I was 12-years-old the first time I got my period (my sister was 10 – can you imagine??!), and I have been suffering from PMS ever since.
I get cramps.
My boobs get sore.
I retain more water than a camel.
My face breaks out worse than a teenage girl.
And I get EXTREMELY irritable.
I eventually talked my mum into putting me on The Pill when I was 18, which helped quite a bit, but when I tried to go on it again after I stopped breastfeeding my daughter, I only lasted 9 days before throwing them in the trash.
Of course, my doctor assured me that we could play around with different kinds of birth control pills, and that the side effects would eventually subside, but I was so on edge and unpleasant to be around during those 9 days I was back on the pill that I decided it was better for my marriage if I threw them away.
And yet, every 28-36 days (I like to keep things nice and unpredictable), I find myself yelling one minute and crying the next, all while holding a hot water bottle over my abdomen with one hand and applying industrial-strength zit cream to my face with the other.
But last month I finally decided I’d had enough, so I fired up my laptop and poked around for some natural ways to alleviate PMS.
And you know what?
After trying some of these out, I’ve been much more pleasant to be around.
1. CHANGE YOUR DIET
I feel like every time I’m trying to find ways to improve something about myself (even my complexion!), the internet tells me I need to change what I eat, so I guess it’s no surprise to hear there’s a link between PMS and diet.
Of course, I’ve always known salty foods contribute to bloating, and sugar can elevate mood swings, but I find it hard to cut both of these things out when I’m riding the crimson wave, you know?
Thankfully, I’ve found a diet that only requires a few changes AND lets you enjoy things like wine and skinny lattes from Starbucks when Aunt Flo pays you a visit. Don’t believe me? Then check out The PMS Diet over on Women’s Health. It has some helpful tips on which foods can help with mood swings, cravings, anxiety, irritability, bloating, headaches, and fatigue, and it even provides you with a PMS-Busting Meal Plan that you will be excited to try.
2. EXERCISE REGULARLY
Whenever I had cramps when I was a teenager and begged my mum to write me a note so I could get out of gym class, she told me that exercise was the best thing for me, and sent me on my merry way without even a hint of compassion for how crappy I felt.
I always considered this cruel and unusual punishment, and while the jury is still out on whether exercise actually reduces PMS, hitting the gym during Shark Week definitely has it’s benefits. Not only does it help with fatigue and cravings, but it really reduces my cramps AND my moodiness.
3. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS & HERBAL TREATMENTS
I’m always a little weary about taking vitamins, supplements, and herbs unless I absolutely have to as I always worry about their long-term effects on my body, but desperate times call for desperate measures and, after consulting with my doctor and getting the go-ahead from him, I’ve found a combination of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6 goes a long way in regulating my menstrual cycle.
And making me more pleasant to be around.
I’ve also heard good things about vitamin E and it’s effect on eliminating breast tenderness, but since I avoid doctor’s office like the plague during cold and flu season, I haven’t had a chance to chat with my doctor about this yet.
And a few of my friends SWEAR by herbal treatments for PMS.
If you’d like more information on which supplements help ease PMS, check out this article on Everyday Health. And if you’re interested in trying some natural remedies, give this article by Women to Women a read. But please please please make sure you talk to your health care practitioner before experimenting with supplements and herbal remedies as they can have serious side effects or interact with other medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you may be taking.
4. ADD FLAXSEED TO YOUR CEREAL
I recently met a friend of mine for breakfast while my daughter was at preschool and, when she didn’t think anyone was looking, she pulled a small tupperware container out of her purse and sprinkled something black all over her yogurt bowl.
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know I’m not very good at being subtle, so rather than just letting things be, I immediately yelled something like, “WHAT THE HECK IS THAT???!”.
As it turns out, she read somewhere that flaxseed oil is good for PMS, and after doing a little research myself, I found this article on Dr. Phil, which confirmed what she told me.
So the next time you’re in the cereal aisle of your local grocery store, put down the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and grab a bag of flaxseed instead!
We all know stress is bad for your health, but did you know it can make PMS worse? No? Neither did I! But after reading about this study over on TIME, and remembering how unbearable my PMS is when I’ve got a lot of stress in my life, I’m making a conscious effort to be as stress-free as possible.
Need some tips on how to do relieve stress? No problem. Here’s an awesome list of 20 fast and effective ways you can relieve stress right now (I love # 12!).
6. CATCH SOME ZZZs
I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time shutting my brain off at the end of the day, so I rarely (if ever!) get more than 6 hours of sleep at night. And that’s fine. With a busy 3-year-old and a growing blog, I’m used to getting little to no sleep. But when my Monthly Friend pays me a visit, I find I need more than 6 hours of sleep to curb my increased feelings of utter annoyance and irritability with the world.
The good news is that my daughter runs me so ragged each day that I have no problems falling asleep at night, and if I don’t drink more than a glass of wine, I can stay asleep until my alarm goes off in the morning. But for those of you who suffer from PMS-Insomnia, this list of 13 Ways to Treat Menstrual Insomnia by Best Health may be just what you need to get a good night of sleep.
If you found these natural PMS remedies helpful, please share them on Pinterest!
And if you’re looking for more health-related tips and tricks, please follow our Health and Fitness board where we share all kinds of fabulousness!