And even though there’s no real “cure” for PMS, many treatments and lifestyle changes are available to help you cut down on the discomfort.
Some of them are:
1. Improve your diet: A salt-heavy diet can cause bloating, caffeine can aggravate irritability or anxiety, alcohol may worsen depression, and too much sugar can destabilize your blood sugar and mood. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains the week before your period.
2. Limit Caffeine: Some research suggests that the effects of caffeine are magnified premenstrually, leading to greater breast tenderness, more nervousness, and potentially more irritability. Instead of coffee, tea, or caffeinated soft drinks, try herbal teas and other decaffeinated beverages while experiencing symptoms of PMS.
3. Stop Smoking: If you need a reason to avoid cigarettes, here it is: A study of 10 years of health data from more than 3,000 women showed that those who smoked were more than twice as likely to develop moderate or severe PMS symptoms than those who never smoked. Although the exact reasons behind this finding are not clear, avoiding smoking or quitting smoking could improve or even prevent PMS.
4. Exercise: Mild forms of exercise can alleviate several gnarly PMS symptoms. Working out not only releases pain-busting endorphins but also triggers dopamine (your natural source of pleasure and satisfaction) and serotonin (a depression and anxiety fighter). And doing hip and back stretches can increase blood flow to contracted uterine, abdominal, and lower-back muscles, easing the tension that leads to cramps.
5. Get Enough Sleep: Hormonal shifts can make some women lose sleep, which in turn may make them irritable. It is generally important to get enough sleep to level out moods. Premenstrually, sleep becomes crucial. Try your best to get seven to nine solid hours of sleep per night. Many women even feel the need to nap during the premenstrual week — if you can manage a quick few minutes of sleep in the middle of the day, indulge. It may make the difference between a good day, and a day of snapping and tears.
6. Focus on your stress: Make a conscious effort to reduce your stress level. You can try deep breathing, massage, meditation, or yoga, which can soothe the mind and body. But skip the meditation if you know your best stress buster is a girls’ night out or writing in your journal. Find what works for you and stick with it.
If you suffer from cramps and bloating, headaches, mood swings, and other uncomfortable PMS symptoms each month, give these tips a try.