make me feel awful. I discovered that I couldn't eat a low carbohydrate diet because it made me feel like I had PMS sugar imbalances (and all the other problems of PMS) all month. 

I modified the diet to suit me and I started to feel better. Much, much, much better. And all month long. The weight started to drop off me - I had been putting on all this weight in my middle zone (which is unusual for a pear shaped woman like me) - and with my new diet, I felt so much better and in control of my life again.

When I told my doctor, he was curious to know what I was doing and he seemed really perplexed by it. He said, "Maybe for you, we shouldn't just look at the blood test results, we should look at how your symptoms and recovery present themselves". That was a great vindication for me, as he really didn't think it was anything other than stress, but at least now I know what it was - simply (ha!) sugar imbalances during PMS!

All that time I researched the Internet, magazines and libraries, I found a whole gamut of information about health and nutrition. As I couldn't see this information anywhere in one place on the Internet, I decided to build the web site and put all this information in there.


  1. This is me to a "T" can you tell me what you did to make these awful symptoms go away? I'm so lightheaded before my period, always having to constantly eat to keep the symptoms at bay.

  2. Hi Page

    The trick I found is to ensure I eat regularly and healthily before I even get to PMS so that those symptoms dont affect me so much at that time. That means proper breakfast, lunch and dinner and healthy snacks in between.

    This involves eating little processed foods and mostly fresh, plant-based foods, made mostly from scratch. I also eat lots of nuts and seeds and dried fruit when I feel the sugar cravings happening. I have found that legumes (chickpeas - I think Americans call them Garbanzo beans, dried beans) and lots of green vegetables really help to provide all the nutrients I need to help stem sugar cravings and then makes me feel okay during PMS, so that I dont have such major cravings then either.

    I find that if I eat more healthily and regularly (that really is the key - regular meals), I dont tend to crave sugar as much. And that, as you know, is the goal! To keep the blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.

    Of course, you cant deprive yourself totally. I do eat organic dark chocolate, which is okay in moderation.

    I find that if I dont do the above, I get the lightheadedness and feeling so hungry that only high GI foods (and high sugary foods) can help to make those symptoms go away. And thats not good!

    Good luck and let me know how you go!

    Zana :)

    PS If you want some healthy recipes, try:
    Vital Health Zone - Recipes

  3. Hi Zana,

    Thank you SO much, I thought I was the only person with these bizarre symptoms. My mistake is that I started my diet DURING pms, and of course I felt ten times worse because my body was struggling with the pms plus the sudden diet change. I'll make sure to start back on the hypoglymic diet after 'the storm'. Thanks again for being so open, I think lots of hypoglycemics are a little lost and looking desperately for answers. Thanks for the recipes also!

  4. Hi Page

    You're totally welcome!

    I did exactly the same as you before - tried to modify my diet to be low GI, less sugary during PMS and that just made me even more dizzy and more spaced out too. I also used to get this weird taste in my mouth too. It was just a horrible feeling.

    I would get to the point, where I just ate and ate but it didnt sate my hunger or symptoms unless I ate really highly sugarey foods. And that's when I realised it was a problem, because I didnt want to keep on eating such junk every month just to keep me on an even keel. It was very unhealthy too.

    That's part of what got me to do research on what could help and really a fresher, lower GI diet I found to be the best for me to help stablise my sugar levels all month.

    That helped me and that's what I would recommend for anyone else with the same symptoms.

    Good luck :)

  5. This is amazing info! THANKS, ive been dealing with this for over a year now!!

  6. Hi Raquel

    Thanks for your comment. It's good to know that you're not alone in experiencing these symptoms.

    Just make sure you dont try to reduce high sugar intake during PMS as that will make your symptoms so much worse. Try it after your periods have finished - then your body can handle it better.

    Good luck :)