By Theresa Harding
Learning how to manage PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Emotions is not something many women want to ever have to address in their lifetime. It is, however, an issue that should not be ignored. During my teen years, I would hear other girls complaining about their PMS symptoms.
It sounded more like they complained about their experience month after month, so I started attributing all women’s similar complaints to some form of PMS anger. PMS is one of the most common forms of hormonal imbalance for women of childbearing age, resulting in both psychological and physical period symptoms.
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The average woman experiences 450 periods in her lifetime. That’s triple the number of our ancestors, and they lived much shorter lives and were most of the time pregnant and nursing more than today.
Since more than 75 percent of women today deal with PMS symptoms during menstruation, it’s clear that a lot of women are experiencing the uncomfortable side effects of this natural biological process. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of women reporting PMS symptoms say PMS impairs their daily activities, leaving many of them looking for natural remedies for PMS and cramps.
PMS symptoms may start a week or two before your period and may be mild to severe. If you have dysmenorrhea then you experience painful menstruation, typically involving abdominal cramps (one of the most unpleasant period symptoms).
Hormone balance is the primary factor that will determine the PMS symptoms that someone experiences.
Every woman faces PMS in her life. During the early days of the menstrual cycle, and especially just before 2-3 days of her menses, she faces mood swings, becomes irritated at times and feel anxious too. Due to all such symptoms, her daily lifestyle becomes disruptive.
Women, you can manage your PMS symptoms without sacrificing your routine. But How?
Studies have shown that before a woman’s period, a stress hormone known as cortisol tends to increase. In many ways, anxiety is a form of long-term stress, and stress is known to make anxiety symptoms worse. So, before your period, when cortisol levels shoot up, anxiety symptoms would be expected to shoot up with them.
It’s likely that women suffering from this type of PMS anxiety have lower levels of anxiety throughout the month that are simply exacerbated by cortisol, rather than PMS causing anxiety itself.
Similarly, any chronic stress is believed to make PMS symptoms worse. Since anxiety and stress sensations are a part of PMS symptoms if you’re suffering from severe stress before your PMS symptoms occur, that stress will increase your PMS symptoms, which in turn will increase your stress symptoms and so on.
Hormones play a direct role in the way your body produces and responds to the neurotransmitters that control stress and anxiety, so it’s likely that when these hormones have lost their balance, anxiety, and stress are the result.
Exercise is a crucial part of healthy living and an important part of dealing with anxiety caused by PMS. Several studies have linked aerobic workouts with controlling anxiety symptoms.
It can reduce the stress level of your life so eventually reduces the PMS symptoms. Make sure you exercise daily at least for 30 minutes; this way you will not only get rid of emotional and physical PMS symptoms but you will stay fit too.
Choose any workout routine that can move you and is fun. If not proper exercise, go for a 20-minute walk. One activity involves simply letting out all your emotions on paper, since bottling them up can be harmful to your ability to fight anxiety.
Herbal remedies can take time in showing the results but then the results will be everlasting. Some are:
It’s important to eat foods that will help you with the PMS symptoms if you want to get alleviate the discomfort. Dietary changes include adding Calcium, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Tryptophan into your diet, and possibly abstaining from caffeine.
Heavy salt intake can cause more bloating, caffeine can excite your anxiety or irritability, alcohol may increase your depression symptoms, and excess of sugar can upset your blood sugar and temper.
Increase the intake of fruits and green vegetables one week prior to your periods. Moreover, it is not just about what to eat; what matters is what to eat and how to eat. Eat at regular intervals of time to avoid increasing blood sugar level!
Women who experience PMS symptoms typically are not getting enough calcium, B vitamins (especially B6), vitamins K, and vitamin E, among other nutrients from their diets. For instance, magnesium deficiency also plays a role.
When you don’t consume an ample daily supply of these essential nutrients, your body demands urgent attention by intensifying your PMS symptoms. We must not overlook our vitamin D intake, which most Americans are deficient in.
I first learned about the effectiveness of vitamin D for PMS from Dr. Mercola and immediately started making it a part of my diet; Not only for myself, but for my family too! The more you are informed, the more you can make effective changes to your health.
Here are the best foods to consume to obtain vital nutrients and decrease PMS symptoms:
Studies have shown that women with plant-based diets high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs have fewer symptoms of PMS. These foods include avocados, green leafy vegetables, which possess a diuretic effect and are also a great source of calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamin K, which helps get rid of period cramps.
