NATURAL PMS SOLUTIONS
What is PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a group of changes and symptoms that occur one to two weeks before a woman’s menstrual period. The cause of the symptoms is physical, but the changes can also be emotional and behavioral. Common symptoms include bloating, headaches, acne, tender breasts, weight gain, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and mood changes. The majority of women have experienced one or more of these symptoms at one time or another, but for some it causes severe distress every month and could affect relationships and job performance.
How to feel your best all month long
While prescription medications are available when necessary, it is best to cope with PMS symptoms using natural solutions. A Woman’s View provides individualized counseling and PMS treatment, and has found that incorporating lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements and natural hormones reduce symptoms for many patients.
Important Note: Although they are natural, vitamins, herbal supplements and hormones may not be safe for everyone. Be sure to talk to your doctor at A Woman’s View first to make sure they will not aggravate underlying conditions or interfere with the medicines and supplements you are already taking.
Exercise and rest
You’ve heard it before but getting enough sleep and regular exercise is important for your health. Those who are under a lot of stress, don’t exercise, or don’t sleep well can experience more frequent and severe PMS symptoms. Physical activity reduces stress, improves mood and has been shown to decrease PMS symptoms, so make sure to incorporate some kind of movement into every day of the month.
The importance of diet
What you eat, or don’t, affects the frequency and severity of PMS symptoms. You can decrease symptoms by reducing or eliminating salt, caffeine and alcohol, and eating healthy meals and snacks at regularly spaced intervals. Of special importance are these vitamins and minerals:
Those who experience PMS symptoms are often not be getting enough calcium from their diet. A 2017 study found that taking a calcium supplement not only reduced PMS symptoms like bloating and fatigue, but it also reduced anxiety, sadness and mood swings. You can increase your calcium intake by eating more seafood, leafy greens, milk, cheese and yogurt. If you choose to take a supplement, 1,000 to 1,200 mg per day is suggested for most women.
Research shows that women who do not experience PMS have higher magnesium concentration levels in their blood than women who do experience symptoms. Magnesium helps muscle and nerve function and increases calcium absorption. The use of a daily magnesium supplement (250 mg, once or twice a day) helps some women to reduce mood swings and PMS symptoms. Magnesium is also found in foods like green leafy vegetables, avocados, peanuts and almonds.
B vitamins, especially B6
B vitamins are the building blocks of a healthy body and are critical to metabolism and cell function. In particular, vitamin B6 has been associated with improving PMS symptoms, enhancing mood and energy levels. Some women take a 50-mg B6 supplement daily to help with cramps and other PMS symptoms. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include tuna and other fish, chickpeas, liver and organ meats, potatoes and tofu.
There is some evidence that vitamin E can improve PMS symptoms and reduce period pain, especially when combined with essential fatty acids. Vitamin E is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, avocados and fruits like mango and kiwi.
Essential fatty acids
It is believed that essential fatty acids help with PMS symptoms by reducing inflammation and heling to balance hormones. Good sources include fish, nuts and green vegetables. Even primrose has long been touted to help with premenstrual symptoms because it contains a fatty acid called gamma-linoleic acid.
PMS problems may be caused by changing levels of estrogen and progesterone. Some treatments aim to restore the correct hormone balance. One option is natural progesterone cream or capsules used prior to the beginning of the menstrual period each month.
Schedule an evaluation
Your A Woman’s View clinician can help assess your PMS concerns. Don’t hesitate to call us for an evaluation or bring up the topic at your next appointment.