The authors of this article, Dr. Dean and Ms. Beck, are keymedical advisors to www.yeastconnection.coma Web site I highly recommend to women based on the pioneering workof Dr. William Crook.
Dr. Crook, one of myfirst mentors and a friend who passed away last year, was the authorof the classic book, The Yeast Connection, and many other bestsellersthat helped millions of women. He was instrumental in helping merecognize that there was a wide network of physicians who understoodthe importance of nutrition.
Indirectly, he helped connect me to this network and I willbe ever grateful for his guidance in this area as that was reallythe beginning of my journey into high-level natural health.
His great legacy is being carried on at www.yeastconnection.com,where you will find out all the latest insights on how candida yeastcauses problems in your body, and how to alleviate them.
ByCarolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
Pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS can make life miserable, momentarilyor monthly, for 90 percent of American women. It's a mishmashof symptoms--bloating, cramping, tender breasts, irritability, foodcravings and a dozen other symptoms--that can occur in the lutealphase of a woman's menstrual cycle (right after ovulation untilthe menstrual flow begins).
To the eternal aggravation of countless women through time, PMScan last as long as 14 days until menstruation begins.
PMS can be aggravated by:
- The number of children a woman has had
- Alcohol consumption
- Sugar and caffeine intake
- Progesterone deficiency
Other dietary factors, lack of exercise, hypothyroidism and depressioncan also contribute to PMS symptoms that are severe enough to interferewith daily life for up to 40 percent of all women.
Listed below are some of the many symptoms of PMS:
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Of course, these symptoms can be caused by many conditions, butwhen they are consistently linked to this specific time in a woman'smenstrual cycle, they are usually grouped under the PMS label.
Scientific evidence now suggests that women who exercise regularlyare less affected than sedentary women by the mood swings and depressionoften associated with PMS.
A Closer Look
Many doctors are now beginning to take a deeper look at PMS. Recurringand life-altering PMS warrants an investigation of the following:
- Thyroid function to determine if hyper or hypothyroid symptoms are interfering with hormone balance
- Insulin metabolism to determine if blood sugar fluctuations are triggering food cravings, fatigue, headaches and irritability
- Diet to determine if the patient is eating a diet high in sugar and refined and processed foods
The late Dr. William Crook, author of TheYeast Connection and Women's Health, suggested a connectionbetween the systemic overgrowth of candida albicans yeast and PMS.He believed PMS develops as the result of a number of causes, amongthem yeast overgrowth.
Some researchers suggest systemic candida overgrowth may triggerPMS symptoms by activating an autoimmune response to sex hormonessuch as estrogen.
The normal rise and decline of estrogen in a monthly cycle couldhelp explain the periodic flare-ups and subsequent quieting of candidasymptoms, which can be remarkably similar to those of PMS mentionedabove.
For women experiencing PMS discomfort who also had a high scoreon the yeastquestionnaire, Dr. Crook suggested his special sugar-free anti-candidadiet, oral antifungal medications and nutritional supplements couldbe life changing. A growing number of his colleagues are now beginningto agree with the connection between yeast and PMS.
As can be seen from the yeast questionnaire, women who have takenrepeated courses of antibiotics, suffered recurrent vaginal yeastinfections, taken birth control and/or had a diet high in sugarand processed and refined foods are at particularly high risk forcandida yeast overgrowth.
Learning to Eat Healthier
Research shows that women most likely to suffer from PMS had someremarkable dietary parallels. They consumed more carbohydrates (62percent), refined sugar (75 percent), dairy products (79 percent)and more sodium (78 percent) than women eating the standard Americandiet.
We suggest that women suffering from the symptoms of PMS considerthe following anti-candida diet for one cycle and see if there isa difference in PMS symptoms. It is best to begin the diet at theend of the luteal phase, the day your period begins.
The first phase of the anti-candida diet involves eliminating all:
- Corn syrup (most fruit drinks are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup)
- White bread and other white flour products
- Soft drinks
- Most ready-to-eat cereals
- All sweet, fat-laden snack foods
Foods containing these nutritionally deficient simple carbohydratespromote yeast overgrowth and literally feed the yeast organisms.
Replace all processed and refined foods with more vegetables ofall kinds, including those you might normally eat. Avoid all fermentedor mold and fungus-based foods, including soy sauce, vinegar, bluecheese and all types of mushrooms.
Avoid and Replace
Get rid of all hydrogenated fats and foods containing food coloringand additives. Add modest amounts of olive, walnut, flaxseed, sesameand other healthy unprocessed, unrefined oils for cooking and saladdressings.
Round out the diet with lean cuts of beef and pork, chicken, turkey,seafood, wild game, nuts and seeds. Modest amounts of high-carbohydratevegetables, including potatoes (white and sweet), avocado, beansand other legumes, are permissible. Yogurt, hard cheeses and creamcheese can be eaten too.
For this experimental phase, avoid all fruit, which is high inthe fruit sugar called fructose. It can be added back cautiouslyafter the first month. Also avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee andother caffeinated drinks.
Charting symptoms, moods and general feelings of well-being overthis month-long period can provide some powerful insights. Reviewour symptomchart. By the end of this phase, there should be a clear pictureof the connection between diet and PMS symptoms.
For the next phase, certain foods can be gradually re-introduced.Experiment with fruit, brewer's yeast and vinegar one at atime to determine how they affect symptoms. More explicit instructionsabout the challenge phase can be found here.
Probiotics (live "friendly"bacteria) are an essential part of the anti-candida program becausethey help restore the natural balance of intestinal flora, includingyeast. Nutritional supplements like olive leaf extract and caprylicacid may also be helpful. See descriptions for these nutrients atour Website.
In extreme cases, prescription antifungal medications may be necessarywhile keeping on a candida-free diet and taking probiotics.
CarolynDean, M.D., N.D., is medical advisor to Woman's HealthConnection at www.yeastconnection.comand is featured on the website's "Ask A Pro" page.Her latest books are TheMiracle of Magnesium and NaturalPrescriptions for Common Ailments.