Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is the bane of many a woman's good mood for a few days. This common condition is caused by menstrual-related hormone shifts and manifests in a positive bouquet of symptoms, from painful cramps to severe headaches. In some women symptoms are relatively mild or non-existent, but for others the recurring syndrome can be painful enough to require bed rest. While there is no one single PMS remedy, a wide variety of treatment options exist that can help ease symptoms.
A PMS remedy can begin with lifestyle changes that will help ward off the symptoms month to month. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps reduce the occurrence and severity of PMS symptoms such as cramps. By boosting endorphins, even gentle exercise such as yoga can greatly improve an overall sense of well-being and may soothe both the mind and body. When symptoms strike, take a walk or download a 30 minute yoga routine to give the body an endorphin boost and stretch the muscles before cramps can take hold.
For those that suffer from bloating and tenderness, one PMS remedy involves altering dietary habits for a few days. Increase the amount of potassium and calcium in the diet, while cutting back a bit on salt and sugar. A simple daily multivitamin can help protect against some PMS symptoms by giving the body proper nutrition, while reducing salt intake may help prevent the water retention that causes bloating.
In terms of medication, many women find that the best PMS remedy is a simple pain reliever. Although there are certain over the counter medications formulated especially for PMS, women with relatively mild symptoms may benefit just as much from a basic aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen product. These medications are especially helpful in reducing cramps and may contain additional ingredients that help ease bloating and weight gain as well.
For women with severe, debilitating PMS, doctors may recommend starting birth control medication. This medication regulates the flow of hormones throughout a monthly menstrual cycle and can provide relief from PMS symptoms. Some types of birth control can even help reduce PMS-related acne breakouts, which are also believed to be hormone related. The downside to birth control pills is that they must be taken daily, and in some people cause significant side effects and even weight gain.
Choosing the best PMS remedy will depend largely on the symptoms present and their severity. Some people may take a cocktail of home and medical remedies, while others can get by on healthy exercise or a pain reliever alone. Although it is often seen as frustrating and embarrassing to suffer from PMS in the modern world, it may be enlightening to realize that in other cultures, it is a mark of womanhood and strength. Many cultures feature menstrual lodges, where women gather during PMS and menstruation to talk, indulge in good food, meditate, and share wisdom and stories. Though setting up a menstrual lodge may be a bit far for some woman, try considering this period of discomfort a chance to relax, have permission to indulge, and tune in to the needs and the ancient mysteries of the female body.