PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome): three letters no woman ever wants to see. Many of us deal with all the tears, mood swings and serious chocolate cravings it brings when it rears its ugly head each month.
It’s what we think of when we realize, “Oh yeah, that’s why I cried over there not being enough ketchup in the fridge last night”. Many of us also use it as a scapegoat, fooling ourselves into taking advantage of it by spending the week wearing the same old sweats, crying endlessly at nothing, all the while sitting there with our spoons deep in a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s.
Just because our period will inevitably come around each month though, doesn’t mean that we have to just sit back and take all the suffering that comes with PMS. From eating carrots to trying herbal supplements, here are four ways to tackle the hardest week of the month.
1. Eat carrots.
It sounds weird, but eating carrots throughout the month does wonders in reducing the symptoms of PMS. To make a catchier phrase: a carrot a day keeps the PMS away. We’ll cheer that!
The reason it works? Raw carrots contain unique fibers that help the body detox as well as a special fiber that connects to the digestive tract. As it flushes itself out of your body, it carries excess estrogen—the kind that creates PMS—with it, thereby reducing symptoms drastically.
Baby carrots don’t count, though. To reap the full benefits, make sure you eat a raw carrot every single day.
2. Try herbal supplements.
A few months ago, my PMS was so bad that I was convinced I had Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a very serious form of PMS that usually appears one or two weeks before the period starts and causes severe feelings of depression and hopelessness and even suicidal thoughts. Because of this, I did lots of research and decided to try out herbal supplements.
I found that chasteberry is one of the best remedies. It’s an herb that has been proven to reduce mood swings, headaches and bloating among other symptoms. I started taking a supplement with chasteberry as one of the main ingredients and, within two months, my PMS completely disappeared. That coupled with exercise, positive thinking and better eating habits made is so that I no longer have to fall prey to my symptoms each month and my loved ones, especially my boyfriend, are much happier not having to deal with my crazy mood swings.
Other supplements to try are Vitamin B6, Calcium, Omega 3 fish oil, magnesium and Vitamin E.
3. Work out.
Back in junior high, you may have used the I-have-cramps excuse to get you out of gym class time and time again, but your teacher was right when they said that working out would actually help.
When you exercise, your body releases what is called “beta-endorphins”, which is quite literally known as “human morphine,” or that high and surge of happiness you get while working out when cortisol, the stress hormone, is reduced in your body. Working out also helps to increase blood circulation, which makes cramps go away. But, as with anything, listen to your body and see a doctor if your cramps are really bad. The last thing you want to do is to run a 10K marathon when your body is telling you to rest.
4. Stress less.
We all know that stress affects the body in a myriad of negative ways, but did you know that by having a lot of stress, your body is only going to make PMS—the time of month that is coming around anyways—that much worse?
Getting control of your stress is important for so many reasons, but hopefully the reduction of PMS will make it that much more important. You can reduce your stress through simple, everyday ways such as starting a workout routine, eating more healthily, writing down your negative thoughts and talking to your loved ones or a therapist about what’s bothering you.
Even when you are in the midst of PMS, try to stay positive. Just know that it’s only for a short amount of time and will be over soon. Stressing over it and other things in your life will only make it worse and prolong its symptoms.
What do you use to reduce the symptoms of PMS each month? Let us know!