Managing the physical and emotional symptoms related to a woman's menstrual cycle
PMS is short for premenstrual syndrome. For a notable percentage of women PMS symptoms may be of sufficient severity to interfere with some aspects of daily life. Common emotional symptoms of PMS include:
- mood swings
- changes in libido
PMS and beta-endorphin research
PMS is a multi factorial dysfunction. The neuro peptide beta-endorphin plays a role in the regulation of the normal menstrual cycle AND research to date suggests that, in part, PMS is influenced by the withdrawal of beta-endorphin during certain times (phases) in the menstrual cycle. Premenstrual symptoms such as anxiety, food cravings and physical discomfort are associated with a significant decline in levels of beta-endorphin.
The two main phases of the menstrual cycle are:
- The follicular phase (generally defined as from the start of menstruation to the end of ovulation)
- The luteal phase (covering the period after ovulation and before the start of your period)
Clinical trials comparing PMS patients with control patients (with no PMS symptoms) have revealed:
- Plasma beta-endorphin levels were significantly lower in PMS patients
- The decrease was significant during the luteal phase but not the follicular phase
- Beta-endorphin values of PMS patients regained normal levels during the next follicular phase
- No changes in beta-endorphin levels were observed / recorded in asymptomatic women
Sensory nerve stimulation and beta-endorphin
When patients were massaged (a form of sensory nerve stimulation) for 30 minutes, there was a moderate mean increase of 16% in plasma beta-endorphin levels lasting about 1 hour.
When patients were treated with TENS:
- For all patients, pain thresholds varied directly with plasma beta-endorphin
- Mean beta-endorphin values decreased in the group receiving no TENS therapy
- Mean beta-endorphin levels increased in both High frequency TENS and Low frequency TENS groups
This is consistent with other research that tells us that:
- Sensory nerve stimulation, including massage and TENS, releases beta-endorphin
- Beta-endorphin modulates pain as well as mood
For women who suffer PMS, the recommended strategy for management involves:
- A healthy, well-balanced diet
- Exercise (which is a known method of releasing beta-endorphin)
To this we would add: do something extra to help you increase your levels of beta-endorphin - something you can do any day, anytime of the day, no matter what else you are doing.
EllaEase RELAX mode
The RELAX mode of EllaEase does just that - it increases the production of beta-endorphin to help you improve your mood, relieve headache and/or reduce stress and anxiety.
Ideally, you should time your use of RELAX mode to anticipate the onset of PMS symptoms. Many women become quite attuned to their monthly cycle and can predict the day that their mood will commence to change. If you are one of these women, we recommend that you start the therapy a day ahead of this.
The second best option is to react as soon as you begin to feel the onset of the symptoms. Anticipation is better than reaction; but if reacting - sooner is better than later.
RELAX mode may be used from LOW intensity (just perceptible) up to a moderate intensity - so long as the sensation remains comfortable and no muscles are twitching.
RELAX mode is best if applied for at least 60 minutes - but in truth, the longer the better, up to a maximum of 8 hours in every 24 hours. A suitable option is to use on low intensity overnight - the unit will operate for 8 hours before it turns itself off.
Pad placement PMS
You apply the electrodes in one of the following locations:
- Bottom of the neck or slightly wider, i.e. towards the shoulders
- Earlobes - special clips are available
- Top of the jaw - just in front of the earlobes (small round pads are appropriate)
- On each wrist
EllaEase treatment guide
|Primary period pain||RELIEVE||Muscles should NOT contract||On demand||On demand|
|Muscle tension||RELIEVE||Muscles should NOT contract||On demand||On demand|
|Low back pain||RELIEVE||Muscles should NOT contract||Minimum 60 minutes||On demand|
|Fluid retention||EASE||Muscles should contract||Minimum 60 minutes||Daily|
|Abdominal cramps||EASE||Muscles should contract||On demand||On demand|
|Tension headache||RELAX||Low||Minimum 60 minutes||Daily|
|Reduce stress and anxiety||RELAX||Low||Several hours||Daily|