PMS... What the heck is it?
A painful period can make you want to curl into a ball and well, not exist. It's super common for women and people who menstruate to feel discomfort during or around their cycle, this is called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). PMS is a group of physical and emotional symptoms such as abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, changes in appetite, fatigue, depression, and anxiety in the week or two leading up to and during your cycle. Continue reading to learn about a few low-cost/homemade remedies, tips and tricks.
Applying heat to your abdominal area or lower back can be just as effective as ibuprofen for easing period pains.
Heating pads are available for purchase on many online stores such as Amazon, however, they can be expensive. If you don't own a heating pad a few alternatives include a hot water bottle, a warm towel, a bath or our DIY heating pad...
Fabric (cotton works best)
Long grain rice or other fillings
Sewing machine or kit
Scissors and a ruler
Pins, thread, needle and a funnel
Cut the fabric to any desired size and then double the length
Fold the fabric in hand with the right sides together
Using a sewing machine or sewing kit, sew together all sides but make sure to leave a 2 inch opening for the filling.
Turn the fabric inside out and iron the seams
Use a funnel to pour the rice or desired filling into the pack.
Stitch the opening closed with a needle and thread
Adding herbs into your diet can be beneficial to women who experience muscle contractions and other pains surrounding the menstrual cycle, as many herbs contain antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Chamomile Drinking a cup of chamomile tea a day the week before your period can increase the urinary level of glycine, this can help ease muscle spasms and act as a nerve relaxant.
Ginger Adding grated ginger into warm water or tea can act as a pain reliever. A small amount of ginger each day, 5 days before your cycle begins helps with the pain, and it can be as effective as ibuprofen.
Chasteberry One of the most commonly used supplements for female reproductive health. It's particularly helpful for physical symptoms, including bloating, breast pain, and headache.
Dill Try 1,000 mg for five days, two days before your cycle. Dill is as effective for easing menstrual cramps as mefenamic acid, an OTC drug for menstrual pain.
Apart from boosting metabolism and helping melt fat, regular yoga practice for a few minutes every day has been known to help alleviate, and even prevent PMS symptoms. Yoga can have a positive effect on a woman's mental/psychical well-being during and around the menstrual cycle but how? First, it releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood-elevating compounds. Secondly, it calms the central nervous system and increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the reproductive organs. Third, it eases stress and encourages deep relaxation, which further mutes the symptoms of PMS.
Yoga Poses to Try
Standing Forward Bend
To learn more about the benefits of yoga on the menstrual cycle, visit TIME Magazine
Or try this Youtube video...
Food & Drink
Eating and drinking the right foods is critical to managing PMS. Your food choice may not help reduce the pain however avoiding certain foods can help you avoid bloating, discomfort and water retention.
Things to Avoid
Salty foods increase bloating. Foods high in sugar may cause drastic blood sugar fluctuations, which may worsen fatigue and mood swings. Meat and high-fat foods increase prostaglandin levels, which could increase the severity of menstrual cramps.
Things that Help
Small Frequent Meals
Fruits & Vegetables
High Protein Food
Staying Hydrated can reduce the amount of pain you experience during your period, you are more likely to feel abdominal pain when dehydrated. Also, drinking hot water can increase blood flow throughout your body and relax your muscles.
It’s hard enough for people to function without sleep when they’re healthy. If you suffer from PMS and can't sleep, it’s almost impossible to get through the day successfully. Most women say that their menstrual cycle affects their sleep in some way. If this sounds like you, there are some things you can do to help.
Go to bed at the same time each night.
Don’t take long naps during the day.
Only use your bedroom for sex and sleep.
Avoid TV and computer screens before bedtime.
Keep your bedroom at a comfortably cool temperature.
Do something relaxing before bedtime such as reading or taking a warm bath.
Avoid caffeine a few hours before bed.
Get To Know The Author...
Tara O'Doherty is the Co-Founder and CEO of voxie. Tara is a global award-winning strategist, marketer, designer, author, speaker and educator who lives in Toronto, Canada with her two fat dogs. She is best known for her SickKids VS digital work which resulted in numerous global awards and helped secure over 700 million dollars in donations for the hospital. She is also the former co-Founder and CPO of JADEO and ex-VP of Experience Strategy at Cossette Communications.