It can feel like we’re gearing up for battle each month with all the time and energy we put into thinking about when we’re getting our periods and how they will affect our everyday lives (PMS included).
“Can I go to the beach this week? Can I schedule a bikini wax? Do I need to buy more concealer for the acne I’m bound to get?”
The questions and problems quite honestly, are endless. Having a period is already an inconvenience on multiple levels; we shouldn’t have to struggle any more than we need to. Luckily, there are ways that we can help reduce the symptoms and stress of dealing with PMS in natural and healing ways.
We’ve all experienced the sweat-inducing struggle of trying to squeeze into a pair of pants that fit last week and are now straining at the seams. Bloating is a losing battle that we as women are constantly fighting. While it is a minor PMS side effect, it’s definitely one of the most irritating ones to deal with. Fluid retention can be the result of fluctuating hormones and can leave us feeling bogged down and sluggish.
There are some surprisingly simple ways to combat bloating. Snacking on certain foods is actually a really great way to alleviate those symptoms. Adding bananas, avocados, cucumbers, and papaya to our diet pre-period and help lessen bloating and other symptoms.
The potassium rich banana and avocado help to flush out sodium and water that add to bloating.
Cucumbers contain lots of water, sulfur and silicon, keeping us hydrated and regular, by acting as a natural diuretic and clearing out excess water from our cells.
Papayas contain enzymes that help break down our foods and fight inflammation. It’s very effective in soothing our digestion, especially during our menstrual cycle.
While these foods can help to reduce or even diminish some PMS symptoms, other foods can actually aid in or bring on more symptoms. We should try to avoid certain foods around the time of our periods, such as grains, dairy, and vegetable oils, which can actually create inflammation in the body.
Move Your Body
Exercise, in general, is always a good idea to help relieve stress and anxiety, or just to get a good sweat in. Case in point, working out not only releases pain-busting endorphins, but it also triggers serotonin (a depression and anxiety fighter), which can be a major help during times of PMS and hormonal mood swings.
However, intense exercise leading up to our periods can actually make our PMS symptoms worse. It’s actually better to practice mild forms of exercise such as yoga, swimming, or going on walks to better help alleviate our symptoms during that time of the month.
Acupuncture isn’t a new practice by any means, but it is starting to become more mainstream, even in the western medicine world. Research shows acupuncture is very effective at treating PMS. One study found that acupuncture subdued symptoms in 78 percent of women. They believe acupuncture may increase circulation and elevate endorphins, which enhances mood and alleviates pain. Most women experience PMS relief within 24 hours after a session.
With results such as these, it’s definitely worth looking into or at least scheduling a consultation to see if acupuncture would be a good solution for you.
Supplements are a great way to add extra nutrients and beautifying superfoods into our daily routines. There are so many great natural supplements out there that can help to naturally relieve PMS symptoms; it seems silly to not take advantage of their amazing healing powers.
Vitamin D – A recent trial discovered that Vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced anxiety, irritability, and sadness in young women with associated mood disorders linked to PMS. There are many ways in which we can supplement our vitamin D intake, such as taking Vitamin D supplements, or by consuming foods that are high in vitamin D, like cod liver oil, margarine, egg yolks and oily fish.
Maca – Being high in minerals and essential fatty acids, maca root has a history of boosting hormone production. Many women notice fewer PMS symptoms, increased fertility, and improved skin from continued use. As an added bonus maca has a rich caramel taste, making it a great add-on in a sweet smoothie.
Calcium – In a recent study, researchers found that women with PMS who took a 500-milligram calcium supplement twice a day for three months had significantly reduced levels of fatigue and appetite changes. Another study revealed that taking 1200 mg of calcium a day helped reduce women’s emotional and physical PMS symptoms.
Vitamin B – B Vitamins are essential to cellular functions throughout the body including metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In addition, they balance mood, reduce anxiety and soothe irritability.
Essential oils are blowing up right now and for good reason. These potent little guys are natural remedy powerhouses, especially when it comes to effective natural treatment for PMS.
For example, clary sage is a deeply relaxing oil that helps to naturally balance hormones. It can lift moods and reduces stress levels, as well as act as an antispasmodic to relax muscles and ease menstrual pain. We can take advantage of these healing properties by rubbing 2-3 drops of the clary sage oil on our lower abdomen, then cover it with a warm cloth, or mix several drops into a warm bath along with some Epsom salt.
Lavender is a wonderful multi-purpose oil that can help with sleep, stress, headaches, and mood stabilization. Simply rubbing the oil between our hands and breathing in deeply several times can help to instantly calm anxious thoughts. It can also be applied to the back of the neck and shoulders to help reduce tension and stress.
Whatever methods you choose, just remember that we’re all different and some of these natural remedies might work better for you than others. Trust in yourself and your body and do what feels best for you.