If you’re anything like me, around a certain time of the month, I just don’t feel like myself. Aches and pains don’t begin to cover how painful, annoying and emotional PMS can be, and this is true for a lot of women (to a point that they’ve given painful period cramps their own name- dysmenorrhea!).
The women in my family are no strangers to fainting from period pains, or from complete mental breakdowns over something spilled-milk-esque (or even, literally, spilled milk!), and often this tumultuous time leaves me feeling very helpless. I had tried turning to the health center at my school, only to be pointed to birth control pills that landed me in a heap of anxiety and depression immediately following my sophomore year of college.
While it’s fantastic that birth control pills and extreme hormone controls work wonders for some women, I quickly learned that I had to turn to some more natural methods for dealing with my periods. Oddly enough, it was that journey to find natural remedies to help me feel better that started me on my all-natural health and beauty routines to begin with!
So, here are my words of wisdom on the issue that started all this: PMS.
While I found that hard-core birth control pills were too much for my system, hormone regulators and aids can be very helpful when dealing with period symptoms. They can not only relieve pain, they can help curb mood swings and make bleeding much lighter overall.
There are also lots of great options for supplements you can take that specifically work to regulate hormones during that-time-of-the-month to help you feel more balanced and relaxed. Brands like Nutramedix and New Chapter both have lots of natural hormone balance supplements that can make PMS symptoms far more tolerable, and without changing up your lifestyle or eating habits for an entire week every month.
I’m sure you’ve read it as many times as I have: exercising makes your period symptoms more tolerable. This is totally true, however it can be very challenging to remind yourself of this when you’re in the middle of dealing with the physical and emotional roller coaster that is PMS. So, if you also find it hard to motivate yourself to get to the gym during this time, don’t worry, you have options!
Stretching is one that I find seriously helps me relieve tension and relax my muscles, and not only while I’m PMS-ing. Stretching a little every morning, but especially during your period, can help relax your body and stop the cramps from coming on so strong so quickly.
Another interesting method for physically relieving period symptoms, I’ve found, is rubbing your abdomen in a clockwise direction, right over where the cramps usually kick in. This method is often used to relieve abdominal pain that comes from the stomach and not the uterus, however it can help reduce bloating, which in my opinion is always a plus! This little trick along with a heating pad on your back is truly an unstoppable combination, and can make you feel much more ready to take on the day in the midst of PMS.
Food and Drink Aids
Finally, if there are a few things you can work in amongst the salty-foods and chocolate cravings, I would recommend raspberry leaf tea and almonds. And as a side note before we get into that, let yourself indulge in the cravings! Dark chocolate is something that has actually been found to help ease period pains, and the salty foods can help make up for the amount of iron you’re loosing during blood loss while you’re on your period. Our bodies crave things for a reason, so don’t be afraid to listen to your body when it lets you know what it needs.
Alright back to helpful foods. Raspberry tea has been my true savior in my PMS/period pains journey, and Traditional Medicinals actually makes a raspberry leaf tea called Healthy Cycle, which makes it super easy to identify at the grocery store. Red raspberry leaf tea is such a life saver because it actually boosts your immune system and slows down blood flow, which can make your periods feel lighter and ease cramps at the same time!
Almonds are another food I turn to frequently for period relief. They are packed with magnesium, which can help regulate serotonin receptors and help lift your mood! Plus they can satisfy that need for salt that tends to accompany PMS. Also… you can cover them in chocolate. And I’m going to end my article at that! 🙂