The Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS represents a series of physical and emotional symptoms that 90% women go through 7 to 14 days prior to their menstrual period. In the majority of cases, women experience a couple or more of these symptoms leading to a milder or more intense disruption in their daily life.
If you’re a woman, you know how it goes. It’s two (or a little less) weeks until your period and you slowly start to feel like… A mess.
You wake up tired in the morning and nothing seems to help to get that energy you need so bad, not even extra cups of coffee.
You feel sluggish and sensitive, and even that fluffy and comfy sweater you love doesn’t feel so soft anymore (“Need something softerrrrrr”).
Your breasts suddenly get heavier and painful to the point that even putting on a bra makes you mad.
Everything starts to feel irritating, and you can’t stand your colleagues giggling anymore because you “just want a little bit of peace”.
To make things even better, you start to feel bloated and unhappy with what you see in the mirror. You can’t choose what to wear in the morning because “everything looks so bad!”.
You try to move on with your day, but it’s so hard because you’re also crushed with a bad mood, increased anxiety, and depressive thoughts.
Sounds familiar? It might, or might not. Women feel PMS differently and you may feel exactly like I described, you may feel somewhat similar, but not as intense, or you may feel like things I have mentioned are just a tip of your PMS iceberg.
Today I want to help you understand why you feel like that when you have PMS and how you can help yourself feel better, naturally.
What Are The Main PMS Symptoms?
PMS symptoms are both physical and emotional and they can differ in intensity depending on each woman, her lifestyle habits, emotional wellness and genetics.
The physical symptoms of PMS can include:
- Extreme tiredness and an overall sense of lack of energy that occurs during mid-cycle every month;
- Sore breasts, that can slightly swell prior to the menstrual period;
- Cramping that can lead to mild or severe pain;
- Headaches that range in intensity from mild to severe (also, those that suffer from migraines experience even worse PMS headaches);
- A tendency to overeat, increased appetite and cravings for comfort food;
- Fluid retention and bloating;
- Muscle pain;
- Acne breakouts.
The emotional and mental symptoms of PMS can include:
- An overall sense of anxiety and tension;
- An intense feeling of sadness;
- Recurrent mood swings with a constant tendency of irritability;
- Difficulties in concentrating and performing daily tasks;
- Feeling insecure and “not pretty”.
What Causes PMS?
A woman’s body is a complex machine, which is why there are several factors involved in the appearance of PMS symptoms… But the most influential aspect of PMS seems to be the drastic hormone fluctuations that happen every month. Your estrogen and progesterone levels rise and drop, rise and drop during different stages of your cycle and they are also responsible for all those symptoms mentioned above.
It’s important to know this because it may save you lots of unnecessary, negative self-talk if you understand that sometimes the things you do, or the thoughts you think are simply influenced by these hormones taking you over.
A great way to notice the effects of hormones is to track your menstrual cycle. It can help you decide if the thoughts you’re having or bad moods you’re experiencing are only related to your cycle. You can use my free minimalistic period tracker to start tracking your periods right away.
Other things that might cause PMS include: unbalanced diets, lack of exercise, highly stressful life and erratic sleeping behaviors.
How To Feel Better When PMS Is Taking Over
1) Add Omega-3 Fats To Your Diet
Several studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can diminish a whole bundle of recurrent PMS symptoms. Omega-3 has a significant impact on depression, nervousness, anxiety, concentration issues, headaches, and tender breasts. And the best part? You can’t get this beneficial acid naturally, just by choosing particular foods.
To get enough Omega-3 with your diet, eat fatty fish – such as wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, cod liver, sardines and consider adding flax seed to your dietary routine. Research shows that following an omega-3 rich diet for a couple of months can lead to a significant decrease in PMS symptoms.
2) Add More Magnesium To Your Diet
Magnesium is responsible for our mood and physical wellbeing. A good amount of this mineral can support hormones, relax tense muscles, help with sleep problems and lower PMS symptoms as well.
A couple of studies suggested that women who experience regular PMS symptoms have a lower magnesium concentration in their body, so it’s a good idea to up your magnesium intake when you feel like PMS is taking over.
To consume more magnesium, eat more foods like leafy greens, nuts, bananas, avocados, whole grains, legumes, and seafood.
3) Consume More Calcium & Fiber
Another common cause for PMS in women is related to the increased production of estrogen hormone. This increase is completely normal and related to your menstrual cycle, but it’s also one of the main reasons why you feel so low and sad during your PMS.
Several studies have shown that calcium is pretty effective in regulating estrogen levels. Also, an increased fiber intake helps to flush excess amount of estrogens from your body. It all results in PMS that feels less prominent and overwhelming. And again – it’s something that you can do just by making healthier food choices:
Natural sources of calcium include: leafy veggies, dairy products, soybeans.
Great sources of fiber: fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts.
4) Meditate, Exercise Or Enroll In Yoga Class
Meditation can be very helpful in treating and diminishing PMS mood swings. Meditating regularly can lead to feelings of happiness, self-awareness and diminished stress hormones levels.
As with exercise, it’s nothing new – yoga or any other type of exercise have an extremely beneficial effect on our bodies and one of the greatest benefits is increased serotonin production. Serotonin is extremely important for us to maintain a good mood and it just so happens that women have less serotonin once the PMS kicks in. Therefore it’s recommended to do at least a little exercise during your PMS (and yes, I know that it’s the last thing you want to do), to increase serotonin production naturally.
5) Avoid Specific Foods
If you experience bloating with your PMS, consider avoiding specific foods from your diet. Foods high in calories, salt and sugar may seem extremely tempting right now… But they will only make you feel worse and worsen PMS symptoms like mood swings, headaches, and anxiety. Add a handful of guilt on top and you have a recipe for PMS disaster.
Lack of sleep can worsen PMS symptoms, which is why medical practitioners encourage women to get plenty of sleep when they feel PMS. Also, consider adding more relaxation techniques to your routine. Things like getting a massage, enjoying a warm bubble bath or simply cuddling with your loved one, will lower the tension in your body and make you more likely to fall asleep as soon as you get in the bed.
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Let’s sum this up, shall we?
- PMS is completely normal and is influenced by hormone fluctuations.
- Every woman experiences PMS symptoms differently.
- It’s totally fine to feel less energetic and moody during your PMS.
- With a couple of healthier eating tricks, you can deal with PMS symptoms naturally and lower PMS impact on your day to day activities.
- Relaxation techniques, exercise, and self-care can also help you feel better.
I hope these tips will help you feel better when that time of the month kicks in! Take care.
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