Beat PMS with Natural Remedies

Written by Janelle Lawrence

On September 6, 2012

It’s easy for husbands and boyfriends to say that PMS is just a woman’s excuse to nag him more or fly off the handle. The truth is, premenstrual syndrome is real. During a women’s menstrual cycle, hormones called estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, causing a wide variety of PMS symptoms such as irritability, bloating, fatigue, weight gain, cramping, depression, swelling, breast tenderness, and headaches. For women who desperately want to get relief from their discomfort, there are plenty of natural remedies.

Natural Remedies for PMS

When suffering from PMS symptoms, most women turn to over-the-counter products such as ibuprofen or aspirin to get relief. The trouble with these types of drugs is they can cause unwanted side effects and they do nothing to address underlying hormonal imbalances. Using natural remedies for PMS can help women experience lasting relief instead of just a temporary solution.

  • Diet for PMS

It’s true what they say, you are what you eat. Certain types of foods are a big no-no during that time of the month because they make symptoms worse. Let’s take a look at how and what to eat instead.

    • Whole Foods – If you’re like most busy women, you don’t have a lot of time to eat right. Unfortunately, fast food and processed microwave meals contribute to lasting health problems, including chronic PMS. Eat more whole foods throughout the month and especially during your menstrual cycle. This means dining on organic poultry, meat, wild-caught fish, organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds.
    • Ditch the Sugar – It’s natural to crave sugar during that time of the month but giving in to them can make PMS symptoms worse. Consuming too much sugar can cause a sudden spike and then drop in your blood sugar levels, intensifying feelings of anxiety and irritability.
    • Cut the Alcohol – When you’re eating dark chocolate to stave off PMS symptoms, you might think of enjoying it with some red wine. While it may make you feel better for a couple of hours, alcohol is a depressant that will make you feel more run down and listless. Consuming too much alcohol also depletes B-vitamin stores, disrupting your metabolism and making bloating worse.
    • Kick the Caffeine – It’s hard to give up that morning cup of coffee or tea just because it’s that time of the month but consuming too much caffeine dehydrates your body, makes breast tenderness more noticeable, and increases feelings of jitteriness.
    • Ease Up on Salt – If bloating is one of your most annoying PMS symptoms, cut back on your salt intake. You may crave salty foods such as potato chips, pickles, and pretzels but too much indulgence increases not only bloating, but fluid retention and breast tenderness.
    • Eat Smaller Meals – During that time of the month, hypoglycemia, or sudden blood sugar drops, can make an already anxious and irritable person feel that much worse. Try eating small, nutritious meals throughout the day rather than challenging your digestive system with bulky ones.
  • Supplements and Herbs for Premenstrual Syndrome

Before you reach for an over-the-counter drug for your PMS symptoms, try some natural remedies. Supplements and herbs can provide help for PMS without the side effects.

    • Evening Primrose Oil – Evening primrose oil is a rich source of gamma linolenic acid, which can help calm anxious feelings as well as relieve bloating, irritability, and breast pain.
    • Magnesium – Magnesium is an essential mineral responsible for maintaining neurological health. If you’re craving dark chocolate during that time of the month, it may be a strong indication you have a magnesium deficiency. Other signs of a magnesium deficiency include insomnia, chronic anxiety, muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, chronic fatigue, and depression.
    • St. John’s Wort – The use ofSt. John’s Wort for depressive disorders and PMS dates back to ancientGreece. This herb can be used as a mood stabilizer and may help relieve feelings of anxiety, irritability, breast tenderness, and food cravings.
    • Chasteberry – Chasteberry has been used to treat gynecological conditions since ancient Egyptian times and is still used to day to provide help for PMS. According to an article published in American Family Physician, thirty European studies have reported marked improvements in PMS symptoms with chasteberry.
    • Black Cohosh – You may have heard about Black Cohosh for menopause but PMS? Yes. This herb is designed to be a hormone balancer that can help reduce or prevent common premenstrual symptoms. Black Cohosh is especially helpful in easing abdominal cramping as it is a natural anti-spasmodic.
    • B Vitamins – B vitamins help balance emotions and increase energy levels without causing feelings of jitteriness. Foods such as red meat, beans, oranges, and green leafy vegetables can provide help for PMS. If you feel you do not get enough of these foods in your diet, you can also add a B-complex supplement once a month.
    • Peppermint – Peppermint is an excellent stomach tonic that can help relieve the excess gas and bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome.
  • Exercise for PMS

When you feel bloated, irritable, and cranky, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, mild to moderate exercise can help boost feel-good endorphins and increase circulation to relieve cramps. Walking, swimming, and hiking regularly during that time of the month can help cut down on PMS symptoms and lessen their severity month after month. (You can save the harder cardio and weight-lifting exercises for when you’re feeling more yourself).

  • Sleep for Premenstrual Syndrome

When you’re already feeling fatigued, it’s not hard to want to just lay in bed and sleep. But when PMS symptoms have you in its grips, you may not be able to sleep as well or as comfortably as you’d like. If you’re struggling with PMS-related insomnia, try evening primrose oil or chelated magnesium an hour before bedtime. You can also take Epsom salt baths, (magnesium sulfate), to help relax your mind and body and relieve painful cramping before retiring for the night. (Epsom salt baths should not be taken by anyone pregnant, diabetic or allergic to sulfur.)

If PMS symptoms have you curled up into a ball every month, these natural remedies can provide lasting relief. If you’re living with any type of serious medical illness or taking prescription medication for any ailment, consult your doctor before using natural remedies. That time of the month doesn’t have to be a drag. There’s help for PMS and you can find it at your nearest grocery store or hiking trail.

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