For many women, that ‘time of the month’ is not just when they have their period, but also when they experience their body’s unpleasant reaction to the whole cycle. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can affect people in a variety of different ways. For some, it may only mean cramping, bloating, tenderness and increased hunger/cravings. For others, it could mean weight fluctuation, nausea or vomiting. Irritability and depression are also a distinct possibility.
Studies have shown that most women (over 75% of the population) experience PMS in some way. Many women choose to just ‘deal with it’ and accept it as part of being a woman. Some choose to take one of the many menstrual-relief medications currently on the market even though it doesn’t help all of their symptoms. What many people don’t know is that there are plenty of natural ways to reduce the symptoms or even make them disappear.
Change your Diet: Eating small, frequent meals is preferable to eating larger ones. These help maintain your blood sugar and hunger, making you less likely to feel ill or gain weight. Reduce the intake of foods high in sugar, salt, or fat. It would also be good to avoid red meat, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol. Potassium can also help reduce symptoms. Certain fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, oranges, broccoli and carrots are rich in potassium. Also try to aim for foods high in Vitamin C, E, and B6. All of these vitamins are known to help women who suffer from PMS.
Dietary Supplements: Taking a few supplements in addition to your normal diet may do the trick. Consuming a bit more calcium than usual could cause an amazing improvement. Studies have shown that women who experience PMS are more likely to have a low calcium level than those who do not. When women with PMS increase their calcium, their symptoms are much more likely to decrease in severity or even disappear altogether.
Magnesium, Antioxidants, and Evening Primrose Oil can also help reduce the severity of symptoms. Another popular supplement in Europe is the “Chaste Tree Berry.” However, the side effects of this herb could be worse than what it is used to treat.
Relax: Be sure to get plenty of rest. A well-rested body will be less-stressed and able to handle PMS in a much better way. Take a hot bath or shower to help your muscle pain and cramping. Drink some tea to settle your stomach and calm your nerves. (Peppermint and chamomile tea are particularly effective at helping stomach cramps.) Take some time for yourself; meditate if that is what will help relax you. Write down what you are thinking or feeling. Watch a favorite TV show or movie.
Exercise: Although the last thing you may want to do when curled up in bed in pain is exercise, it has actually been found to help PMS symptoms. Picking up a small exercise routine could significantly improve how you feel. It doesn’t have to be anything too intense – you could do some simple stretches, take a yoga class, or go for daily walks/runs. If you really like how you feel afterwards, you may choose to adapt the new routine into your everyday life and not just when you are experiencing PMS.