5 natural PMS remedies to help women manage the one-to-two weeks before their period
(NaturalHealth365) How many women get PMS? More than you might think. According to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, up to three out of four women experience uncomfortable PMS symptoms in the days preceding their periods.
These symptoms can take a toll on a woman physically and emotionally – but natural relief is possible. From exercise to magnesium supplements, there are a lot of at-home (and drug-free) remedies at your disposal.
5 leading remedies for natural relief from PMS symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collection of unpleasant symptoms that women typically experience one to two weeks before their period. The leading theory is that PMS is caused by shifting hormone levels related to the menstrual cycle – specifically, decreased estrogen, progesterone, and serotonin.
While women experience PMS differently, common symptoms include:
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Headache or backache
- Decreased tolerance to noise and light
- Crying spells
- Depression or sadness
- Mood swings
- Decreased interest in sex
Even if mild to moderate, these symptoms can be incredibly disruptive. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to depend on pharmaceuticals to help you feel better.
Here are some leading natural methods backed by science:
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- Aerobic exercise. Citing 2014 research from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Office on Women’s Health says that doing aerobic exercise consistently throughout the month can ease PMS symptoms like fatigue, depression, and impaired concentration.
- Yoga. A 2016 study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that women with PMS relied on fewer pain medications after practicing yoga for 12 weeks. These women also reported significantly less bloating, breast tenderness, cramps, and cold sweats, and improvements in their social function and general perception of health and mental well-being.
- Sleep. Sleep deprivation can make PMS symptoms like moodiness worse, so women should do their best to get 7 to 9 hours per night.
- Massage therapy. Massage therapy and even reflexology have been shown to offer natural relief from PMS symptoms. Other stress-relieving techniques could help, too, including journaling or meditation.
- Dietary supplements. One 2010 randomized trial found that supplementing with magnesium and vitamin B6 had a significant effect on reducing PMS symptoms. Calcium supplementation also appears well-supported, according to a 2006 systematic review of 25 studies. More recently, a 2018 randomized and placebo-controlled trial from the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded that taking omega-3 fatty acids (1 gram of fish oil daily) reduced symptoms and improved quality of life for PMS sufferers.
Some women find relief from other supplements like St. John’s wort, ginkgo biloba, and Vitex agnus castus, however scientific evidence on their effectiveness is limited.
When in doubt (and struggling with PMS symptoms), “choose healthy foods most of the time”
In addition to utilizing the above natural remedies for PMS relief, women are encouraged to maintain a healthy diet – at all points during their cycle, but especially in the two weeks prior to the start of their period.
Of course, making good food choices while experiencing PMS can be hard. After all, food cravings and appetite changes are classic PMS symptoms! But filling up with nutrient-rich foods like fruits, veggies, and healthy fat and protein sources gives women the raw materials they need to feel better in body and mind.
At the very least, advises the Office on Women’s Health, “choose healthy foods most of the time,” and in the week or two pre-period, avoid caffeine, salt, and sugar, as this may help lessen symptoms.
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