3 in 4 women will experience PMS at some point in their lives. For most women of child-bearing age, the symptoms are mild and barely noticeable.
However, some women may experience severe pain and discomfort. The good news is that you can take a supplement for PMS to minimize and manage the symptoms.
What is PMS?
As the name suggests, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collection of physical and emotional symptoms that women may experience a week or two before their monthly period begins.
Experts believe that PMS starts to take hold a few days after ovulation – the phase in the menstrual cycle when the ovaries release an egg – because your estrogen and progesterone levels will start decreasing if you don’t fall pregnant during this time.
PMS symptoms cause discomfort and mild bodily changes, but go away on their own about four days after your period ends as your hormone levels start to normalize.
These symptoms will also cease when you stop getting your period, particularly as you enter menopause.
The level of discomfort varies with each individual. Some women may hardly notice any symptoms and are able to play sports, go to the gym, and do their household chores as normal.
Other women, however, may experience debilitating symptoms, causing them to miss work, school, or gym.
PMS symptoms generally worsen as you go enter your 30s and 40s.
The same is true for women approaching menopause – during perimenopause, or the transition phase to menopause, your hormones may fluctuate in unpredictable ways that can cause your symptoms to worsen.
Likewise, symptoms tend to be more pronounced in women who:
- Experience high stress levels
- Have a personal history of clinical depression and/or post-partum depression
- Have a family history of depression
Less than 5% of women suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of PMS which may require medicine or treatment. If you believe you suffer from PMDD, consult your doctor.
Common PMS symptoms
- Cramps or abdominal pain
- Sore, tender, or swollen breasts
- Pimples or acne
- Food cravings
- Changes in appetite
- Emotional outbursts
- Increased sensitivity to noise or light
- Changes in sleep patterns
There is no test for PMS. Your doctor will make the diagnosis by discussing recurring symptoms, the timing of these symptoms, and the extent to which they affect your day-to-day life.
You likely have PMS if you have recurrent symptoms that:
- Emerge about five days before your period begins
- Persist for three consecutive menstrual cycles
- Disappear within four days after the start of your period
- Prevent you from enjoying or participating in normal activities
Supplements to ease PMS symptoms
Chasteberry. Also known as monk’s pepper, chasteberries are fruits that grow from flowering shrubs in the Mediterranean. Rich in flavonoids, chasteberry has been used to promote women’s health for centuries and is known to have a hormonal effect on those who take it.
More specifically, the flavonoids in chasteberry can influence prolactin, progesterone, and estrogen levels in the body, restoring hormonal balance and reducing the symptoms of PMS.
Chaste Tree contains flavonoids that help promote a healthy menstrual cycle and minimize any discomfort in the days leading up to your period.
Since chasteberry affects progesterone and estrogen levels, women who suffer from hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer are discouraged from taking it. The same goes for women who are breastfeeding.
However, if you are reasonably healthy, you may take chasteberry supplements to ease PMS.
Cramplex. Cramplex contains Corydalis yanhusuo, Raspberry leaf, Wild Yam, Cramp Bark and Ginger to provide antispasmodic support for smooth muscle. These herbs have been traditionally used in herbal preparations to provide antispasmodic activity to ease occasional muscular/smooth muscle spasms, relieve the occasional mild discomfort of menstrual cramps, support healthy bladder and urinary tract smooth muscle, and provide temporary relief of occasional bowel spasm.
Calcium. Studies have shown that women who suffer from PMS also tend to lack sufficient amounts of calcium in their diet. Likewise, a clinical trial from 2017 found that calcium supplementation helps ease common symptoms like fatigue, bloating, anxiety, sadness, and mood swings.
The great thing about calcium supplements is that they’re generally safe for most people to take.
Chaste Tree contains calcium in combination with flavonoids from chasteberry. You can also get calcium from natural food sources like leafy greens, lentils, beans, peas, and seaweed.
Vitamin B6. Several studies have shown this vitamin’s efficacy at easing some of the psychological and emotional symptoms of PMS, such as irritability, moodiness, and anxiety.
Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, and in effect, mood regulation.
Natural sources of Vitamin B6 include avocados, quinoa, and acorn squash.
Magnesium. Some women who suffer from PMS also have low levels of magnesium. A 2010 study found that a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 can help reduce common symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, bloating, and breast tenderness.
Leafy greens, beans, and peas are excellent sources of Vitamin B6.
Gingko biloba. Although this herbal supplement is best known as a memory enhancer, there is some evidence suggesting that it can also reduce PMS. A clinical study conducted in 2007-2008 found that it can ease the severity of physical and psychological symptoms commonly associated with PMS.
For natural and safe remedies for PMS and other women’s health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to WholeBody Solutions here. We take a holistic approach to wellness. You can also contact Dr. Ann Doggett at 617.328.6300 and FrontDesk(at)WholeBodySolutions(dotted)org.