Every woman goes through a cycle of 28 days. This is a sign of fertility and an indication that you are capable of creating a new life. However, sometimes good things come with agony and pain. We are talking about the PMS symptoms that hit most women. Some ladies have very little discomfort with their monthly cycle, but others face an ordeal every month.
Understanding Premenstrual Syndrome
It is a common condition that most women face during the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle, which is approximately seven days before the beginning of painful periods.
Premenstrual syndrome is associated with hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and blood sugar fluctuations, all of which are avoidable with the right approach.
There are various causes leading to premenstrual symptoms, including psychological factors, an unhealthy diet, biochemical irregularities, hormonal imbalances and a nutritional deficiency.
The most common PMS symptoms include:
- Breast Tenderness
- Food Cravings
- Mood Swings
- Weight Gain
- Trouble Concentrating
The main cause of the PMS symptoms is the elevated levels of female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
Progesterone is another hormone that the ovaries produce. Other factors include decreased levels of the brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin.
How to Escape Premenstrual Symptoms
The fact is, there are no said cures, but only treatments for PMS. PMS is generally a result of a hormones, but poor diet and stress can exacerbate them. Here are some ways to effectively treat PMS:
1. Change Your Diet
Healthier diets can work to soothe the premenstrual symptoms. Reduce your intake of salt, fatty foods and sweets. These foods increase the body’s thirst for fluids, causing it to extract water from the cells, which in turns causes weight gain, water retention and bloating.
Balancing the consumption of alcohol and caffeine also improves your premenstrual syndrome condition. Excessive alcohol consumption usually results in depression, while an overdose of caffeine leads to nervousness and a bad temperament.
Include nut batters, protein shakes, and eggs for breakfast to balance your blood sugar. Consider eliminating all common allergens for a few weeks, specifically gluten. Instead, increase fiber in your diet.
Two tablespoons of flaxseeds per day will hep to correct constipation and balance hormones. You can add them to your favorite shake or drizzle them on foods or salads.
Up the intake of omega-3 fats by consuming more wild fish like wild salmon, sardines and herrings, and give walnuts, a try as well. Consider eating organic foods for better health.
Introduce the right amounts of complex carbohydrates to your diet as they work to increase the serotonin levels in your body. Cereals, whole grain pasta, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are some of the complex carbohydrates you should try.
You may also like to add powdered drinks to your eating schedule. These drinks help to enhance the carbohydrate levels and calm down the symptoms of PMS. Foods that are rich in calcium are also a great way to counteract the effects of approaching symptoms before your menstruation.
Never skip your meals. Eating small portions of food several times a day helps to avoid undesirable weight gain and keeps your mood in check, as well. Try eating healthier today. Make it a habit over time. Healthy foods will not only keep you fit and active during those painful days, but also for the rest of the month, too.
2. Take the Necessary Supplements
Switching to a healthier diet is the right step towards healthy living. In addition to this healthy change, you may consider taking certain nutrients and supplements to reduce symptoms of PMS.
For most women, including a calcium supplement of 1,200 mg daily works to calm down the symptoms of PMS, such as bad moods and bloating.
Researchers have also found that supplements containing linoleic acid and omega-3s can reduce irritability and lessen the aches due to PMS.
Magnesium and vitamin B can both support the metabolism of estrogen through the liver. Supplements containing the right blend of vitamins and minerals, such as zinc or vitamins C and B complex can be beneficial to your health.
Talk to your doctor to see if they can run some blood tests to see if you are lacking in any nutrients. That way you can pinpoint the problem and address it effectively.
3. Shake Your Body
Physical exercise helps counteract PMS symptoms by balancing your hormones. When you exercise regularly, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that are naturally present in the brain. It is a well-known fact that endorphins improve mood swings. The release of endorphins also cuts down on depression, anxiety and stress.
All you need is just 20 minutes of exercise at least three to four times per week to facilitate the release of endorphins in your body.
In addition, your body movements will increase blood flow to contracted abdominal, uterine and lower back muscles, which helps to calm down the tension that causes bad cramps.
Sweating and stretching not only releases pain-reducing endorphins, but it also triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine is a chemical that works provides you with satisfaction and pleasure. At the same time, serotonin combats anxiety and depression.
If you don’t think you have time for an exercise routine, find a way to include biking, running or walking in your schedule. Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator and park farther away from the store when you go shopping.
You may also try practicing daily yoga poses during the week before your menstruation begins to relieve muscle tension and contractions.
4. Take Time to Chillax
Even though it’s easy to say than do, taking some time out to spend with yourself is definitely worth it for your health. PMS drains your energy, leaving you panicky and anxious. Therefore, it’s a good idea to indulge in some relaxation techniques to get rid of your stress.
Breathing exercises, meditation and massages can help you unwind and soothe your aching muscles. Body massages promote muscle relaxation, reduce stress and release pain.
The type of essential oils you use for massaging also make a big difference to your overall mood. You can find a variety of massage oils and massagers to keep your spirits invigorated.
Lavender is an effective muscle relaxer, while geranium is an estrogen balancer.
You may use several drops of one type of oil in your massage lotion. Consider massaging for five minutes per day during PMS time, using slight to moderate pressure, and you will definitely see the difference.
Soaking your body in a bathtub of warm water and using a hot water bottle also work great to ease muscle cramps.5.
