PMS (Post Menstrual Stress) refers to a wide range of symptoms that start during the second half of a woman’s cycle that can include headache, dizziness, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, food cravings, food aversions, weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety, cramps etc…
For many women with PMS, the irritability, cravings, cramps, headaches, moodiness, anxiety and more can be demoralizing and can affect the quality of life.
These symptoms usually prelude menses and subside gradually as the period set in, and other menstrual related symptoms like abdominal cramping and much bleeding can also occur during menses.
While a variety of factors like genetics, nutrition, medications, etc. can influence a woman’s symptoms during this period, the bulk of the symptoms are largely controlled by hormones, and getting hormones in proper balance can go a long way toward reducing symptoms of PMS.
The monthly fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone and other hormones largely controls a woman’s cycle and there are scientific beliefs that these hormones can interact with certain brain chemicals, resulting in the creation of real symptoms.
When hormones are out of balance with each other, then a variety of symptoms can occur.
The primary causes of PMS include:
- Abnormal neurotransmitter response in the brain
- A high ratio of estrogen-to-progesterone
- Bloating or disrupted salt metabolism
- Poor nutrition resulting in nutritional deficiencies
- Carbohydrate metabolism
Understanding the root cause of PMS is a key to coming up with steps to resolve it, and uncovering the underlying issues.
Natural PMS Cures Include:
Supplements (Vitamin E)
A study in Reproductive Health showed that women who took vitamin E and essential fatty acids daily, for six months saw major improvements in their PMS.
A daily supplement of multivitamin should supply you with the 15 milligrams of vitamin- E, and you can add a daily fish-oil capsule to get your fatty acids.
Note: Prostaglandins are the hormones believed to cause fierce cramps, but Vitamin E and essential fatty acids both interact with prostaglandin receptors.
Furthermore, according to studies in the United State of America, various combinations of B6 and magnesium were found to be helpful in reducing mild PMS related anxiety and symptoms, and it also helped with mood changes and premenstrual depression. As a result of that, it is recommended to take 400 mg magnesium two times a day and 50 mg of vitamin B6 two times daily.
Sleep deprivation can affect our health in various negative ways. We need to get enough sleep to balance hormonal interactions in our bodies. If you have a flexible schedule, you can also have a nap during the day.
This may sound wild, but doctors have used pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) to relieve depression and chronic pain, and it appears that the same can do wonders for PMS too.
According to a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, it was observed that women who wore small magnetic devices attached to the sides of their underwear two days before and then during their periods saw a significant reduction in their symptoms.
A subsequent survey that followed the first, found that when some women used the magnets for a period up to a year or more, they continued to experience pain relief from PMS related cramps.
Evening Primrose Oil
The evening primrose plant contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an essential fatty acid that is required by the body for growth and development. Evening primrose oil can be extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose, and the oil is usually placed into capsules. The recommended dosage of evening primrose oil is usually 2,000 mg, taken twice a day.
Herbs might lighten your PMS load, and chaste berry may stimulate your endocrine system to produce more natural progesterone. This may reduce your bloating, irritability, and achy-boob symptoms. Valerian root is an ingredient in many teas and may work as a muscle relaxer, while evening primrose may help alleviate anxiety and cramps.
There is good scientific support for the use of calcium in easing PMS symptoms, as consuming around 1 to 1.2 grams of calcium daily seems to help in reducing depressed mood, water retention, and pain.
Taking calcium in combination with vitamin D is recommended. Also, a calcium-rich diet that is full of leafy greens, almonds, and yogurt, may help prevent many PMS symptoms.
Diets that are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fish are good, while researches have supported the idea that coffee, alcohol, and sugar may make PMS symptoms worse. So, avoid refined sugar, dairy, salt, tobacco, and caffeine.
Acupuncture is great for treating PMS. Acupuncture quelled symptoms in about 78% of women, and it is believed that acupuncture may increase circulation and elevate endorphins. This helps enhance mood and reduce pain. Although doctors are still trying to understand how it works, it has been found that most women experience PMS relief within the day, after a session of acupuncture.
Massage can lessen your pre-period issues. Any kind of reflexology increases blood flow and eases muscle and mental tension. Some of the essential oils like lavender (a muscle relaxer) and geranium (an estrogen balancer), commonly used in massage also make a huge impact.
Start Massage on your right side above your groin and massage up to your waist in a clockwise motion, and you can use several drops of one type of oil in a handful of massage lotion. Then move to your left side and work down to your groin again.
Doing these massage procedures, employing moderate to deep pressure for five to ten minutes twice a day during peak PMS time, will help alleviate the pains.
Stretching and relaxing exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga or Pilates that don’t exhaust your body is also good during your period since mild exercise releases endorphins that help to relieve pain and serotonin which improves mood. Generally, exercise will also improve blood circulation to tensioned areas of the body.
Since most premenstrual troubles are caused by an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels, many treatments aim to restore that equilibrium. One of such procedures uses a natural progesterone cream can have a similar effect.
These creams are available over the counter and can be applied daily to your inner thighs or lower abdomen before your period to help with your PMS. One such cream is made from wild yams.