Having a menstrual cycle is beneficial for a woman’s body. It’s a natural process which drains the body of extra iron, prevents women from getting cardiovascular disease, and cleanses the reproductive system from certain kinds of bacteria. What’s not enjoyable is when your menstrual cycle comes with a side of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms, which are usually physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable for women. Recently, I found out that there were 9 undesired PMS symptoms that women commonly acquire before their menstrual cycle. But, here’s some good news! There are also natural ways to deal with these 9 PMS symptoms, and I’m going to share them with you.
Because of hormonal changes, an excess of water can be retained within the body. This physiological effect is known as bloating. To help prevent bloating, it is recommended that you drink a lot of water. Believe it or not, when you drink lots of water, your body sends a signal and will release the extra water it is storing. Another way to reduce bloating is to avoid salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will help your body to become less bloated as well. Drinking peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, and fennel tea can also help decrease bloating.
One way to fight PMS fatigue is to eat foods that are high in the natural sugar called ribose. Foods like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, milk and whole grains contain this simple sugar, which helps combat fatigue by aiding the digestive system and breaking down foods. Consuming lean proteins can often help give your body a boost of energy, too. When you eat small meals more frequently throughout the day rather than eating three large meals a day, your body can balance out its blood sugar levels more easily, making your energy last longer. Two teas used to assist with PMS fatigue are dandelion root and red clover. Adding flax seed into your diet a few days before, and during your menstrual cycle has been said to reduce the level of hormones that cause PMS fatigue.
Irritability & Moodiness
Do you often feel irritable and moody before or during your menstrual cycle? Big changes in hormonal levels often equal strong emotions such as depression, irritability, low self-esteem, and a short temper. Regular exercise and stretching is a great way to put a halt to those mood swings and increase those endorphins, making you feel happier and more relaxed. Yoga has also often been found to be beneficial in dealing with undesired PMS emotions. Passion flower, St. John’s wort, kava, rhodiola rosea, and ginseng are popular teas to drink for alleviating negative emotions and boosting the mood. Stay away from sugar and junk foods because these will only make it worse. Try eating foods high in Omega-3’s like walnut and flax. Consuming whole food high in magnesium and B-vitamins is also beneficial for reducing irritability. Check out this great raspberry smoothie recipe for helping with PMS mood swings.
Cramps can be super uncomfortable and not fun to endure, especially when you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. A common natural remedy that I use whenever I get this type of abdominal pain is cramp bark tincture. Primrose has also been used to help in relieving cycle cramps. Taking a warm bath or placing a heated water bottle (or cloth) over your abdominal area can help soothe pain as well. Avoid consuming things with salt, caffeine, or alcohol, as they will only make your cramps worse. Some foods that are known to ease cramps are walnuts, sunflower seeds, parsley, ginger, bananas, pineapple, spinach, and kale. True cramp bark, ginger, and red raspberry leaf are three teas used for natural cramp-relief.
Muscle Aches and Pains
Muscle aches and pains are a common pre-menstrual symptom. Acupuncture and acupressure have both been used to alleviate PMS muscle aches and pains. Using heating pads or bottles and soaking in a warm bath can help to release the tension in sore muscles as well. A big contributor to sore muscles during pre-menstruation is not drinking enough water, so stay hydrated. Performing stretches and practicing gentle yoga can relieve PMS muscle soreness as well. Arnica has been said to be one of the best herbs to use for PMS muscle aches and pains. When made into teas, valerian, rosemary, and skullcap have been beneficial in aiding muscle pain.
This is one of these symptoms that leads to more PMS symptoms. When things are backed up instead of passing through smoothly out of our digestive system, it can leave us feeling constipated. I’ve said it a few times, and I’ll say it again: drink lots of water. Water helps to break-up the food clogging your digestive system, and not drinking enough will only cause you to become more constipated. Make sure to consume plenty of high fiber foods like fruits, veggies, chia, and flax seeds. A few more natural ways to get that digestive track flowing properly is eating or drinking products containing Aloe Vera, ginger, and probiotics. Three teas for constipation relief are licorice, ginger, peppermint, and burdock teas.
Diarrhea may not be constipation, but it is still terrible, nonetheless. It can cause dehydration, so make sure to drink plenty of water. Acupuncture has often been used to help stop diarrhea, and get the digestive system back on track. Herbs that are known to assist the digestive track like psyllium, slippery elm, and marshmallow are used to help relieve diarrhea. Foods consumed for treating diarrhea include bananas, oatmeal, whole grains, rice, and steamed veggies. Some common teas used to help treat this PMS symptom include astringent teas such as red clover, alfalfa, and nettle.
Lack of Concentration and Focus
Another common PMS symptom that can get in the way during a busy day is a lack of concentration. This is normally caused by a rise of hormones that hits women prior to our menstrual cycle. Consuming ginseng in tea or supplement form has been used numerously to improve concentration and focus. Foods like blueberries, nuts, avocados, flax seeds, and green leafy vegetables are known to enhance concentration. Whenever I feel a lack of concentration, usually drinking a big tall glass of water helps me out a lot. In addition, exercise, stretching and yoga have been linked to increasing concentration and focus as well.
No one likes a headache, so thankfully there are a few natural ways to help relieve headaches. Rest is always best, but sometimes we are unable to rest due to life tasks, such as work. Since more PMS headaches are usually tension-related, massage and acupuncture can be very successful for easing tension headaches. Placing a cold press on your temples and taking a hot bath is another great way to soothe PMS headaches. A common tea used to treat headaches is linden tea, along with licorice root and wild indigo tea, which help relax tension in the head. Since dehydration often results in a headache, drinking water can also help. Cramp bark tincture, which I mentioned earlier, can also be used for alleviating headaches. Aromatherapy is another awesome, natural method for dealing with PMS headaches. Essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, ginger, patchouli and cinnamon have been used for soothing head pain. Stretching out muscles or performing certain yoga poses can help too.
When premenstrual syndrome occurs, consuming a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, getting an adequate amount of sleep, stretching, and exercising can often help you deal with most of the symptoms mentioned above. You deserve a quality life, so the next time you are experiencing indications of PMS symptoms, try using one or more of these natural ways to deal with them.