It's a club you never wanted to be a part of but someone gave you the monthly subscription. And with that comes the cramps, irritability, nausea and the all-round unwell feelings of PMS. The hardest part is you don’t look sick. You could be having a perfectly normal day in the office or on a stroll with your new bub and no-one realises you’re fighting off the monthly monster. Luckily there’s many ways you can alleviate the tensions of PMS.
Try a natural remedy
Most of us keep a medicine cabinet stocked just in case of any symptom from PMS. If you’re a fan of natural fixes Zsuzsanna Sipos is a naturopath from Sante Wellness:
“Nature often provides us with incredible and powerful medicines to help with a number of different ailments, including PMS. Vitex agnus castus, or as it’s more commonly known, Chaste tree, is a plant remedy that is well known, and clinically trialled for its benefits in PMS. Chaste tree may be particularly beneficial for women who are experiencing irritability and low mood, as well as the physical symptoms of PMS such as fluid retention and breast tenderness. Chaste tree works by promoting healthy ovulation and supporting progesterone production.”
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Work on restoring balance
The reason we are struck down by PMS is a hormonal imbalance in the body, which can be aggravated by stress. As Heba Shaheed from The Pelvic Expert explains, restoring balance to your body before your period will help to fight off the symptoms of PMS.
“You can restore balance to your progesterone, estrogen and cortisol hormones through some simple nutritional and lifestyle improvements.
- Increase your Omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating more fatty fish, walnuts and research shows the numerous benefits of a fish oil supplement.
- Increase your magnesium intake by eating more leafy greens, nuts and seed. A daily magnesium supplement has also be shown to be effective.
- Studies have shown Vitamin B6 to improve serotonin levels and reduce PMS. B6 can be found in proteins such as seafood, lean meats, chicken and eggs.
- Reduce your caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake. These can muck up your hormones.
- Regular exercise is crucial for hormonal balance. Do exercise that you love, and mix it up with strength training, aerobics and yoga.
- Most importantly reduce your stress levels. Engage in meditation or mindfulness, take a yoga class, practice deep breathing, enjoy a bath or get a relaxing massage.
- Good quality sleep is important so limit your screen time before bed and try to sleep by 10PM and wake up at the same time everyday. Squeezing in a 20-minute nap, if possible, after noon can also help to restore cortisol levels.”
Use apps to keep track of your symptoms
It can be hard to remember month by month if what you’re experiencing is typical for yourself or if you should be concerned by the severity of your symptoms. Using phone apps is a handy way to keep track of what symptoms to expect each month. You’re actually at higher risk of PMS after you’ve had a baby since the body is trying to make sense of all those hormonal fluctuations. If you find yourself shopping for nursery furniture and hit with a major PMS bout - from epic cramps to a mood swing that sends you storming out of the store - make a note of it so you can monitor whether it's happening every cycle or a once off thing. This way if you decide to discuss treating your PMS with a doctor you’ll have an easy way to explain to them how you’ve been feeling.
Every woman struggles to deal with her cycle at some point but she shouldn’t have too. Remember that PMS is just like any other affliction - it is treatable. If your symptoms are preventing you from leading a normal life try these tips for some relief and if they persist make sure to consult your doctor.