For all you ladies, you know that symptoms associated with menstruation can be overwhelming. From mood swings to severe cramps, premenstrual syndrome can be an emotional and physical roller coaster. Although a number of factors may be involved, the exact cause is not entirely clear.
Of course, changes in hormone levels play a key role — which tends to affect some women more than others. Some other potential causes may include a low-nutrient diet, a high intake of salty foods, and too much alcohol or caffeine. If you can relate to these painful and distressing symptoms, take the following steps.
4 Steps You Can Take to Reduce Symptoms of PMS
From headaches to constipation, joint pain to irritability, PMS causes both physical and emotional symptoms. Although estimates vary, the American College of Obstetricians estimates that around 85 percent of all women experience at least one PMS symptoms within their monthly cycle.
With that being said, some women experience worse symptoms in comparison to others. For around 3 to 8 percent of the female population, they experience what’s known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder — a more severe form of PMS. Regardless of the symptoms you have, you should try this 4-step treatment plan before opting for medication.
Step #1: Change your diet
Although you should most certainly focus on a diet that’s packed with nutritional value, you also need to reduce your intake of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Since PMS affects hormone levels, this can often lead to cravings. In fact, it’s been found that women with PMS, may consume 200 to 500 more calories a day.
More often than not, these calories come from foods that are low in nutrients, yet high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. Instead, you should focus on whole grains, leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean protein. At the end of the day, if your body and brain do not get the nutrients they require, they cannot function at an optimal level.
Step #2: Exercise weekly
It’s no secret that exercise is ideal for your health. Helping you maintain a healthy weight and heart, regular exercise is important for all aspects of women’s health. While focusing on PMS, aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms, acting as a potential form of non-invasive treatment.
Within one study, published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery, 40 non-athletes women aged 18-25 years old were examined. The experimental group participated in three 60 minute sessions each week, for a total of 8 weeks. Overall, it was shown to be effective — researchers concluded that exercise can be used as a treatment.
Step #3: Take supplements
Supplements are the perfect way to ensure your needs are met. In conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, women who suffer from PMS should most certainly supplement certain vitamins and minerals. Some of the best supplements for PMS include, a multivitamin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin D.
There are also a number of herbal blends that have been utilized through history, based on their potent medicinal properties. Black cohosh, for instance, helps treat symptoms of PMS, including sleep disturbances and irritability. The same is true for lemon balm, which allows individuals to feel more relaxed, combatting insomnia and anxiety.
Step #4: Manage Stress
It’s believed that women who perceive more stress in their lives, tend to have more PMS symptoms. Women who become anxious and irritable, tend to exhibit a higher degree of hormone imbalance. Not only do hormones such as estrogen and progesterone regulate reproduction, they also play a role in your mood and associated stress patterns.
Other than deep breathing, journal writing, or meditation, all of the above lifestyle changes will help you naturally reduce feelings of stress. Exercises, for instance, improves blood flow and influences the production of ‘feel-good’ hormones. When combined with quality sleep and optimal nutrition, you will naturally feel less anxious.
Test out some of the natural suggestions above, all while keeping a journal. This will help you track different variables in terms of associated symptoms. Although PMS is common, you do not need to let it take over your life once a month. You can take action, helping reduce the severity of your symptoms.