Natural Ways to Treat Premenstrual Syndrome
By Andrea, Contributing Writer
Do you suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome?
Achy back, bloating, cramping, tender breasts, and headaches are all unpleasant symptoms associated with menstruation.
In our house, there are three menstruating women. Our symptoms, and the severity of these symptoms, varies. This has taught me there is no one good way to treat premenstrual syndrome.
Our approach to naturally treating premenstrual syndrome is two pronged: preventative daily treatment and treatment of symptoms.
Natural Preventative Daily Treatments for Premenstrual Syndrome
Chasteberry – The best daily herbal supplement for easing premenstrual syndrome is to take a daily dose of 240 to 500 mg of chasteberry. This is not a quick fix treatment. It requires taking a daily dose for at least 3 months before full results will be seen. Chasteberry treats symptoms from tender breasts to general anxiety.
Calcium – If your diet is deficient in the mineral calcium, it can exacerbate your premenstrual symptoms. Add a daily supplement of 300 to 600 mg twice a day for 3 months to ease cramping, bloating and insomnia.
Magnesium – Magnesium is another mineral that when deficient in your diet can increase the severity of your premenstrual syndrome. Adding 200 to 600 mg of magnesium to your diet daily should improve symptoms.
Vitamin B – A daily dose of Vitamin B is useful for treating premenstrual emotional lows. Add a daily supplement of 10 to 25 mg vitamin B6 daily. Again, it will be three months before best results are seen.
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Natural Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms
Heat – Use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the lower back or pelvic area for 30 to 60 minutes while symptoms exist. This may be done two to three times per day.
Massage – If it is in your budget, a masseur can can help ease PMS discomfort. A massage can help your body produce serotonin, your body’s natural pain fighter.
Yoga – Yoga, or really any activity that reduces stress such as prayer and meditation, helps reduce stress levels. High levels of stress can add to premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
I’ve done an elimination diet (Whole30), 3 times over the last year, and EVERY time I was on the diet, I had absolutely no PMS symptoms! When I was off and went back to my old habits of eating, my monthly horrible headache, cramps, and mood swings returned. It just amazes me how what we put into our bodies (or what we don’t get enough of) can affect us so much!
Acupuncture!! Back in 2009, I went to an acupuncturist that specializes in fertility issues and other women’s issues such as PCOS. She is also a certified Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. Anyhow, I began my period about two weeks after my first session and taking the herbal teas. I was dumbfounded that my cramps were minimal. I usually took four ibuprofen (prescription strength) every four hours round the clock for the first two days. Since then my cramps totally disappeared and that was over four years ago. The herbal teas were for a short duration, so I think it was more an effect of the acupuncture. I haven’t done acupuncture since my last pregnancy almost a year ago. My periods returned 3.5 months post-partum; early like with my first, but no more cramps. I want to shout to all women to go this route and stop the pain. You don’t have to live with the pain. Of course, for some that don’t live in a big city, finding an acupuncturist that specializes in women’s issues may not be easy. The other caveat is that it’s not cheap, but it was worth it!
I realize that menstrual cramps are just a part of this discussion, but I would like to offer that I have been cramp-free (and I had horrible, my-back-hurts-and-stomach-feels-sick-too, cramps) since ditching commercial disposable pads. I now use cloth or chlorine& plastic free brands (7th generation or Naty- cheapest online). There is also something called a diva cup for tampon fans. An easy experiment for any who want to try…
My 18 year has long, hard periods. At least seven heavy days……..any suggestions other than chaste berry, which I have never heard of.
WATER! I have a 16 oz glass water bottle that goes with me almost everywhere, and if I’m drinking at least four of those a day, I don’t experience PMS or period symptoms. I use a small daily dab of progesterone cream the week before and the week of my period as well. Zinc is another important nutrient; it’s extremely good for your reproductive organs. To anyone who experiences heavy bleeding, I would highly recommend ditching the disposables. There are chemicals in the commercial pads and tampons that cause you to bleed heavier so you will (of course) buy more sanitary products. Try organic, unbleached cotton products or cloth pads instead.
My issue is sleeplessness! The week before my period I can’t sleep, which affects everything else during the day. I was using magnesium but starting experiencing the diarrhea that can go along with taking it. Any thoughts? I use OTC sleep aids, but I really hate doing that.
There is so much good info here that I didn’t know about. When I was a teen and well into my 20’s I would get horrible cramps and also vomiting. I was told it would stop “in time” whatever that meant. At that time I ate a lot of salty foods (ham, bacon, etc.) I learned that salt adds to bloating and in turn adds to cramps. I reduced and eventually eliminated these foods from my diet and the cramps and my periods became pain free or at worst a little painful at times. I believe removing or at least reducing processed foods and eating more veggies, fruits and natural foods (unprocessed), drinking more water and regular exercise is also important not only for painful periods but overall health.
I used to have PMS pretty badly each month with crabbiness, moodiness, depression, cramping, etc. I found that using evening primrose oil and borage oil worked wonderfully leading up to menstruation. As long as I kept track of my cycles, I was able to start taking it about a week or two before my period was due and had pretty much no symptoms. I now take them to generally help with my hormone levels, as I head further into perimenopause ;o) They are both excellent sources of GLA (gamma linolenic acid).
Progesterone cream cleared up my severe pms totally. All my life I had irregular periods and severe pms symptoms. Within several months it all cleared up. Started with it at about 35 y/o. Wish to high heaven some one would have told me about it sooner. It would have saved me alot of suffering. Dr. Barbara Hoffman is who I purchase it from. She is a sweet and dear naturopath that’s on Daystar Christian TV regularly. She counsels people regarding balancing hormones free of charge over the phone. Menopause and PMS issues. No side affects, totally plant based, it works, Thanks be to the Father, from whom every good gift comes. Her products are a good gift.http://www.bhnformulas.com/prohelp-moisture-treatment-creme.html
I suffer from endometriosis so that time of the month is pretty rough. I find the best way to manage it is with a healthy diet and exercise.