Premenstrual syndrome, often shortened to PMS, is a term that describes the physical and psychological changes that occur for some women during the two weeks before a period. While there is medication that you can take for PMS, the pill, for example, many women have found they can manage their symptoms with natural and herbal remedies and supplements. There are plenty of PMS remedies, some of which will be explored below.
PMS is extremely common; it tends to affect women in their thirties and forties though it is not uncommon to have it at any age. A lot of women will have minor physical and psychosocial changes before their period, which are completely manageable. On the other hand, some women may find that PMS interferes with their day-to-day life. There are many different symptoms of PMS, which tend to vary from woman to woman, but the most typical symptoms are:
- mood swings
- feeling weepy
- feeling bloated
- sore breasts
Unfortunately, the exact cause of PMS remains unknown. However, there are many experts who believe that some women suffer from PMS because they are more sensitive to hormonal changes than others.
Vitex also referred to as Vitex agnus-castus and Chasteberry, is a plant native to the Mediterranean region. It has been a popular herbal remedy for gynaecological conditions for centuries. In relation to PMS, studies have shown that Vitex is an effective treatment for common PMS symptoms, including breast pain, mood swings and headaches. It is even suggested that it is as effective as the prescribed drug Prozac for treating Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a more severe type of PMS.
Vitex is said to rebalance the hormones that are triggering symptoms. It also contains dopaminergic compounds, helping to regulate mood swings associated with PMS. Vitex is usually taken by tablet but it does comes in tincture form as well.
Dong Quai is a herb that is popular in Chinese medicine for a range of conditions, including headaches, inflammation and fatigue. It is also used by many women to manage symptoms associated with the menopause. While there is not sufficient evidence to prove that dong quai is a good treatment for PMS, anecdotal evidence from women does suggest that dong quai can help with certain PMS symptoms, such as irritability, fatigue and headaches. Dong quai is commonly taken in tablet form.
Note: Dong quai should not be taken during pregnancy.
Magnesium is one of the best PMS remedies as it helps the rest of our body too. Magnesium plays an important role in the body, such as keeping your cardiovascular system, nervous system and digestive system in check. It also ensures that your hormone-secreting glands work efficiently. Many of us are not aware of just how important magnesium is to our health, although, health experts are slowly realising its amazing benefits.
Unlike some other nutrients, magnesium is not produced in the body but absorbed from eating magnesium-rich foods, including leafy greens, fish, beans, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc. Owing to our Western diet of processed food and not enough fresh produce, many people have magnesium deficiencies but are completely oblivious to it. Some of the symptom of a magnesium deficiency include:
- muscle cramps
As you can see, symptoms of magnesium deficiency and PMS are pretty similar. Studies indicate that during the menstrual cycle women have lower than normal levels of magnesium.
It is said that a deficiency may be a contributing factor to PMS and may make symptoms worse. Therefore, many women have found that getting enough magnesium, whether through diet or supplements, has massively improved their symptoms. Magnesium is even more effective when taken with B complex vitamins.
Over the years, loads of research has been done that looks at the link between calcium and PMS; the conclusion is pretty conclusive. In one particular study – Calcium carbonate and the premenstrual syndrome: effects on premenstrual and menstrual symptoms – they found that the group treated with a calcium supplement had a significantly lower amount of symptoms during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the second half of your menstrual cycle). The study concluded that increasing your calcium intake during the luteal phase of your cycle can effectively treat symptoms of PMS. You can do this by significantly increasing your intake of dairy products or take a supplement of at least 1200 mg daily. It is said that calcium is more effective as a treatment for PMS when taken with magnesium and vitamin d.
Natural Progesterone Cream
Some women have found that using a natural progesterone cream alleviates symptoms of PMS. While the exact cause of PMS is unknown, some experts believe it is caused by a dip in the hormone progesterone that occurs during ovulation, which results in estrogen dominance. Therefore, using a natural progesterone cream can help to balance out hormones. Using a progesterone cream does not work for every woman, because of course we are all different though many have found success using it. However, there have been quite a few complaints that the first month using it can make symptoms feel worse though this tends to ease and get better with continuous use.
Although, PMS is a very common condition, there have not been many studies on what can help alleviate symptoms. However, the ones provided above have proven effective for many women with PMS, though everyone will respond differently. As well as taking supplements, it is important that you eat healthily and exercise as this will really help to balance what’s happening in your body. It will also ensure that supplements work more efficiently.
If you have tried any of these remedies or something else, please share your experiences.