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Natural Cures and Home Remedies for Premenstrual Syndrome

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Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS, as it is commonly called, refers to a diverse range of symptoms that occur preceeding the menstrual cycle. It is actually a condition of hormonal imbalance, which leads to discomfort in the form of tender breasts, muscle cramps, bloating and more. Most of these symptoms are a normal part of the premenstrual symptoms. When these symptoms disrupt your daily life, at work or in your relationships elsewhere, it is called PMS. It occurs between ovulation and the start of the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms

All women do not have the same symptoms. Every woman has her own set of symptoms. The periodicity of occurence makes it a syndrome. The symptoms of PMS can be physical or emotional. The physical symptoms could be

Most women go through emotional and behaviourial symptoms which they find most distressing. These include





When these symptoms are very severe, one is said to have PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). Women with PMDD report the following symptoms. Not all women have severe symptoms. It is said that chronic changes in the brain chemical called serotonin, may be the cause of PMDD. Certain brain cells that use serotonin are involved in controlling mood, attention, sleep and pain. The symptoms usually start a week before the period and go away when the menstrual bleeding starts. The symptoms of PMDD include

Causes of PMS

PMS is linked to normal changes in the endocrine system that starts with ovulation, lasting up to the first days of the menstrual periods. It is said that while the hypothalamus, pitutary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal gland and ovaries work together to produce an egg, they send out chemical signals to one another and rest of the body. These signals are in the form of hormones and brain chemicals, and they have the ability to affect your mood, energy levels and pain perceptions. If one part of the endocrine system is not working properly, the rest of the system is affected, causing various combinations of symptoms.

Treating PMS naturally

The solution to PMS maybe simple, using a natural approach. Dietary changes and exercises can go a long way in alleviating these symptoms. A high sodium diet can worsen fluid retention, bloating and breast tenderness. Caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, colas can intensify anxiety, irritability and mood swings. Avoiding alcohol and smoking helps. Alcohol depletes the body's store of B vitamins and minerals. It also disrupts the liver's ability to metabolise hormones which can lead to higher than normal estrogen levels. Cut down on salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Include a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, raw seeds, nuts, fish and whole grains. It has been found that certain vitamins and minerals help in balancing those hormones which lead to these symptoms. These include Folic acid, Calcium with vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

Magnesium

Calcium and Magnesium can help relieve PMS symptoms like pain and anxiety. A processed diet with high sugar intake is often to blame for the lack of magnesium, as it is stripped from grains in the refining process. Magnesium is considered to work along with B6 to relieve PMS. Food rich in magnesium are pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard and soya beans.

B6

Several studies show that the B6 vitamin is extremely useful in managing instability, depression, fluid retention, breast tenderness and other premenstrual symptoms. Both, B6 and Calcium affect the hormone-producing endocrine system. B6 has also been noted to be useful in fighting the acne flare that may come before the period. Very good sources of B6 are spinach, tuna, cauliflower, mustard greens, asparagus and broccoli and kidney beans.

Regular exercise

Exercise is a great stress reliever and increasing the pelvic circulation can help to rid the body of some of the bloating associated with PMS. Aerobic exercises atleast 20 to 30 mins, thrice a week will help. Exercise helps reduce depression, tension, pain and mood swings.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E, it is said may help to ease the symptoms of PMS by reducing the production of prostaglandins, a hormone like substance that causes cramps. Vitamin E may be helpful for alleviating menstrual cramps and decreasing blood loss during menstruation. Foods high in vitamin E are almonds, raw seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Home remedies for PMS

Before considering herbs to treat PMS, certain dietary changes have to be made as discussed above. It is said that many women find relief simply by eating a high complex-carbohydrate, low fat diet, eliminating sugar and caffeine, and by exercising regularly. Some of the herbs that are really helpful in alleviating the PMS symptoms are chaste berry and Evening Primrose oil.

Chaste berry (Vitex Angus castus)

Chasteberry health benefits and home remedies for PMS
Chasteberry

Originally used by a group of nuns in Europe, the berry from the chaste tree has become very important in treating the hormonal and reproductive problems of women. It is said to exhibit activities that relieve the symptoms and regulates glandular functions in the long term. It is said to help your body increase its own progesterone through pitutary support. Elevated prolactin is associated with amenorrhoea as well as PMS. Chaste berry inhibits prolactin. It is also a sedative and anti-spasmodic. There are many studies that confirm that chaste berry produces PMS relief. It is also good for lactation and menopausal symptoms. Chaste berry can be had in the form of tincture or tea.

Evening Primrose oil (Oenothera biennis)

Evening Primrose health benefits and home remedies for PMS
Evening promrose

Native to North America, the herb has flowers that bloom in the evening. Evening Primorose oil (EPO) contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is an essential fatty acid. GLA seems to be converted into molecules that seem to counteract biochemical changes in the body that might underlie PMS. Folk medicinal uses include conditions affecting women's health such as breast pain associated with PMS. GLA supplements are also useful for depression, which is a symptom of PMS. It is available in the form of capsules.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Black cohosh health benefits and home remedies for PMS
Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh was first used by native Americans. It is a herb that helps treat PMS and menopause symptoms. The antispasmodic properties of the root are used to alleviate menstrual discomfort and painful cramps. The phytoestrogens contained in Black Cohosh is said to ease PMS. The root of this plant fights excess water retention by acting as a diuretic. It treats symptoms such as depression in PMS. Back Cohosh seems to have effects similar to the female hormone estrogen. Some chemicals in the root might work similar to another chemical in the brain called serotonin. It can be had in the form of a tea, made from steeping the root in boiling water.

Black Cohosh should be used only for short amount of time. Long term use is not advised and it should be taken only with guidance from a doctor.