Ladies, we’ve all experienced the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS at one time or another: mood swings, sweet cravings, fatigue, bloating, and breast tenderness, to name a few.
If you thought these unpleasantries were simply a fact of life, you might be surprised to know that these common PMS symptoms may actually be eased by supporting your body’s natural hormonal balance through simple lifestyle changes, such as exercise, good nutrition, and the use of key supplements and herbs.
A New Approach to PMS
I think it’s time for a paradigm shift when it comes to PMS: rather than thinking of it as a “condition,” it should be seen as the body’s way of calling out for help � as if the body is saying, “I’m out of balance; please do something so that I can function optimally.” It’s unfortunate that so many women are prescribed medications to treat PMS symptoms when natural solutions that address the underlying cause of the hormone imbalance are readily available.
1. Diet Makes a Difference
What exactly is the help that your body is asking for? First, it may be expressing the need for a lifestyle shift. Research has found that eating a healthy diet, chock full of nutrients, can help alleviate some PMS symptoms. Data shows that women suffering from PMS ingest far more sugars, carbohydrates, and sodium, and much less magnesium, iron and zinc than women who don’t experience PMS.
2. Less Stress is Best
PMS has also been associated with high stress. Shifting your lifestyle so that you have more time to “stop and smell the roses” can help with your hormonal balance � and also make your life more enjoyable. Whether you prefer to take a relaxing bath, unwind with a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or lose yourself in the latest bestseller, be sure to squeeze a little “you” time into your busy schedule.
3. Exercise = Endorphins
Women often experience profound changes in their PMS symptoms as a result of regular exercise, because it increases circulation, supports detoxification, and promotes mental health through its ability to boost your “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin. In addition, it’s well known that exercise improves your ability to manage stress, and increases energy. According to researchers, working out just 20 minutes three times a week can make a big difference in creating better hormone balance and less PMS.
4. Supplemental Support
PMS symptoms are often associated with imbalances in the hormones that fluctuate throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Supplements that support your body’s natural ability to process estrogen and boost progesterone may help relieve the symptoms. Vitamin B6, for instance, can help decrease some of the bloating symptoms associated with this time of the month because of its effect on estrogen. And the herb chaste tree berry has been found to have a favorable effect on progesterone levels.*PMS doesn’t have to be a part of your monthly experience. Instead, it can be a wake-up call for you to listen – and respond – to what your body is lacking!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.