by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Natural relief for PMS symptoms: the Women to Women approach
Several women tell me that they’ve always assumed that premenstrual
syndrome (PMS) was just a part of life they had to live with and they
couldn’t do anything about it—and they were never told otherwise. Jenny,
one of the women that I’ve seen, is a good example. At her annual
check-up, the practitioner she used to see would simply say, “You work too
much,” when she asked about her monthly mood swings related to PMS.
She didn’t get many solutions.
However, after Jenny and I talked, and we reviewed her lifestyle and her
nutrition, she began to see the connection between her diet and stress.
She started out making small changes. She eliminated soda from her daily
routine (drinking water instead); she added multivitamins with minerals to
take every day; and she started exercising for 10 minutes and stretching.
She certainly isn’t stress-free, yet, but she’s coping much better. She
began to see so much improvement that she began to commit to much
more in the way of dietary and lifestyle changes.
I know that each one of you has the ability to start making these kinds of
beneficial changes today! Women have the most success with reducing
their PMS symptoms when they make changes to eat a more healthy diet
and make lifestyle changes that become patterns throughout the month—
not just when they have PMS symptoms. Here are a few ideas that I have
seen to be most effective:
Try simple dietary changes. The choices you make in the food you eat
makes a great contribution toward balancing your hormones during PMS.
This helps stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels. You can start by
eating healthy regular meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar steady
and fend off cravings. Making sure that you get protein at every meal and
decrease the carbohydrate load. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and sugar-rich items. This will promote more balanced blood sugar levels and you will have fewer emotional swings.
Support yourself with lifestyle changes. It is essential that you take care
of yourself. This will help prevent and relieve PMS symptoms, and reduce
your stress level, which is probably the biggest concern. Begin to practice
meditation or yoga, and start a routine exercise regimen to calm your
nervous system (especially premenstrual). I’m a big Pilate’s advocate—but
you can choose whatever appeals to you to clear your head, get your heart
pumping, and focus on your breathing. There are many options and you
can choose to join a class of other women, or do this in the privacy of your
Make sure your body gets enough nutrients. Many of us are trying to eat healthier, and that’s a good thing! However, sometimes it’s difficult to get all of the nutrients that we need in the right amounts. Medical-grade, also known as pharmaceutical grade, nutritional supplements ensure that your body will get the specific nutrition that it needs—at the exact time it needs it. This is really important when your hormones fluctuate during the month.
Consider herbal support. There are natural herbal remedies that can
reduce and prevent your PMS symptoms. Read more about the use of
herbs in our articles about herbal treatments for PMS.