Whether it’s mood swings, breast tenderness, headaches, bloating, fatigue, depression, or anxiety, PMS symptoms can range from mild to severe and disrupt women’s daily lives each month.
There are, however, some dependable natural remedies for PMS symptoms that you might not know about. Read on for more information.
What Causes Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a common female condition that can result in a range of symptoms from physical pain to mood fluctuations in over 90% of women approximately 7-14 days before menstruation.
Exactly what causes PMS is yet to be determined, however, several scientific studies suggest it is influenced by the connection between the cyclical fluctuations of the female hormones and the chemical changes that occur in the brain pre-menstruation.
An increase in estrogen and progesterone, for example, is thought to contribute to symptoms like mood swings, and a heightened sense of stress, depression, or anxiety. A drop in the production of serotonin in the brain can cause food cravings, headaches, fatigue, and sleep disruptions.
Natural Remedies for PMS Symptoms
Choosing the right food, understanding vitamins, adding helpful supplements, finding ways to relax, and learning new lifestyle practices can all positively impact and relieve PMS symptoms.
Check out the following natural remedies to soothe the most common PMS symptoms.
Several research studies have shown that a regular daily intake of calcium can help relieve PMS symptoms such as food cravings, fatigue, mood swings, and anxiety.
In one study, women with PMS who took 500 mg of calcium twice a day for three months reported experiencing fewer changes in their appetite, less anxiety, and more energy than women who did not take calcium supplements.
In another 10-year study, researchers followed 1057 women who regularly experienced PMS and 1968 women who did not. Results showed that women with a high intake of calcium-rich foods suffered much less from PMS symptoms.
The results prompted researchers to suggest that women experiencing PMS could find relief from symptoms by including approximately 1200 mg of calcium per day in their diet.
This would be equivalent to four servings of milk, orange juice, or low-fat yogurt per day. Other foods that are rich in calcium include sesame seeds, leafy green vegetables, and almonds.
The same study into calcium for PMS found that the women who also had high dietary intakes of vitamin D, as well as calcium, experienced few to no symptoms of PMS. This is believed to be down to the fact that vitamin D helps calcium to absorb into the body.
Another study found that low vitamin D levels could also be tied to PMS symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, breast tenderness, anxiety, and fatigue.
Also known as Agnus Castus or Vitex, chasteberry supplements are widely recommended by women’s health experts to relieve PMS symptoms. As well as improving mood swings, chasteberry also lowers stress levels, reduces sleep disruptions, lessens feelings of fatigue, and soothes PMS headaches.
In addition, Chasteberry reduces breast tenderness during PMS and significantly helps in managing cyclical mastalgia.
In a recent study, 162 women were given one of three varying daily doses of chasteberry or a placebo for three months. Results showed that the women who took a daily chasteberry supplement of 20 mg experienced significant relief in the intensity of their PMS symptoms, in comparison to the women who took 8 mg, 30 mg doses, or the placebo.
For optimal results in PMS relief, a chasteberry supplement, like theChasteberry/Vitex Supplement from Intimate Rose should be ingested, with food, for at least three months.
As well as ensuring to include foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D to relieve PMS symptoms, it is also recommended to avoid certain foods.
Sugar, for example, is craved by many women experiencing PMS due to the lower levels of serotonin in the brain. In fact, research has shown that women can consume up to 500 more calories a day during PMS.
Rather than give in to the sugar cravings, which will only intensify PMS symptoms, try eating complex carbohydrates instead, like beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
It can also help to reduce your salt intake to decrease bloating during PMS, as well as restricting your caffeine intake to reduce mood swings and insomnia.
For improved energy and sleep during PMS, regular exercise like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, cross-training, or jogging can help. This type of aerobic movement for the body releases endorphins and serotonin which not only impact your energy and sleep, but they can also boost your mood too.
Relaxation & Stress Management
Self-care and allowing more time to relax can be hugely beneficial to women’s mindset during PMS. Due to the fluctuating hormones and the drop in serotonin, emotions can be more intensely felt, moods can swing quickly, sleep can be disturbed, and energy levels can drop drastically.
Yoga, meditation, and conscious breathing exercises are all well-known self-care practices that can be used to reduce stress and enhance relaxation, especially when experiencing PMS symptoms.
Acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, shiatsu, and massage therapy are all recognized as holistic treatments that help to reduce PMS symptoms. While not scientifically proven, these natural healing treatments have been reported by many women to be incredibly beneficial in managing PMS.
It is recommended to check the credentials and qualifications of any new holistic practitioners you might be willing to try to ensure that treatments are performed correctly.
If you are in the 90 percentile of women who experience PMS, it might be worth looking into natural remedies to relieve both the physical and emotional symptoms.
With some easy lifestyle changes, informed food choices, relaxation techniques, and an understanding of which supplements and vitamins to use, PMS symptoms can improve significantly.
Should you consider taking a regular supplement, it is always best to check with your doctor to ensure it does not react with any other medications you may be taking.
Jama Internal Medicine - Calcium and Vitamin D Intake and Risk of Incident Premenstrual Syndrome - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/486599
BMC Women’s Health - Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of premenstrual syndrome in a prospective cohort study - https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6874-14-56
Reproductive Endocrinology- Dose-dependent efficacy of the Vitex agnus castus extract Ze 440 in patients suffering from premenstrual syndrome -
National Center for Biotechnology Information - The effect of 8 weeks aerobic exercise on the severity of physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome: a clinical trial study