What Works For PMS

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome which are symptoms associated with the women's monthly menstrual cycle. These symptoms vary from individual to individual and can be minor or severe. They usually occur one to two weeks before menstruation and often stop on its own when menstruation begins. If monthly menstruation does not occur, such as in pregnancy or after menopause, then there would be no PMS.

The causes of PMS has to do with the hormone changes in the menstrual cycle. Many times it is caused by hormonal imbalance or vitamin/mineral deficiency. Stress can make symptoms more severe.

Not all remedies will work for all individuals. Below are just some of the many remedies that have been suggested in literature.

Dr. Mark Hyman Gives 5 Steps to Reduce PMS

In the video and article on HuffingtonPost, Dr. Mark Hyman tells of the following lifestyle changes that can restore hormonal balance and hence reduce or eliminate PMS.

1. Stop eating refined sugar and highly processed foods. Eat evenly throughout the day without skipping meals and not within 3 hours of bedtime. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Dairy consumption also may worsen hormone imbalance. Get your fiber. Eat fruits, beans, whole grains, and nuts. Ground flax seeds are good. Get omega-3 from fish and walnuts. Eat organic when possible so as to not take in any environmental estrogens from pesticides.

2. He says that after cleaning up the diet, you can take supplements like calcium, B6, magnesium, and chasteberry. He lists some others in the article.

3. Exercise: 4 to 5 times of aerobic exercise (30 minutes each).

4. He encourages stress reduction.

5. Lastly, he mentions that acupuncture and homeopathy may help.

Exercise

Try exercise. It improves blood circulation which may help with PMS.

Even if one doesn't have PMS, one should be exercising regularly anyway. Exercise has a host of benefits to the body which are too numerous to mention. This is because the human body from an evolutionary standpoint is designed to move. In our primitive hunter-gatherer days, we would walk miles to hunt food and gather berries.

When done correctly to your level, exercise is safe. Even brisk walking counts.  So there is no reason to not give it a try.

The Consumer Guide's 1001 Amazing Home Remedies & Cures also suggest exercise for PMS.

Eat Healthy

According to the Federal Government Source for Women Health Issues, one treatment is to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.[1]

The book Prescription for Drug Alternatives also recommends exercise and similar diet choices to alleviate PMS.


Calcium, B6, and Vitamin D

Some other causes of PMS can be due to low in vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Therefore some of the remedies would include getting more of those vitamins.

WomensHealth.gov list both calcium and vitamin B6 as possible help with PMS.

In the Reader's Digest book Your Health, What Works, What Doesn't, it categorize things into "Works", "Works for Some", and "Don't Bother". It lists both calcium and vitamin B6 under the category "Works".

Calcium level in the blood drops as estrogen levels increases. And many of the symptoms of calcium deficiency is similar to that of PMS.

Calcium can not be absorbed by the body if it is deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is generated by the skin when it is exposed to the UVB rays of the sun. Vitamin D is one supplement that you might want to consider taking. Read article about why you need Vitamin D.

So you may want to add vitamin D as well. 

Magnesium

Magnesium along with B6 helps to metabolize estrogen in the liver.

In the Reader's Digest book Your Health, What Works, What Doesn't, it talks about PMS. Although it says that Vitamin B6 and Calcium may work better, the book puts magnesium as "works for some" saying that ...

"If your major issue with PMS is bloating or cramps, give magnesium a try." [page 316]

WomensHealth.gov also listed magnesium as possible alternative therapy to PMS.[1]

Magnesium has other benefits as well.  Magnesium is a necessary mineral used by body in many processes. Read article about the health benefits of magnesium. It is best to get magnesium from foods rather than supplements. Because one can overdose on magnesium supplements and they can interact negatively with prescription drugs (such as high blood pressure medication, muscle relaxants, water pills, antibiotics, etc).

Chasteberry

The Federal Government Source for Women Health Issues at womenshealth.gov list chasteberry as an alternative therapy, but gives the warning that ...

"Talk with your doctor before taking any of these products. Many have not been proven to work and they may interact with other medicines you are taking."

Chasteberry is a herb that is also known by its more scientific term "Agnus castus".

Dr. Briffa also mentions magnesium and chasteberry on his site ...

"In practice, I have found magnesium of some benefit in treating PMS, but I have not found it any where as effective as the herbal remedy Agnus castus."[2]

It is worth pointing out that Agnus castus (also known as Chasteberry) should not be taken if you are pregnant, breast feeding, taking any birth control pills, or have any type of hormone sensitive condition (such as breast cancer). It may affect hormone levels and also interact with dopamine in the brain. WebMd shows "moderate interactions" with birth control pills, estrogens, mental condition medications, and others. It tells to "be cautious with this combination" but that it is "likely safe" for most people and "possibly unsafe" during pregnancy and breast-feeding.[3]

Note:

Author is not a medical professional.  This is opinion at time of writing and does not constitute medical advice.  Author may receive revenues from the display ads and links within article.  Supplements and herbs may not be suitable for all individuals or individuals with certain conditions.  Check with your doctor for possible interactions to other medicine first.

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