Combating PMS

3 out of every 4 women experience some level of Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms every month. So if you’ve experienced mood swings, food cravings, tender breasts, bloating, irritability and depression, back pain or cramping with your monthly cycle you are not alone. But the fact that PMS affects so many of us does not make dealing with the interruption any easier. The good news is that not every menstrual cycle will have the same intensity of symptoms. That bad news is that this ever changing range of symptoms and severity is hard to treat. Let’s look at some ways to ease your symptoms and manage your PMS that you may not have tried.

  • Take ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (Aleve) to ease cramping and discomfort.
  • Chew Tums or Rolaids. This will provide you with calcium carbonate and calcium is needed especially at this time of the month. You may also want to increase the calcium in your diet with foods rich in calcium or drink some extra milk. Some calcium rich foods are salmon, spinach, broccoli, peas and brussel sprouts.
  • Eat smaller more frequent meals to combat bloating.
  • Keep up the exercise. An aerobic activity can alleviate symptoms of fatigue and depression. So get out and walk even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Oral contraceptives can stabilize hormone levels.
  • Limit salt and salty foods to reduce fluid retention.
  • Record your symptoms, keep a journal. It is hard to know what you are dealing with since every month may be different. But if you can be faithful a journal will help you identify reoccurring patterns. If you also keep track of things you try to alleviate symptoms and their success or failure you will have some very useful information to work from.
  • Take a magnesium supplement. Daily magnesium may help reduce bloating, fluid retention, and breast tenderness. Check your multivitamin to make sure it contains magnesium. You may need a dosage of 400 mg.
  • Take a chasteberry supplement in capsules or tablets. The chasteberry comes from the fruit of the chaste tree. The chasteberry has been used in Europe for centuries to treat the PMS symptoms of swelling, irritability, mood, and headache. The chasteberry normalizes progesterone function. You may need to take daily for 3 months before you notice results. Do not take if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • Black cohosh is an herb native to North America and may reduce premenstrual cramps. You will find Black cohosh in the herbal supplement section of your drug store, in a health food store or online. The studies are still on going on this one but it is also being used to help ease menopause symptoms.
  • Reduce stress. Stress makes everything worse. If you can predict when your symptoms will start don’t overload your schedule for that time period. Keep things simple.
  • Get plenty of sleep. If you feel wiped out, just rest. You may also want to practice some relaxation techniques. Tighten then relax your muscles, do some deep breathing. These will help your body relax and get the rest you need.
  • The Chinese herb dong quai has been used in the orient for years to relieve internal organ spasms. Dong quai is a pain reliever, muscle relaxer and balances hormones. You may purchase it in tablet form from an herbal supplement company.

Most of us will experience some pre-menstrual symptoms as we approach our late twenties through our forties due to natural hormone changes in our bodies. We will all suffer a variety of symptoms and severity depending on our diet, lifestyle, exercise habits, stress, age and ovulation but hopefully some of the above tips will help us deal with our symptoms so that our everyday lives will not suffer. So if you are suffering and there is something on the list you haven’t tried go ahead be proactive and maybe your monthly cycle will begin to impact you less than ever.


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