Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is experienced by over 75% of menstruating women. Symptoms may start a week or two before the period and may be mild to severe. Hormone balance is the primary factor that will determine the PMS symptoms that someone experiences.
Common PMS symptoms include: fatigue, bloating, skin issues, emotional changes, breast tenderness, and cramps.
Symptoms usually start 7 to 10 days prior to menstrual flow and end shortly thereafter.
PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is the term used to describe severe PMS symptoms. They follow the same cycle and range of symptoms but produce a more debilitating outcome.
Causes of PMS cramps include:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Poor diet
- Food allergies
- Emotional stress
- Thyroid problems
- Environmental toxins
The good news is if you can improve your diet, manage stress and take some of the suggested natural remedies you can greatly see the symptoms associated with PMS improve fast.
Top Foods for PMS Diet
Here are the best foods to consume on a PMS diet:
Plant foods – Studies have shown that women with plant-based diets high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs have fewer symptoms of PMS.
High fiber foods – PMS can cause GI disturbances, which is why it’s critical to get at least 30g of fiber daily.
Green leafy vegetables – These veggies have a diuretic effect and are also a great source of calcium and magnesium, which can reduce menstrual cramps.
Flaxseed – Helps promote healthy estrogen metabolism.
Wild-caught fish – Foods high in Omega-3 fats will help reduce pain and inflammation.
Avocado – Eating a half or full avocado daily can naturally balance hormones because of it’s nutritional profile which includes healthy fat, fiber, magnesium and potassium.
Foods that Increase PMS Symptoms
Trans fats and hydrogenated fats – A diet high in these fats can make PMS symptoms worse.
Any potential food allergen – Food allergies can make PMS symptoms worse.
Sugar – Causes fluctuations in blood sugar that may exacerbate mood swings, headaches, or difficulty concentrating. Sugar also depletes the body of critical minerals.
Salt – Water retention during your period may be made worse by consuming a diet high in sodium.
Caffeine – Is dehydrating and can worsen depression, anxiety, and breast tenderness.
Top 5 Natural Remedies for PMS and Cramps
Taking supplements and home remedies for PMS and cramps can greatly reduce symptoms. Try one or all of the below natural treatments:
#1 Vitex (chasteberry) (240mg daily)
Helps balance estrogen/ progesterone ratios.
#2 Vitamin B6 (50 mg daily)
Vitamin B6 are involved in estrogen metabolism.
#3 Progesterone Cream (1/4 tsp, 10mg daily)
Start after ovulation until the day before your period begins.
#4 Indole-3-carbinol (300 mg daily)
Helps the liver metabolize estrogen.
#5 Magnesium (250 mg 2x# daily)
Required in the metabolism of estrogen and can help relieve cramping.
Ashwagandha and holy basil – these two adaptogenic herbs have been shown to reduce cortisol, balance hormones, and reduce PMS symptoms. Exercise, also helps balance hormones and reduce stress which can reduce the symptoms of PMS.
Essential Oils for PMS and Cramps
Essential oils can be an effective natural treatment for PMS. Clary sage oil helps naturally balance hormones which can reduce symptoms rub 2-3 drops of of oil on lower abdomen then apply warm compress for 2-5 minutes. Also, cypress oil improves circulation and can improve cramps apply it in the same way or along with clary sage.
To reduce tension, stress and cramping, you can apply ylang ylang oil along with lavender oil to the back of neck and lower abdomen. And 3 drops peppermint oil works with a warm compress to reduce pain.
If you feel like you could use some more in depth information on essential oils, Dr. Josh Axe is hosting a free webinar going over, in great detail, uses and tips for using essential oils. Click below to learn more.