6 Natural Treatments for PMS to Get Rid of All Your Symptoms
For most women, their ‘time of the month’ is not something they look forward to. Menstrual periods can bring with them emotional and physical PMS symptoms that vary greatly in severity from person to person if they don’t follow a natural treatment for PMS.
PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome, which is a group of symptoms women experience 1-2 weeks before the start of their period that usually go away 2-3 days after their period begins. These symptoms can often negatively impact daily life to some degree. (1)
Research shows that 47.8% of women of reproductive age all over the world experience full-fledged PMS symptoms. And 80% of women experience (at least) some degree of PMS symptoms during their menstrual cycle. (2)(3)
The main physical symptoms associated with PMS are cramps, bloating, changes in bowel movements, tender breasts, and mood swings.
Emotional changes commonly associated with PMS include feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, overwhelm, and excessive crying. It’s also not unusual to feel extra tired and even forgetful during certain phases of the menstrual cycle. (4)
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In serious cases, medication may be needed to relieve certain symptoms, but most women can find relief through natural treatments for PMS like strategic use of vitamins and supplements, exercising regularly, doing their best to destress, and eating a healthy diet. (5)
Let’s get more in-depth and discuss some natural solutions to help improve your PMS symptoms and make your period a little easier to manage.
What Causes Premenstrual Syndrome?
What’s the Difference Between PMS and PMDD?
Natural Treatments for PMS: How to Deal With the SymptomsThe Ultimate Natural Treatment for PMS Symptoms
What Causes Premenstrual Syndrome?
The hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle essentially affect the body’s chemistry, causing the uncomfortable PMS symptoms that you experience.
Oestrogen rises and falls during the first and second half of the cycle, respectively. This is completely normal, but what’s abnormal is when serotonin falls. This is indicative of PMS. (6)
While oestrogen has its role in causing PMS symptoms, the worst of it is caused by the hormone progesterone and how it can affect a woman’s neurotransmitters. (3)
Serotonin is known as the ‘feel good’ or ‘happy’ hormone, so when serotonin levels drop, it can often lead to depression and disruptions in sleep, digestive, and sexual health patterns. This is where the mood swings and lack of libido stem from as it applies to PMS. (1)(7)
Some research suggests women can be genetically predisposed to developing PMS. For example, one study that shows 70% of daughters of PMS sufferers also developed PMS at some point in their life. (8)
However, the proven aspects that play a larger role in the development of PMS are a woman’s sensitivities to these normal hormone changes, as well as neurotransmitter dysfunction such as the serotonin level issue discussed earlier. (9)
Who Is Most at Risk for PMS?
This is a topic that has undergone much debate, but many experts have said women are more at risk to experience PMS symptoms if they:
- Are between the ages of 20-40 years old
- Have had at least 1 child
- Are a smoker
- Drink alcohol excessively
- Have a health history of mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
- Eat lots of sugar and engage in limited physical activity. (2)(10)(11)
One study in particular that took place in 1994 showed that obese women were nearly 3 times as likely to experience premenstrual syndrome compared to women who were not obese. (12)
Symptoms of PMS
If you’re a woman, you’re probably no stranger to the uncomfortable and, at times, debilitating symptoms of PMS. However, just because you have PMS doesn’t mean that you’ll experience all of the symptoms. You’re more likely to only experience a handful of them at specific points in your cycle each month.
A comprehensive list of hormonal symptoms of PMS includes:
- Bloating/weight gain
- Tender breasts
- Lack of sleep
- Mood swings
- Skin problems
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Lack of libido
- Changes in bowel movements (1)(5)
The good news is that most of these symptoms can be kept at bay with natural treatments for PMS. This is particularly important for women who suffer from other chronic illnesses since PMS can also worsen symptoms of diseases such as asthma, migraines, and epilepsy. (13)
Symptom tracking is a great way to help determine if your symptoms are related to premenstrual syndrome. All you have to do is keep a daily journal where you track the date and the symptoms you experience that day.
If you suffer from PMS, you’ll notice consistent trends in the symptoms as they correlate to changes in your cycle. And, a key indicator of PMS to be aware of is that these symptoms will happen regularly from cycle to cycle, not erratically. (1)
If the results from your symptom tracking don’t reflect this type of consistency, you may be suffering from another medical condition with symptoms that closely resemble those of PMS, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), anxiety, depression, or thyroid dysfunction. (13)
What’s the Difference Between PMS and PMDD?
It’s important to be educated and know the difference between PMS and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). PMDD is essentially a much more severe version of PMS, but it is technically considered to be a psychiatric disorder.
The premenstrual dysphoric disorder is similar to PMS in that the symptoms occur in the same time frame of the menstrual cycle. But while up to 90% of women experience PMS symptoms 1-2 weeks before their period, only 5% have PMDD. (8)(14)
Severe PMDD symptoms usually manifest more on the emotional side versus the physical. Depending on the severity, they can greatly impact the woman’s quality of life and the relationships she has with those close to her on a personal level or in a professional setting.
Those who suffer from PMDD often report feelings of extreme irritability, anxiety, and depression. The symptoms are severe enough that suicide attempts and ideation can occur. (15)
Antidepressants are often used to treat PMDD as well as diet and lifestyle changes such as the natural treatments for PMS that will be discussed in the next section. (16)
Natural Treatments for PMS: How to Deal With the Symptoms
Medications don’t always work for everyone, nor do they always have the intended effects when they do work. Many prescription medications can have dangerous long-term side effects, leading many to seek information on natural treatments for PMS to provide relief for their ailments.
