Ah, that time of the month—a visit from Aunt Flo. Your monthly bill. Whatever you want to call it, I think we can all agree that it sucks. Bloating, acne, cramps, irritability—how did men get off so easy (a slippery slope we won’t go down today)? While the week (more or less) of your period usually calls for some serious painkillers and anti-bloating pills, we’re not necessarily doing ourselves any favors by pumping our bodies with medication. Believe it or not, there are preventative measures you can take that don’t involve meds, as well as reactive measures that will naturally and holistically send symptoms of PMS packing. Keep scrolling to find out what they are!
Dr. Hyman, founder of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, says that PMS is an unnecessary evil—instead of being something you’re stuck with, Hyman says, it’s brought on by poor habits, environmental toxins, and stress. At the root of the issue (which is then exacerbated by the latter factors) is imbalanced hormones, a problem Hyman says can be solved naturally. The first remedy? Supplements. Chasteberry fruit extract helps balance the hormones released by the pituitary gland that controls your overall hormone function. Hyman says studies with over 5000 women have found the fruit to be effective. Some other helpful supplements include dandelion root (for bloating), wild yam (to regulate your cycle), as well as probiotics to replace healthy bacteria in the gut to normalize estrogen levels. However, speak with your doctor before taking a regular supplement.
While getting your period is stressful enough, tacking on additional outside stress is only elevating the issue. Hyman says relaxing measures like yoga, hot baths, and massages are a good way to balance your hormones. Try a soothing lavender bath at night to ease the day’s tension and put you in a good state of mind for a restful sleep.
According to Hyman, your diet is a huge determinant of your PMS fate. Unhealthy, unclean diets also mess with your hormones, especially foods with refined flour, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, dairy, and caffeine. Instead, increase your fiber intake with more veggies, nuts, fruits, whole grains, etc.; increase your omega-3 intake, eat organic animal products to avoid environmental estrogen; eat evenly throughout the day (don’t skip meals), and eat two tablespoons of flax seeds per day—says Hyman, they’re “especially helpful in correcting constipation and balancing hormones.” Here, here.
Hyman says to aim for aerobic exercise four to five times per week. Finding it hard to squeeze in a workout, especially when you’re on your period? Getting into a good weekly groove, along with the aforementioned tips, will make working out—no matter what time of the month—much easier and as a whole, will make you feel much more energized and healthy. Fitness novice? Start off easy with this 15-minute workout and build your way up to a more intense routine.
What have you found helps alleviate period ailments? Please share with us below!