Many women struggle with PMS. In fact, about two-thirds of regularly menstruating women experience frustrating premenstrual symptoms like headaches and mood swings, according to some health experts.
Nearly 1 in 10 can suffer such severe mood changes that it causes problems in their personal lives and normal routines. This condition is known as PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
While some have turned to anti-depressants to relieve their suffering, medications like these come with a long list of side effects that can be worse than the original problem. If you hope to relieve your symptoms without turning to a pill, what can you do?
Consider these natural and effective options.
The typical American diet is full of sugar and processed foods. This diet frequently leads to weight gain as well as insulin resistance; since fat cells can produce estrogen, the more fat you have the higher your estrogen levels become. This can throw your natural hormonal balance off and worsen PMS symptoms.
Avoiding the following foods that are considered highly inflammatory – you’ll often reach a healthy weight as well as decrease or even eliminate PMS symptoms:
- Packaged and processed foods including fast food and packaged desserts, or snacks like cookies and cakes
- Common cooking oils that contain unhealthy fats such as sunflower, safflower and vegetable oil
- Margarine and heavily processed foods that contain trans fats
- Fried foods
- Many high-fat processed dairy products (the exception is kefir and some yogurts like plain Greek-style yogurt)
- Gluten and refined grains
- Industrial meats
- Excess caffeine and alcohol
Fill your diet with as many fresh, whole organic foods from the earth as possible, such as deeply-pigmented fruits and vegetables. Include healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught salmon, monounsaturated fats in olive oil and healthy saturated fats found in grass-fed meat, coconut oil and nuts.
You’ve surely heard of a “runner’s high,” and you can get those fabulous endorphins from any type of aerobic exercise.These euphoria-producing, pain-killing chemicals are known to ease premenstrual symptoms.
As natural endorphin levels tend to drop during the second half of the menstrual cycle, it can be even more important to get plenty of physical activity then. Exercise also helps rid the body of toxins, increase the metabolic rate and encourage fat burning, which also supports hormonal balance.
Supplements and Herbs
Some health experts believe that taking 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily, not just when you’re PMSing, can ease symptoms as it helps to even out hormonal levels. The omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are said to block prostaglandin production, and women who have a low intake of omega-3s are known to have more painful periods.
There are also several herbs that may help ease symptoms:
- Chasteberry may lessen breast pain associated with PMS by suppressing the release of prolactin, a hormone involved in breast milk production that has been linked to breast discomfort.
- Ginkgo biloba for breast tenderness and mood swings.
- St. John’s wort for depression (do not take this if you have been diagnosed or believe you may be manic-depressive as it can cause severe mania)
- Dandelion leaf for bloating.
Sleep and Stress Relief
Stress and a lack of sleep causes stress hormones (including cortisol) to remain at high levels, which can cause fatigue and worsen PMS symptoms. Getting eight hours of sleep is especially important right before your period. Try not to overschedule or push yourself too much during this time.
Practicing meditation or deep-breathing exercises is a great way to reduce stress, sleep better at night and relieve PMS.
– The Alternative Daily