Bloating, cramping, heavy bleeding, headaches, moodiness, depression, fatigue, food cravings and sensitive breasts are among the uncomfortable symptoms many women experience before their periods begin. The monthly symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are quite irritating, painful and debilitating for some women, while others only feel mild side-effects. If you are among the most affected, you’ll want to keep reading for some great natural remedies for PMS.
PMS begins during the second half of the menstrual cycle when hormones, mostly estrogen and progesterone, begin shifting to induce menses. When hormones become extremely off-balance, which they tend to do during this time, they react with brain chemicals leading to the negative symptoms of PMS that women often experience. Genetics, nutrition, lifestyle and other factors may also contribute to PMS. In order to tame hormones and premenstrual symptoms, women can use a variety of natural remedies for PMS to try to rebalance hormones and reduce the inflammatory side-effects they cause.
A PMS-reducing diet can go a long way in curbing your symptoms. The first step is working to eliminate environmental pesticides that contain estrogen. Try to eat organic animal products, fruits and vegetables when possible. The estrogens found in food can alter the balance of your natural hormones and lead to stronger PMS symptoms. Keep your salt consumption under control too, as salt leads to bloating. High fiber foods including produce and whole grains can help bind to toxins and eliminate them from your system naturally and aid in blood sugar stabilization, which is controlled by another hormone, insulin. Also, flush your body by drinking plenty of water throughout the month.
Additionally, keep the fat content in your diet in check by eating lots of healthy omega-3s and avoiding too many polyunsaturated fats from common vegetable oils. Polyunsaturated fats interfere with hormone production while healthier fats that are found naturally in our bodies in more abundance can actually help balance hormones. Lastly, avoid inflammatory foods that will contribute to bloating and cramping, and focus on anti-inflammatory nutrients like the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and omega-3s.
As much as your symptoms may drag you down during PMS, try to keep moving to stimulate equilibrium among your hormones. Exercise helps reduce estrogen around the body as blood flow increases. If your symptoms prevent high impact workouts, try something more relaxing like walking, swimming, dancing or yoga. Exercise will also help flush toxins through sweat and can aid in decreasing inflammation in the body.
Rest and Relaxation
Yes, you have permission to relax a little during PMS because it can actually help your symptoms. Getting plenty of sleep, taking a warm bath, getting a massage and other forms of relaxation can help ease many side-effects of PMS. They are also stress relievers, which impact hormones as well.
If you hope to avoid pharmaceuticals, look for natural supplements that can help with symptoms of PMS. These include nutrients like calcium, magnesium and B vitamins (mentioned above), as well as primrose oil (with lots of essential fatty acids), chasteberry extract (to rebalance hormones), dandelion root (a dieuretic), maca (addresses many PMS symptoms) and red raspberry leaf (reduces cramping). Also try taking probiotics to help settle bacteria in the gut and keep digestion running smoothly.
Other Helpful Natural Remedies for PMS
- Apply medium heat to your lower abdomen to reduce cramping using a heating pad or electric blanket. Warmth helps soothe inflammation.
- Eliminate household toxins such as harsh chemical cleaning supplies, synthetic fabrics and plastics. Select natural alternatives and store food in glass containers.
- Wear supportive, comfortable bras to reduce painful breast sensitivity. Avoid additional irritation with soft fabrics and an ideal fit.
- Try natural therapies like acupuncture or homeopathy to relieve symptoms.