5. Try Alternative Therapies
Sunlight is very efficacious in treating the symptoms of PMS. Studies indicate that light helps to lessen the mood swings and depression due to PMS. If dusk makes you gloomier, switch on all the lights during winter evenings and cloudy days.
You can also incorporate your exercise schedule with light therapy. Consider exercising during the early morning to get the benefits of the sun, as well.
Experts suggest that if women change the way they deal with PMS, they can easily bear the symptoms. Many professionals use cognitive therapy in order to alter the negative thought patterns of women during these painful periods. This therapy is useful to combat the symptoms of PMS and help the individual to deal with stress, as a whole.
6. Talk to Your Doctor
Medications, such as antidepressants are often effective at treating PMS symptoms like irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can make a big difference in your overall health. Your doctor can determine if you should try medications that can help you be more composed and peaceful before the onset of your menstrual cycle.
You may also consult your doctor to learn the effectiveness of oral contraceptives and estrogen pills to control the symptoms of PMS. A majority of women have found relief from taking such medications.
Over-the-counter painkillers can help soothe the discomfort caused by cramping. You can also consider taking diuretics to get rid of excessive water. As we know, fluid retention is a particularly troubling PMS symptom; but, drinking more fluids and staying hydrated can actually help to counteract that. You should drink six to eight glasses of water a day, every day, so keep it up when PMS strikes.
7. Traditional Treatments Help, Too
Alternative treatments, such as homeopathy and acupuncture may help to fight the bad cramps and mood changes of PMS.
Studies show that acupuncture is highly effective at treating PMS. Even though western physicians are still not convinced by this treatment, most women can feel the benefits of this amazing therapy.
Acupuncture aims to balance the energetic disturbances in the body with the help of tiny needles placed in various parts of the body.
When the body returns to the proper energy balance, it often results in a decrease of PMS symptoms.
Apart from using needles, acupuncture treatments come in various forms, including cupping, acupressure, magnets and laser stimulation.
Acupuncture increases the blood circulation and promotes the secretion of endorphins, which upsurge your moods and relieves pain. There are reports that show most women experience relief from PMS symptoms within 24 hours of an acupuncture treatment.
Homeopathic treatment is yet another fantastic way to deal with your monthly troubles. It works to treat the underlying imbalances that lead to PMS symptoms. Some of the most popular and effective homeopathic remedies include sepia, calcarea, lycopodium, nux vom and sulphur. All these medicines aim to reduce your PMS symptoms and make them more manageable.
Other than these, there are numerous other alternative treatments to help women with symptoms of PMS. Not everyone responds to the same treatment. Thus, it is best to consult your holistic physician to choose the treatment that best suits your needs.
8. Sleep to Lighten Your PMS Load
Women dealing with menstrual related fatigue have bodies in desperate need of rest. Try scheduling your day so that you can get that power nap when PMS hits.
Some ladies deal with insomnia as one of their PMS symptoms. Disturbance in sleep patterns is usually due to the menstrual cycle hormonal changes that cause imbalances in estrogen, serotonin and progesterone levels.
The symptoms of insomnia before the menstrual cycle include extreme fatigue where women feel extremely tired before and after their periods. Heightened crankiness caused due to exhaustion enhances moodiness. Lack of focus also leads to lowered productivity.
If you are finding it difficult to have a good night’s sleep, try consulting your doctor for medication. Exercise, healthy foods and breathing techniques also work to manage your disturbed sleep before and during your monthly cycle.
9. Natural Herbs for PMS Relief
People have used herbs since ancient times for medicinal purposes. A few herbs specifically effective for PMS symptoms include:
- Chasteberry: Stimulates your endocrine system to soothe your aching muscles. It also cuts down on bloating, irritability and painful breasts. It helps to balance the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, which is the prime controller of the hormonal system.
- Evening Primrose: May help to provide relief from cramps and anxiety.
- Valerian Root: An ingredient in many teas, works as a wonderful muscle relaxer.
- Dandelion Root: Helps in the liver detoxification and works to rid your body of excessive water.
- Black Cohosh: Works to promote estrogen production as a precursor to progesterone.
- Flaxseeds: Composed of lignans that help to balance the hormonal metabolism and hinder the negative effects of excessive estrogen.
- Dong Quai: A Chinese herb primarily for treating health conditions in women. It regulates the irregular menstrual cycle and decreases cramps, lethargy and exhaustion experienced during the monthly cycle. Also known as female ginseng, this herb helps women recover from childbirth and illnesses, too.
- Maca or Maca Root: Balances hormones in women. Native Peruvians used maca to enhance fertility in women. This herb also works for depression, tuberculosis, for arousing sexual desire and to boost immunity.
10. Seek Support
Keeping your PMS symptoms to yourself won’t help. Share your troubles, concerns and worries with your closest friends and family. You will not only feel lighter, but may also get some new tips to get you through PMS symptoms.
There are numerous online forums that carry loads of information on managing PMS. The internet can be a great resource for women looking for safe and natural cures. Join discussion groups to find solutions for your specific problems.
Mild symptoms of PMS are easily treated by following the natural remedies. However, if you suffer from chronic symptoms, you need a series of treatments for overall improvement. If you are not sure which treatments suit you best, consult your physician. With the right help and effective treatments, you can wave goodbye once and for all to PMS.