If you suffer from premenstrual syndrome, then these tips for reducing period cramps, cravings, and PMS symptoms may help you find menstrual pain relief. Your hormones may be going haywire, but premenstrual syndrome and menstrual pain doesn’t have to take you down!
“In the week or so before their periods start, many women experience a collection of uncomfortable symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome,” writes Dr Mary Jane Minkin in Women’s Health For Life. “Bloating, migraines, and moodiness are just a few of the things that can make life difficult. But there are various ways in which you can ease the symptoms.”
Did you know that there are more than 150 symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menstrual pain? I’ve listed ways to cope with the five most common ones below, plus natural remedies and tips for menstrual pain relief. For more info on all aspects of women’s health, read Women’s Health For Life.
5 Ways to Overcome Period Cramps, Cravings, and PMS Symptoms
To cope with period cramps, try reducing dairy and meat consumption. Menstrual pain often appears as cramping in the lower back and legs – both before and during your period. Meat and dairy products contain the hormone prostaglandin, which can make cramping worse. To find relief from premenstrual syndrome, avoid milk, ice cream, cheeseburgers, and other sources of dairy or meat for a few months. If it doesn’t help, then enjoy a nice big cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake!
To overcome food cravings associated with PMS, keep your blood sugars stable. The wonky hormone levels during premenstrual syndrome and menstruation can cause cravings of fat, sugar, and salt (also known as chocolate and potato chips!). Indulge your cravings by eating a little sugar, salt, and fat – but don’t go overboard. Keep your blood sugar stable by snacking on whole grains, lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates, fruit, and veggies. Small, healthy, regular meals may help you overcome the food cravings associated with premenstrual syndrome.
To cope with menstrual pain, try evening primrose oil (herbal remedy). “Some women swear by herbal remedies for PMS symptoms, but there is not sufficient scientific data to substantiate their effectiveness,” writes Dr Minkin. “One of the most popular is evening primrose oil, which is reported to improve breast pain; the usual dosage is 1,000 units (2 standard capsules) per day.” She cautions that herbal remedies aren’t regulated like prescription medications are, so make sure you buy them from a reputable supplier. Don’t mix herbal remedies with other prescription medications.
To cope with irregular periods, figure out why you’re not menstruating regularly. Finding ways to reduce spotting between periods and heavy bleeding during menstruation can depend on the reasons for spotting and a heavy flow. For more info on irregular periods, read 6 Causes of Spotty Periods.
To overcome moodiness caused by premenstrual syndrome, try 5-HTP (herbal remedy). To boost your mood, many doctors and naturopaths recommend 150 mg 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) daily. It’s a natural mood enhancer — a plant extract that increases serotonin, reduces anxiety and improves sleep. It boosts your body’s serotonin levels (“happy” hormones), which drop the week before your period. Also, a lack of calcium can also cause moodiness before your period starts; make sure you’re taking 400 mg of calcium three times a day if you don’t drink enough milk or eat enough yogurt (or if you’re trying my first way to overcome period cramps!).
If severe PMS or premenstrual symptoms are cramping your lifestyle, talk to your doctor. If that doctor doesn’t help, get a second opinion!
For more info on overcoming period cramps, read You Want Regular Periods, Right? Tips for Regulating Your Cycle.
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