PMS ranks as one of my husband’s least favorite conditions, and he doesn’t even have it. This intense time of mood swings, irritability, cravings, headaches, and bloating haunts me every month, and it’s during this week my beloved spouse tells me he doesn’t “want to get too close to my cage.”
Cheeky little monkey.
Yet there’s no denying I’m a monster every 21 days, give or take, and so it was time to research treatments, preferably all natural ones.
After searching for PMS remedies, this is what I discovered works for me:
Calcium and vitamin D help.
I tried this combination after I read that calcium and vitamin D levels drop during the luteal phase. It took about two months of daily calcium plus vitamin D (which helps calcium absorption) intake to notice a difference, but I felt a substantial decrease in joint pain and PMS headaches. I took the daily recommended allowance of calcium for women my age (44).
Fish oil helps.
Apparently, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce body inflammation, and because my body – and mind – are are so inflamed during PMS week, I decided to give this remedy a try. Lo and behold, the primary side effects I noticed were reduced mood swings and depression. This couldn’t be bad, and so I continue to take two capsules of fish oil a day, but please check with your doctor for the right dosage for you.
Progesterone cream helps.
In my exhaustive personal PMS study, I’d learned that PMS is a time of “estrogen dominance,” and that adding progesterone to your system could help even out the hormonal imbalance causing PMS symptoms. I bought an over-the-counter progesterone cream indicated for PMS and applied it to the inside of my wrists once a day the week before my period. Maybe it’s just me, but I noticed a marked decrease in my irritability and general stress levels.
Limiting caffeine helps.
I didn’t want this one to be true, but for me it was – in spades. I switched to decaf several months ago and my PMS breast tenderness and cramping went down significantly. I haven’t gone back to caffeine since, but that’s a personal decision you might not be prepared to make.
Iron supplements help.
At a recent doctor visit, I learned I had anemia. This diagnosis made a lot of sense given that, in addition to the beauties of PMS, I also suffer from heavy bleeding. My doctor prescribed an iron supplement I took religiously (note: some supplements cause less constipation than others) and that premenstrual extreme exhaustion I’d been feeling? Knocked down quite a bit. I still am very tired right before and after I begin menstruation, but at least I can move somewhat.
Other all-natural PMS treatments I investigated but haven’t personally tried include gamma linoleum acid, which is supposed to reduce inflammation, less alcohol, and dandelion root, rumored to detoxify the liver, the organ responsible for dealing with all that excess estrogen causing PMS in the first place.
Please be aware that what works for me may not work for you, and most importantly, I am not a doctor, so you’ll want to check with yours regarding proper dosage, medication interactions, and any other concerns.
Do you know of any other natural PMS remedies? Tell us about them!
Debbie Anderson is a 44-year-old freelance writer and editor who blogs at her slice-of-life site, www.sandiegomomma.com.