PMS: what helps during the days before your period

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Monk's pepper for aching breasts, St. John's wort for your mood and sports for stomach cramps: common premen­strual symptoms can be alleviated with home remedies.

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS for short) is the term used to describe all the symptoms that occur before your period. These symptoms vary from woman to woman and start between ovulation and the onset of bleeding. To date, more than 150 different symptoms have been identified that cause problems for many women.

These are common PMS symptoms

Many women suffer from headaches, breast or abdominal pain, nausea or dizziness. And the digestive system can go wild too, causing issues from loss of appetite to sudden cravings. Also common are mental dips. Some women report severe mood swings, others sleep badly, are irritable or find it difficult to concentrate during this time.

Most common signs

  • Lack of appetite or sudden cravings
  • Stomach cramps, bloating, constipation
  • Headaches
  • Tender breasts
  • Water retention, especially in the face, legs and hands
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Severe fatigue
  • Mood swings

Helpful home remedies to relieve PMS

The variety of remedies available is as large as the range of PMS symptoms itself. These remedies include some simple and effective approaches to try before resorting to medication.

Soothe stomach aches by drinking tea

Stomach ache can be treated with warmth. A cherry stone pillow, a hot water bottle or even a hot cup of tea are good ways to relax the muscles. A jog or a bike ride also helps to ease the cramps.

Caution: coffee and alcohol constrict the blood vessels, which can make cramps worse.

Diet: eat small portions regularly

Headaches can often be due to strong fluctuations in blood sugar. This means that it’s better to eat several smaller meals a day than a few large ones.

A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular physical activity help relieve PMS symptoms.

Ease breast tenderness with monk's pepper

Quark compresses or other cooling compresses can help ease tender breasts. Monk's pepper, a herb found in herbal remedies and teas, is also thought to have properties that help soothe sensitive breasts. Monk’s pepper tea also balances hormone levels.

Moderate exercise for relaxation

Yoga, walks or a bath are relaxing. A warm St John’s wort tea can also curb depressive moods, anxiety and nervousness.

Vitamin B for a better mood

Particularly for women whose stomach is affected by their period, adapting their diet to the phase of their cycle can help achieve a better balance. In the days leading up to their period, experts advise eating foods that contain vitamin B, a mood-boosting vitamin. Vitamin B is found in pulses, spinach, green leafy vegetables and oats. Also beneficial to the female body are vitamin D, which our bodies absorb from the sun, and calcium and magnesium.

Hormone levels drop – mood plummets

What’s happening in the body? In the third phase of the cycle – the phase during which PMS symptoms appear – the body is preparing for a possible pregnancy. Oestrogen levels drop and the body produces progesterone instead. This is what leads to the all too familiar mood swings.

When to see a doctor?

If you’re suffering from severe symptoms or pain, it's advisable to consult a gynaecologist. The symptoms may be an indication of endometriosis or another disease that needs to be treated.

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