At this point, you’re well acquainted with the symptoms of PMS: perhaps you feel extra tired, have a monumental headache, or your cramps make you want to curl into a ball and hide under the covers. You might feel stressed because you can’t focus, and the slightest provocation can bring on a mood swing. What can you do to feel better?
PMS symptoms are a fact of life for many women — and they don’t necessarily subside as we get older. On the contrary, women may find the symptoms they experience due to PMS actually get worse as they age. This can be particularly true as women reach their late 30s to early 40s, which tends to be the age range when most women will undergo perimenopause—the time leading up to your final period.
The good news, is you aren’t powerless when it comes to combating these symptoms. Lifestyle changes and home remedies can help you deal with PMS.
Home Remedies for PMS
1. 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 PMS symptoms like bloating and moodiness. Exercise also 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 dance class with a friend may be much more mood-lifting than doing jumping jacks by yourself.
2. 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 at least 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.
3. 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.
4. Apply Heat. When PMS-related cramps occur, try applying a heating pad or hot water bottles to the pelvic area. Heat improves blood flow, which may help relieve pain.
5. Elevate Your Legs. Women who experience back pain during PMS should consider lying down and placing pillows under their knees. This can help reduce stress on the lower back.
6. 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. We’ve put together a more comprehensive list of foods to eat and avoid during PMS, if you want more information.
7. 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 SerenolTM, a supplement whose ingredients have been clinically shown to help ease emotional PMS symptoms, as well as some food cravings and water retention.* Always check with your doctor before taking vitamins, herbs or herbal supplements: some of them may conflict with medications you are taking and cause unwanted side effects.
8. Consider 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.