It’s the same every month: You feel extra tired, have a monumental headache, and your cramps make you want to curl into a ball and hide under the covers. Or, you feel stressed because you can’t focus, and the slightest provocation brings on tears. Maybe you can’t even fit into your favorite jeans. What can you do to feel better?
PMS symptoms are a fact of life for many women. However, that doesn’t mean you are powerless to combat these symptoms. Lifestyle changes, as well as home remedies, may help alleviate both the physical discomfort and emotional stress you feel when your period is approaching. Here are some tips:
Helping Yourself With At-Home Solutions for Your PMS Symptoms
Get up and go. Instead of giving in to fatigue, jumpstart your body with exercise. Aerobic exercise, whether it’s swimming, walking or hitting the elliptical machine, can help reduce bloating and moodiness and naturally increases endorphins, the “feel good” neurochemicals produced in your brain. Of course, it helps if you are doing exercises you enjoy. For example, taking a fun Zumba class with a friend may be much more mood-lifting than doing jumping jacks in your family room.
Rest up. Proper rest is just as important as exercise. Although women with PMS often feel extremely tired, they sometimes fight the urge to retire for the night. It’s vital to get eight hours of shut-eye. If it’s just too hard to carve out that much time at night, try to squeeze in a catnap during the day.
Hit the warm water. A warm bath or shower can be extremely soothing and remove you from the stresses of the day. It can also help relax muscles. Use a lavender oil or soap, which have been known to ease tension and insomnia.
Apply heat. When cramps occur, apply a heating pad or hot water bottles to the pelvic area. Heat improves blood flow, which may help relieve pain.
Elevate your legs. Women who experience back pain should consider lying down and placing pillows under their knees. This can help reduce stress on the lower back.
Feed Your Body Properly. Eat three meals a day and carefully consider what you are eating and drinking. Alcohol, caffeine, and salty and sugary foods can exacerbate PMS symptoms. Instead, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins.
Consider Vitamins, Herbs or Supplements. Research has shown that some vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B-6, D and E, can relieve PMS symptoms. Chasteberry, St. John’s wort and ginkgo are other options. And there is also Serenol, a supplement whose ingredients were clinically shown to help ease PMS symptoms. But always check with your doctor before taking vitamins, herbs or herbal supplements because some of them may conflict with medications you are taking, causing unwanted side effects.
Alternative therapies. There are many ways to calm one’s mind and spirit. Some women find comfort through acupuncture, whereas others may find that meditation, aromatherapy or yoga do the trick.
Dealing with PMS symptoms is never easy. Experiment with some of the suggestions above to see what best helps you reduce discomfort and find relief.