By: Stephanie Heino
Ladies, you can feel in your whole body when it’s that time of the month. You are like a bomb ready to explode if anything doesn’t go your way. Even the smallest insignificant thing, such as waking up and getting ready for work finding nothing to wear, can make you just break down in tears and yell at your poor man (how do they deal with it every month?). The premenstrual syndrome monster makes a visit once a month and turns most of us into wrecks. Those physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience in the week or two before their period can be very severe in some cases, where as some women are more lucky. A holistic treatment approach for PMS addresses symptoms of the mind and body. Frequently occurring symptoms of PMS include irritability, mood swings, sadness, stomach cramps, bloating, headaches and muscle tension. These recurrent symptoms cause women a great deal of physical discomfort as well as emotional upset. In order to treat symptoms of PMS effectively, a combination of holistic treatments is recommended.
8 holistic PMS remedies to feel like yourself again:
- Calcium. It has been shown that calcium levels are much lower in women with PMS and that calcium supplementation may help reduce the severity of symptoms. Women with the greatest intake of calcium from food sources had the least PMS symptoms so make sure you stock up on collard greens and kale. It has also been shown through a study that 300 mg of calcium carbonate four times a day significantly reduced bloating, depression, pain, mood swings, and food cravings. (It’s best to take calcium with magnesium and zinc. You can get a combo single dose capsule like this one from Solaray or get higher dose capsules separately. I like Essential Blend Calcium from Jigsaw Health. You also want to make sure you have adequate vitamin D for calcium to do it’s magic, and since it’s not possible to get enough in combined capsule, we recommend this high dose, sublingual vitamin D, Bio-D-Mulsion Forte)
- Chaste Tree Berry Extract. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) berry is one of the most popular herbs for premenstrual syndrome. Studies found that chaste tree berry effectively reduced PMS symptoms over three menstrual cycles. Women taking chaste tree had significant improvements in irritability, depression, headaches, and breast tenderness (awesome!). The most common side effects of chaste tree berry are nausea, headache, digestive disturbances, menstrual disorders, acne, itching, and skin rashes– but these are all pretty rare. Chaste tree berry should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, and it may interact with hormones or drugs in your body. You can find this is in your nearest health food store or in our online store! (Nature’s Way Vitex). NOTE: Vitex is not generally approved for breastfeeding moms, but the rest of these supplements are!
- Magnesium. The mineral magnesium, found naturally in food and available in supplements, has showing good preliminary results for PMS. Several studies have been done where it shows that the mineral significantly improves PMS mood changes. It was also found that magnesium significantly reduces weight gain, swelling of the hands and legs, breast tenderness, and abdominal bloating. Take it with your calcium! I recommend the slow release Magnesium from Jigsaw.
- Acupuncture. In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is the organ most affected by stress, anger, and frustration. Liver problem caused by emotions, alcohol, and spicy and fatty foods can lead to PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness and abdominal bloating and cramping. Acupuncture, exercise, expressing emotions, and breathing exercises are recommended by practitioners to relieve liver stagnation.
- Evening Primrose Oil. Evening Primrose oil is a plant oil that contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Gamma-linolenic acid is involved in the metabolism of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that regulate pain and inflammation in the body. You can find this is in your nearest health food store or in our online store! (Solgar Evening Primrose)
- Dietary Suggestions. PMS symptoms are decreased by consuming foods that are high in essential vitamins and minerals, including fish, green vegetables, whole grains and assorted nuts. Certain foods such as celery and asparagus help decrease bloating caused by water retention in the body. Whole grains are great for stabilizing mood. It is also crucial to avoid unhealthy foods, especially those that exacerbate PMS symptoms. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, excessive salt and fatty fried foods. If nothing else, try to eliminate caffeine as much as possible, which can aggravate anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness, as well as alcohol.
- Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling may help relieve PMS symptoms, as do stretching and twisting practices like yoga. Try to focus more on the frequency than the intensity of the exercise, which is what matters when trying to decrease PMS symptoms.
- Relaxation. Breathing exercises, meditation, aromatherapy, and yoga are some natural ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many women feel more assertive and attuned to their needs in the weeks before their period. This can be used constructively by allowing for personal time to relax, reflect, and give priority to your needs and what nourishes you. Take a hot bath tonight, light some candles and practice your breathing exercises!