Eating a half or full avocado daily can naturally balance hormones because of its nutritional profile is rich in healthy fat, fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6. An avocado sliced up in a salad full of dark, leafy greens plus feta cheese is the ultimate PMS food combo because it provides a potent dose of PMS symptom-fighting nutrients in one healthy meal.
So far, calcium is among the most science-backed nutrients when it comes to effective dietary treatments for PMS. Some good choices include raw milk, cooked kale, broccoli, sardines, and yogurt. The benefits of consuming kefir can also help reduce menstrual cramps and related symptoms.
PMS can cause GI problems, which is why we should get at least 30 grams of fiber daily. Fiber also helps to maintain proper hormone balance by binding to estrogen and carrying it out of the body. When you’re looking at the best PMS foods, eating foods rich in fiber should be considered.
Flaxseed products can help promote healthy estrogen metabolism, which is a key component of managing PMS symptoms. Along with that is Wheat Germ, which is rich in E and B vitamins. Other vitamin E-rich foods include almonds, sunflower seeds, and spinach.
We eat Salmon at least twice a week. So I can truly vouch for this suggestion because Salmon has many health benefits. Once I learned that the Omega-3 rich foods helped with PMS symptoms, I was on it!
Plus my kids love Salmon, so I quickly taught them how to cook it without my assistance. (Kudos there)! Foods high in omega-3 Fats like wild-caught salmon, sardines, and anchovies help reduce pain and inflammation that make PMS symptoms worse.
In my experience, I’ve found the best essential oils that really gave me relief in my lower back and my abdomen. I simply mixed these oils with my favorite carrier oil-Almond Oil and massaged the mix over my aching lower back and abdomen and found relief this way. It actually helped!
These oils have some amazing medicinal properties in them. They’re a staple in my home. Whenever my kids get sick, the first thing they say to me is, “Mom, I need an essential oil for this or that.” It makes me happy that they know the value of the oils and their benefits.
One essential oil is Clary Sage e.o. it naturally balances hormones, which can help reduce symptoms. I like to mix Chamomile, lavender, and Cypress essential oils with a carrier oil (like almond oil) and then rub on the lower abdomen.
Cypress e.o. improves circulation and can help you get rid of cramps. I also like to apply a warm compress to my abdomen for 2 to 5 minutes. To reduce tension, stress, and cramping, you can mix ylang-ylang e.o. along with lavender e.o. in a carrier oil like almond oil and apply to the back of the neck and lower abdomen.
I learned that if you prepare for your period every month, you can avoid suffering from any undue pains before they conquer your body and turn you into the beast no one wants to see in you.
I prepare ahead by taking Evening Primrose Oil 7 days before my period is expected to start. This method gets the herbs circulating in my body and really helps me to avoid the irritating emotional roller coaster mood-changing effects. It really works!
I learned this technique from a gynecologist when I was suffering from PMS pains consistently one year. That year was so irritating to me that I decided to go talk with my OBGYN to discuss what I could do to stop the madness. It was driving me insane.
Not having anything on-hand to remedy your pain can make it difficult for you to get through this change every month. Don’t dread this time of the month, instead, check your stock and make sure you have what you need to bring you comfort.
I like to take inventory of my supplies after my period ends each month. This way, I’m not scrambling to find something when the discomfort appears unexpectedly. You always want to be prepared to apply these remedies.
I don’t know if this is what everyone else does, but if you haven’t tried this technique, give it a try and see how effective it can be for you. Follow-through is crucial though, so if you want the pain relief, stay committed to these remedies and each month, you will notice your PMS symptoms lessen.
At last, I would highly recommend charting your symptoms. Although PMS is actual, you should first chart your symptoms to be sure that you are actually experiencing PMS and not another situation like depression.
Charting my symptoms has worked because, in my experience, I have compared one month to another to see what remedy was most effective and which one gave me no results. Then I made adjustments along the way.
As with all things, don’t try any new supplements or diet programs before speaking with your doctor first.
What natural remedies do you use to get through PMS symptoms? Are they effective?
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Healthy Living isn't difficult. It requires an ongoing lifestyle change with patience and an open mind. I teach this mindset all the time. After 11 years of transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a pain-free one, I think it's important to share my knowledge and research with those who are ready to make that shift in their health and wellness.