Many of us experience some form of PMS, for some of us it may be slight, others not so much. It’s important to first understand what PMS actually is. An article on Flo gave a very good detailed description of PMS.
Also knows as PMT (although PMT generally refers to the emotional and psychological aspects of PMS), PMS encompasses a wide range of symptoms that occur before menstruation, in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation. The symptoms fall into these general groups:
- PMS-A (for anxiety) characterised by nervous tension, mood swings, irritability, anxiety
- PMS-H (for hypertension) characterised by weight gain, swelling of the extremities, breast tenderness, and abdominal bloating
- PMS-C (for carbohydrate craving) headache, craving for sweets, increasing appetite, heart pounding, fatigue, and dizziness or fainting
- PMS-D (for depression) depression, forgetfulness, crying, confusion and insomnia.
Great options for treatment for PMS include naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, or other natural therapies, as well as diet and lifestyle adjustments can all make a difference.
PMS and PMDD
Have you ever thought about the pain or mood swings you experience before your period may be premenstrual syndrome?
When your periods are about to start, you usually get signs in the form of certain physical and emotional symptoms. For many women, it’s not a big deal. They get some tenderness in breasts or a craving for sweets. But for some of them, the days preceding their periods are difficult.
If the symptoms before period disturb your routine life, you may be suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS symptoms start when you are about to have your periods each month. PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome in which the symptoms are so much debilitating that they interfere with your daily life including work, social interaction, school, and relationships.
What is PMS?
PMS is a combination of physical, behavioural, and emotional symptoms that occur in a woman during the premenstrual phase of her menstrual cycle. According to doctors, about 75% of women in their reproductive years suffer from some signs of PMS. These can be in the form of food cravings, tender breasts, cramps, fatigue, or mood swings.
Emotional symptoms of PMS
- anxiety or tension
- crying spells
- PMS mood swings and anger or irritability
- depressed mood
- food cravings and appetite changes
- insomnia or trouble in falling asleep
- changes in libido
- poor concentration
- social withdrawal (does not want to meet people)
Physical symptoms of PMS
- pain in muscles and joints
- abdominal bloating
- flare-ups of acne
- diarrhea or constipation
- sore and tender breasts
- weight gain due to fluid retention
- pain in abdomen
- swelling in feet and hands
When should you see a doctor?
You should see a doctor if PMS mood swings or other premenstrual symptoms start affecting your daily activities and health. You should also visit a doctor if you are not able to stop PMS symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes.
Premenstrual syndrome causes
Although PMS is a common condition, its exact cause is not known. According to most evidence, PMS occurs due to alterations in the levels of brain chemicals (referred to as neurotransmitters) and sex hormones. A fluctuation in the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is one of the triggers of PMS symptoms. Insufficient amount of serotonin may result in premenstrual symptoms of depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and food cravings.
Some factors aggravate PMS even though they don’t cause it. Premenstrual syndrome symptoms can get worse by the following factors:
- Leading a sedentary life
- Not sleeping enough
- Excessive alcohol drinking
- Eating excessive amount of salt, sugar or red meat
- Getting depressed
- Living under a lot of stress
If you suffer from other health issues such as asthma, allergies and migraine headaches, you may notice that these problems get aggravated before your periods.
How to relieve PMS symptoms?
Lifestyle to prevent heavy PMS
You can reduce or manage your bad PMS symptoms by making certain lifestyle changes. These changes include modifying your diet, exercising regularly, and taking steps to reduce stress in your daily life.
One of the best treatments for PMS is to make some dietary modifications. Although a perfect PMS diet doesn’t exist, you can incorporate certain dietary habits into your routine to ease your premenstrual symptoms. Try the following tips:
- Eat smaller meals more frequently to reduce the sensation of bloating and fullness.
- Limit your intake of salty foods and salt, especially before menses.
- Eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates including whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
- Opt for calcium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables and dairy products. If you are lacking dietary calcium, ask your doctor for a calcium supplement.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
One of the ways for PMS symptoms treatment is to engage in regular exercise for a minimum of half an hour every day. Exercise helps in releasing endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones that affect the perception of pain and mood. You should opt for low impact exercises such as cycling, brisk walking, and swimming. Regular exercise helps in not only improving your overall fitness and health but also alleviating your premenstrual symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and fluid retention.
Record your symptoms
Maintain a record of your symptoms before period. This helps in identifying the triggers and timings of your premenstrual symptoms, which allows you to follow strategies to lessen them.
Reducing your stress levels also helps to relieve premenstrual symptoms. Get adequate amount of sleep. Practice deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation exercises to reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia or headaches. Try massage therapy or yoga to relieve stress and relax.
The symptoms of PMS can be physical and emotional. Based on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe various medicines to relieve your symptoms. You can also manage your PMS symptoms by adopting certain lifestyle changes including making modifications in your diet, doing regular exercise, and reducing your stress levels. You may also consult your doctor and get prescriptions for supplements to help relieve your symptoms.
Useful essential oils
Bergamot, German and Roman Chamomile, carrot seed, clary sage, sweet fennel, geranium, juniper berry, lavender, sweet marjoram, neroli, rose otto and rose absolute, rosemary, ylang ylang
As you can see above PMS can be in many forms and levels of severity, therefore there really isn’t a ‘one’ blend that would suit all people. What is causing you more grief?
If it is fluid retention then incorporating some sweet fennel, juniper berry and geranium in a massage oil in lymphatic drainage massage can minimise this issue. (S., 2003)
Whereas essential oils such as clary sage, sweet fennel, geranium and rose influence the production of hormones and are beneficial for the general treatment of PMS. Bergamot, Roman chamomile and rose may be used to reduce depression and irritability.
Clary sage oil possesses the same energetic property, and , like marjoram, is intrinsically ‘balancing’. One of the most effective of antispasmodics, it works to eradicate tension through dispersing stagnant Qi-energy, Like cypress oil, it is indicated for premenstrual tension.
I would suggest you create a blend of oils into a massage oil and use it for everyday after showering for a few months to see the best results. Remember to write your blend down somewhere, if it helps you want to know what you had in the blend. Remember you want to use about 10 drops of essentials into 25mL of pure base oil.
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