What are PMS symptoms?
Before we jump into the best natural remedies for PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) it might be worthwhile to cover some of the symptoms. The most commonly reported PMS symptoms include changes in:
- Irritability, tension or anxiety
- Crying spells and mood swings
- Sociability, energy (fatigue), sleep patterns (insomnia)
- Libido (sex drive)
- Digestion and bowel movements (constipation or diarrheoa)
- Appetite (cravings, hunger, nausea)
- Joint pain
- Skin and hair changes (drier or oilier than usual)
- Fluid retention and bloating (gas)
- Breast sensitivity or tenderness
While it is a long list, I’m sure those with periods will agree that it is not definitive. Symptoms can also alter in type and in intensity from cycle to cycle.
Natural remedies for PMS
We can loosely group certain symptoms together to form certain categories; namely digestive symptoms, energy related symptoms, mood swings and emotional changes, and finally, pain. Now you can certainly take painkillers, antacids or drink plenty of coffee to cope with premenstrual syndrome and reduce PMS symptoms. But this article provides some natural remedies as alternatives. Alternative remedies can be seen as supplementary, or a great jumping-off point to a deeper self care regimen. All of the natural PMS remedies you will read below are things that have worked for me, and I hope they work for you too.
1 Natural PMS remedy: Tea
symptoms: digestion, nausea, energy
I am aware that this one may not help everyone. Thankfully, there are a myriad of herbal and flavoured teas that can help. Depending on what symptom(s) you are experiencing, you might find different teas have different effects. For instance, green tea with a high quality honey (such as raw honey) can work to fight off inflammation and fatigue. Similarly, peppermint tea can aid in digestion, particularly in terms of diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. An ethically sourced herbal tea, such as Greek Mountain tea has been used for centuries to help fight off colds and flus, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and subtle pain relieving properties. From me to you, as a native Greek, I can assure you that Mountain tea combined with a good spoonful of raw honey has saved me a number of times. Plus, it tastes delicious.
You can also read our article about how to tailor your diet to deal with PMS.
2 Natural PMS remedy: Peppermint capsules
symptoms: digestion, nausea
If dietary supplements work better for you and your lifestyle, a natural PMS treatment you could consider trying are peppermint capsules. Ever wonder why so many digestion related products are peppermint flavoured? Shown to aid in digestion and minimise gas, peppermint capsules can act as a natural remedy to help minimise discomfort. If you experience digestion symptoms similar to IBS (or for that matter have IBS), then peppermint capsules may be something worthwhile to consider.
3 Natural PMS remedy: Heat
symptoms: pain, digestion
I’m not sure if I was living under a rock but I only got a hot water bottle last year. While hot water bottles are usually used to cope with painful periods, they can help with any general discomfort. Used on the middle and lower abdominal area, the heat helps relax the muscles and can stop them from contracting, thus eliminating pain. Similarly, it will help relax muscles in the abdomen also eliminating pain and discomfort caused by indigestion and gas. A heat pad works the same way as a hot water bottle though keep in mind that you should never use them on bare skin. It is also a good idea not to leave it for prolonged periods of time at risk of skin burns or irritations.
4 Natural PMS remedy: Weighted blankets
symptoms: irritability, anxiety, mood swings
Ah, the magic of weighted blankets. I promise you it isn’t just a trend. This article by Pennsylvania State University Medicine (Penn Medicine) explains why in further detail. Think about it though – doesn’t it feel safe and cosy and warm when you’re wrapped up in your favourite blanket? Presumably in those instances your anxiety will also decrease. The extra weight of weighted blankets help your autonomous nervous system ‘cool down’. The autonomous nervous system is the one responsible for physiological processes that are automatic. These include breathing, heart rate, digestion and even sexual arousal. By adding that extra physical pressure, or weight, your heart rate can lower, helping your anxiety and irritability to dissipate. Put simply, your irritability and anxiety will lower because you’ll feel calmer.
5 Natural PMS remedy: Warm showers, and baths
symptoms: pain, irritability, digestion, sleep
Just like the other suggestions above, warm showers and/or baths can help with muscle relaxation. Taking a bath with epsom sea salts can also aid in anti-inflammation and promote calmness and relaxation. During the high-stress time of a person’s cycle, our hormones are wreaking havoc on our systems and sometimes a hot shower or bath can be enough for a mental and physical reset. Muscle relaxation can lower any pain associated with PMS, as well as improve digestion. Warm baths and showers can also help trigger sleepiness which can help with any insomnia or difficulties sleeping. Furthermore, it’s only natural to feel less irritable when you’re more comfortable.
6 Natural PMS remedy: Move your body
symptoms: all of the above
When I say move your body, I mean any type of exercise or movement that fits in with your lifestyle and energy levels. For instance, if all you can muster is getting up to get a glass of water, then it might be worth trying a few gentle stretches or some yoga. Equally, if you feel like you’re on top of the world energy-wise, then by all means go for a run, cycle, or spend some quality time with the dumbbells in the gym. An endorphin release is enough to help promote sleep, eliminate pain, irritability, and most types of discomfort.
7 Natural PMS remedy: Rest and rehydrate
symptoms: all of the above
If I were to pick one natural PMS remedy to suggest that I consider to be better than the rest, I would pick this one. Drinking more water can be beneficial not only during the period of PMS, but in general too. Chances are most of us aren’t drinking enough water anyway. Ultimately, hydration is necessary for our bodies to work efficiently, as is rest. I’ve been an avid supporter that sleep is not for the weak; in fact, it helps make us mentally, psychologically and physically stronger. When we’re feeling rundown, whether it be from a cold, a stressful period, or even PMS, I will quote my mother and say: “Get rest and lots of fluids!” Our bodies need rest to recover, regenerate and revive themselves. Things tend to work better when you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
If any of these natural remedies for PMS don’t align with your lifestyle, values or habits, or you simply don’t really like them, that’s ok too. This is by no means a comprehensive list. At the end of the day, some of these might work for some and for others they might not. Having said that, PMS can sometimes be so uncomfortable and at times debilitating, it may be worth trying a few of them to see what works.
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