Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), thought to affect over 90% of women approximately 7-14 days before menstruation, is a common female condition that can cause up to 150 symptoms ranging from physical pain to emotional fluctuations. To learn more about PMS symptoms, read our list and what you can do to ease them.
While there is no specific test that confirms PMS, symptoms generally fall into a specific pattern with an increase in intensity as menstruation approaches, a gradual improvement within the first few days of menstruation, and recurring symptoms for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.
What Causes PMS Symptoms?
PMS is believed to be caused by a change in the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during the luteal phase of the monthly cycle. These hormonal changes, in turn, affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to a wide range of symptoms that affect women in unique ways.
At least 150 symptoms are associated with PMS, and even though each woman experiences symptoms in their unique way, the most commonly reported symptoms include the following:
- Sugar cravings
- Salt Cravings
- Breast Tenderness
- Mood swings
- Fluid Retention
Top Tips to Manage PMS Symptoms
Because most PMS symptoms are a result of too much estrogen or too little progesterone during the luteal phase, the ultimate way to cope with PMS symptoms is to keep track of them, perhaps by using a diary.
Once aware of your particular PMS symptom pattern, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss and identify your unique hormonal imbalance. Following this, higher levels of estrogen can be addressed in one way, and lower progesterone levels in another.
Tips to Reduce Estrogen Levels During PMS
When PMS symptoms arise due to high levels of estrogen, learn to increase your fiber intake in the days before menstruation, which binds with the excess estrogen allowing it to be more easily excreted from the body.
Upping your water intake to at least 2 liters per day will also aid in this process, as well as keep the body hydrated and help to reduce sugar cravings. In addition, consuming protein with each meal helps the liver to process excess estrogen during PMS.
Lastly, including a daily probiotic as a supplement will balance the good and bad bacteria in the gut and help your metabolism to break down and excrete excess estrogen rather than it being absorbed by the body.
A daily probiotic, such as Flora Bloom Probiotics for Women from Intimate Rose, also reduces PMS symptoms like bloating and constipation by encouraging regular bowel movements, thereby allowing less time for excess estrogen to be absorbed.
Tips to Increase Progesterone During PMS
PMS symptoms like anxiety, breast tenderness, and feelings of hopelessness are caused by low levels of progesterone. If your PMS hormonal imbalance is a result of low progesterone, include magnesium in your pre-menstrual diet to help increase progesterone production.
Eating more foods containing magnesium like spinach, dark chocolate, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and avocados will help, but for severe PMS symptoms, a magnesium supplement works better and faster.
Vitamin c and zinc also encourage the production of progesterone. Foods rich in vitamin c, such as citrus fruits and broccoli can significantly help reduce anxiety and feelings of sadness during PMS.
Zinc on the other hand promotes healthy ovulation, which in turn ensures the production of progesterone. Natural sources of zinc include beans, legumes, pumpkin seeds, and oysters. A vitamin c or zinc supplement will usually ensure adequate amounts of each.
Best Supplements For PMS Symptoms
Chasteberry (also known as Vitex) is a natural herb that has been used as a natural remedy for centuries to treat women’s reproductive health. Whether high in estrogen or low in progesterone, chasteberry is widely recommended by women’s health experts to rebalance both hormones during PMS. The Vitex Chasteberry Supplement from Intimate Rose, for example, acts quickly to relieve a wide range of PMS symptoms.
In a recent study, 93% of women who took vitex supplements for PMS over three consecutive months reported a significant improvement in PMS symptoms such as pelvic discomfort, irritability, premenstrual acne, and cravings. Research also suggests that vitex (chasteberry) can reduce headaches during menstrual cycles by 66%.
The Last Word on Managing PMS Symptoms
In addition to dietary changes, vitamins, and natural supplements there are a few other lifestyle changes that can significantly relieve the ultimate list of PMS symptoms.
Setting aside thirty minutes for exercise three times a week not only improves overall health but is especially helpful in managing associated symptoms. A brisk walk, yoga or aerobics, cycling, or light jogging will help to lift low moods, relieve anxiety, and boost energy levels that combat fatigue.
Eliminating caffeine and alcohol mid-way through your monthly cycle can notably help to reduce the severity of symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. Instead of caffeine and alcohol, drinking plenty of water will help flush toxins from the body and help to avoid PMS acne.
Reducing stress also goes a long way toward improving the list of PMS symptoms. Socializing with friends will help with stress, breathing exercises, meditation, relaxing massages, and especially time spent out in the fresh air.
The list of symptoms associated with PMS is long and varied, however not all women suffer from all symptoms. By learning to understand your unique hormonal imbalances during PMS, symptoms become far easier to manage and relieve.
Knowing how to apply dietary changes, de-stressing techniques, the right vitamins, and supplements to your daily routine, will help decrease high estrogen levels, lower progesterone, and allow you to feel much more balanced during your monthly cycle.
Mayo Clinic - Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): Definition
Cleveland Clinic – 11 Diet Changes That Can Help Fight PMS -
M. Diana van Die, Henry G. Burger, Helena J Teede, Kerry M. Bone - Vitex agnus-astus Extracts for Female Reproductive Disorders - https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0032-1327831