Help is on the way: How to manage PMS and period pain

Bloating. Breakouts. Cramps. Back aches. Mood swings. They all suck. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to make PMS and period pain suck less.

  • Practice yoga. This natural approach can calm you down and soothe aches. The Art of Living and Chatelaine demonstrate a bunch of moves that can help, while Yoga Journal lists poses that address PMS-related depression, headaches, anxiety, cramps, fatigue, and more.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarettes more than double the odds that you’ll develop moderate to severe PMS.
  • Try calcium. A daily dose of 1,200 milligrams of calcium—from food sources or supplements—can alleviate PMS symptoms for some women.
  • Look into supplements. Omega-3s and linoleic acid have been known to reduce irritability and pain. 200 milligrams of magnesium a day can ease bloating. 100 milligrams per day of B-6 can boost a bummer mood. And 400 IUs of vitamin E can minimize a variety of PMS symptoms.
  • Look into herbs. From Chinese medicinal herbs like dong quai to Native American plants like black cohosh, there are a number of natural herbal options that may help treat PMS.
  • Consider hormonal birth control. There are lots of methods that make periods lighter and less painful. Some can even make periods go away for months or years at a time. (BTW, it’s totally safe to skip periods.)
  • Sip tea. According to Ayurveda, drinking warm ginger tea can dilate blood vessels, which helps your period flow better with less cramping. Here are more natural remedies specifically for cramps.
  • Get acupuncture. A study found that, for 78% of women who used it, acupuncture soothed PMS symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and more.
  • Do cardio. Vigorous movement releases endorphins, which will make you feel better mentally and physically. Plus the increased blood circulation around the pelvic region can flush out some of the extra fluid that your body holds onto during PMS.
  • Have some foot reflexology. Women who had this type of pressure point massage experienced a 46% reduction in PMS symptoms. And it relaxes the whole body, which is great whether you have PMS or not.
  • Go to bed. Sleep helps regulate hormones. If you’re feeling tired, don’t fight it. Rest is good for PMS.
  • Cut out the booze, caffeine, and sugar. Wait, what? Yeah, we crave those too when we have PMS, but they make it worse. Bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman explains why.

85% of women experience PMS, so if something has worked for you, please share it in the comments. Your tip could help a lot of us (and rack up some good karma).

One more thing: Before you try any of these, it’s always good to talk with your preferred healthcare provider first. Together you can find the ideal solution for your body and menstrual cycle.


P.S. What do you say we really address the myths about pulling out, because it happens and it’s better to know how to deal.

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