PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome, is a medical term for the pain, discomfort, irritability and bloating that can often accompany the monthly menses for many women. It is estimated that about 80% of menstruating women have at least 1 PMS symptom monthly. According the Women’s Health Organization, premenstrual syndrome is almost debilitating for 3-8% of these women. But for all women, it’s important to know how to tackle these PMS symptoms – naturally.
So, what are some signs of PMS? PMS may cause women to became agitated more easily or feel lethargic and quick-tempered. Other agitations for women can include stomach or lower back cramps and general feelings of frustration. It seems like a small irritation in a world of much larger concerns, but during PMS, even slight inconveniences can seem like a mountain instead of an anthill. Not to mention the strange food cravings, and sometimes chronic depression that can accompany the monthly release.
Some Natural Solutions for PMS
All of these things happen primarily because of changes in the hormonal balance of the body and the neurochemicals that are released when a women is menstruating. The ovaries release two major hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone, which must be kept in balance in order to not feel cranky, tired, and swollen. Fortunately there are natural cures for all these symptoms and ways to support hormonal balance to avoid PMS.
- 1. Increase your calcium intake in order to reduce swelling (called edema by the medical community) reduce anxiety and minimize food cravings.
- 2. Eat more vegetables that are bright orange or red in color. The old axiom that a food’s color or shape may mimic the organs it helps to sustain is true, and eating blood-colored foods that are high in vitamins A, E, D, and B can also help to keep mood swings in check, reduce weight gain associated with PMS, and reduce fatigue.
- 3. Drink wild yam tea – Wild yam tea balances progesterone and estrogen so that not only are PMS symptoms are minimized, but infertility problems are mitigated.
- 4. Talk a walk or workout – A simple workout can increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and also rid the body of edema (swelling). One small study found that aerobic exercise improved PMS symptoms, especially feelings of depression.
- 5. Practice yoga poses like Balasana (Child’s Pose), Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Bound Angle), and Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) to alleviate cramping and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Over the counter medications for PMS like Midol have high amounts of caffeine in them which can cause the jitters, interfere with sleeping patterns (we all know sleep is crucial during that time of the month), and cause headaches. While caffeine is fine in small doses, overdosing on this stimulant can cause more side effects to add to the ones women already experience with PMS symptoms. These natural treatments can reduce the physical and emotional stability of the body without any negative side effects.
Carnegie Mellon University