PMS management: Tips and hints for coping

Published May 8, 2014

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In the lead up to your period, if you suffer from irritability, mood swings, bloating, tiredness, cravings, tender breasts or migraines, you are certainly not alone. These are common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affect around 75% of menstruating women.1 20‐30% of women may experience symptoms that are bad enough to disrupt their normal daily lives.1 While the cause of PMS isn’t conclusively known, you can help manage your symptoms through lifestyle changes, dietary modifications and women’s health supplements.

Tips and hints for PMS relief:

  • Exercise regularly, especially in the lead up to your period as this increases endorphins which may help relieve some of your symptoms. Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from low moods and experience fewer and milder PMS symptoms.2
  • Ensure you get enough sleep.
  • Manage your stress in whatever ways work for you because stress may play a role in the development of PMS.1 Try activities like yoga, meditation, tai chi, walking, deep breathing or gardening.
  • Avoid eating lots of salty foods as they may trigger fluid retention.2
  • Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine, especially a couple of weeks before your period, as they may cause mood changes and affect your energy levels.1,2
  • Avoid smoking, as smokers are twice as likely to experience severe PMS symptoms.1
  • Achieve a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, as women who are overweight are three times more likely to suffer from PMS.1
  • Consume a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and lean sources of protein such as fish, poultry, tofu, beans and lentils. Eating smaller more regular meals may also be helpful.
  • Consider nutritional or herbal support. Vitex Agnus Castus is a herb that helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and may help relieve PMS symptoms including irritability, anxiety, breast tenderness, bloating, cramps and mild fluid retention. Vitamin B6 may help relieve mood swings related to PMS and magnesium may help reduce mild premenstrual fluid retention and decrease the frequency and severity of menstrual migraines.

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