You may be surprised to learn that your daily habits and routines can play a really important role in how you feel and especially in the severity of PMS symptoms that you experience. Simple everyday changes like how active you are and what food you choose to consume may be the difference between a symptom-free menstrual cycle and debilitating PMS symptoms.
#1 - Eating Healthy Foods (Especially Fibre-Rich Complex Carbohydrates and Fruits)
With obesity being a risk factor for PMS, eating healthy is a vital part of managing not only your PMS symptoms but in helping with weight loss.
If you’re wondering about the best way to adopt a healthy diet, ‘eating the rainbow’ is generally a great rule of thumb. Fruits and vegetables and whole grains with lots of fibre are optimal. Foods high in calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin B have also been proven to be beneficial natural treatments for PMS. (17)
You can get good amounts of these essential nutrients from dairy products like yoghurt, milk, cheese, or salmon. (18)
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids have also been proven to reduce the intensity of PMS symptoms to the point of less ibuprofen being required to bring the symptoms down to a manageable level. (19)
Would you believe me if I told you dark chocolate is another PMS-friendly food item? Rich in iron and magnesium, dark chocolate does a great job of preventing iron and magnesium deficiencies which contribute to the development and severity of PMS symptoms. (20)(21)
#2 - Exercising Consistently
The increased release of endorphins during exercise serves many positive roles when it comes to providing relief against PMS symptoms. Endorphins are known in the scientific world as ‘natural painkillers’, making them valuable in fighting against painful headaches and cramps that can come along with PMS. Exercise also causes neurotransmitters to release more dopamine, which is responsible for stimulating feelings of pleasure.
A study done in Iran showed that doing aerobic exercise 3 days a week, 20 minutes at a time, over 8 weeks resulted in a noticeable reduction in nausea, constipation/diarrhoea, headaches, cravings, hot flashes, bloating, vomiting, and water retention. (22)
The benefits of exercise even extend to improving mental health by giving you a healthy distraction from any intrusive thoughts you might be having. (3)
#3 - Avoid Inflammatory Food and Drink Items
Dehydrating food and drink items that can cause inflammation and bloating are not recommended when it comes to relieving PMS symptoms.
Reducing alcohol, caffeine, salt, and sugar intake strategically can lead to decreased weight gain and bloating in general, not just as it applies to menstrual cycle-related weight gain and bloating. (23)
Consuming too much salt can cause water retention and bloating, while alcohol and caffeine can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns, leading to a worsening of PMS symptoms. Sugar has also been shown to cause some ups and downs in terms of energy levels and mood swings, an element that just adds more fuel to the fire when you already suffer from PMS. (24)
#4 - Being Well-Rested
Research has shown that the menstrual cycle can affect stage 2 and REM sleep, making it no big surprise that sleeping poorly and insomnia are often reported by women as being part of their PMS symptoms. (25)
Hormone fluctuations and the rate at which these hormones fluctuate have been conclusively linked to the number of times a woman wakes up in the middle of the night after she falls asleep during the premenstrual phase of her cycle. (26)
Some experts are more inclined to believe that other factors, especially mood, may be the main reason behind the lack of sleep women report in correspondence with their PMS symptoms. (27)
#5 - Reduce Stress
Yoga, meditation, massages, engaging in cognitive therapy and even journaling are all great natural treatments for PMS.
One research study, in particular, showed that after engaging in yoga for a whole month, the women reported noticing a reduction in pain sensitivity and severity. Yoga movements have also been shown to prevent inflammation and reduce stress in the body, not just the mind.
The specific yoga poses done in this study were cat-cow, child’s pose, plank pose, and cobra. (3)
#6 - Strategic Use of Vitamins, Supplements, and Herbs
As previously mentioned, being deficient in certain vitamins can be a risk factor for developing PMS and worsening PMS symptoms.
Vitamin D and vitamin B are both readily available in food items as well as OTC (over-the-counter) supplements. Vitamin B-6, in particular, has been shown to reduce PMS-related depression and improve other PMS symptoms. (28)
Another supplement that has been scientifically proven to reduce and improve PMS symptoms is calcium. (29)
Herbal solutions proven to be great natural treatments for PMS symptoms include chaste berry, black cohosh, and evening primrose oil. (1)(10)
Chaste Berry Extract, one of the main ingredients in Hormone Harmony, brings hormone levels back in balance and ends headaches, nervousness, restlessness, depression, and breast pain by balancing oestrogen, testosterone, and prolactin levels. This powerful plant treasured by women for over 100 years is also shown to decrease symptoms of PMS by 49%. (30)(31)(32)
Research shows that herbal medicine treatments result in up to a 50% decrease in discomfort and other painful symptoms associated with PMS. Another important thing to note is that there were no negative effects from the herbal remedies used to treat PMS symptoms in this study. (33)
In cases where PMS symptoms are severe, medication may be needed to resolve the issue. Some of these treatments include birth control and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). (5)
The Ultimate Natural Treatment for PMS Symptoms
As annoying as periods can be, they will stay with you for a long time, so it’s important to find a way to live in harmony with them.
If your period is disrupting your life and you’d like to find the best natural treatment for PMS, you may want to check out Hormone Harmony. This supplement was specifically formulated to help you balance your hormones, soothe anxiety and mood swings, eliminate hot flashes, reduce bloating, and tackle other PMS-related symptoms.