Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS is a common symptom experienced by most women. Some women experience these symptoms 15 days before their periods, and some might experience it a week before too. As many as 90% of women suffer from a combination of symptoms. The severity of this varies from mild to very high. Some women experience severe symptoms that can affect their daily routine. Read below to learn about PMS and how using supplements can help in relieving the symptoms.
What is PMS?
PMS is a condition that most women get before the start of menstruation. The symptoms can be physical or emotional or a combination of both. As per research, it starts after ovulation and happens as the level of female hormones fall during that phase. Progesterone and estrogen are the most important female hormones and when the level decreases, it leads to many changes. The symptoms start to reduce as the hormone levels increases once menstruation starts.
The severity of the symptoms may vary and not all women have the same set of symptoms. Some women do not experience any symptoms before their periods while for others it can be severe affecting their everyday activities. PMS lasts until women get past menopause. While there is no PMS during pregnancy, it comes back after the menstruation resumes with different symptoms.
Who gets PMS? Does it change with age?
PMS symptoms are mild for most women and approximately three out of four women get it at some time in their life. The chances of PMS is most likely in women who:
- Lead a stressful life
- Have a history of depression or postpartum depression
- Someone in the family with a history of depression
It is to be noted that the symptoms of PMS get worse with age. As the women’s age increases and the hormone levels start to fluctuate in the body. Women in the late 30s and 40s of age are more prone to PMS as they approach menopause. They also experience PMS if they are in the state of perimenopause, which is a period before the actual menopause. PMS stops once they stop getting monthly periods.
What are the Causes of PMS?
There is still no concrete evidence as to why some women experience PMS. It is believed that it is caused due to the chemical changes in the body around the time period starts. A few conditions that can make PMS worse are:
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of physical activity
- Smoking and consuming too much alcohol
- Stress and depression
- Consuming too much sugar and salt or red meat
Women who have health issues find that problems like allergies, headaches, asthma, and migraine get worse before their period.
Symptoms of PMS
PMS starts a few days or 2 weeks before the periods and goes away after the period starts. Some of the physiological and physical symptoms that PMS causes are:
- Mood swings
- Stomach and/or back cramps
- Digestive problems
- Tenderness in the breast
A percentage of women get a severe form of PMS called a premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. When that happens, the symptoms are very intense and the person is unable to perform everyday activities.
How to get relief from PMS symptoms?
PMS is not a condition that can be fixed permanently but can be managed effectively through a lot of ways. Some of the things that can be done to feel better are:
- Eat healthy and wholesome food like grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Daily exercise for about 30 minutes
- Consume calcium-rich foods
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Avoid salt and sugar
- Getting enough sleep
If the pain gets in the way of your daily work, it is always better to consult a physician, who can guide you. However, there are over the counter medicines as well that can help manage PMS. But ensure that proper dosage is taken if you are planning to consume over the counter medications.
Supplements for PMS symptoms
Traditionally, the treatment options for PMS and PMDD have been oral contraceptives and pain relievers. However, these can have side-effects, in the long run. There are many natural supplements that can help in providing relief from the various PMS symptoms. While some of them are listed below, you can also refer to https://www.patchmd.com/pms-supplements-for-pms-symptoms.html, for a more comprehensive guide. Natural supplements have no side effects hence are a good choice. Ensure that the supplements you use have the right quantity of nutrients to get maximum benefits. Here are some of the natural supplements for PMS and their safe usage.
It is an essential nutrient for the body and helps to strengthen the bone. There is more to it than just that, as per research it also aids in bringing relief to some of the PMS symptoms. Women who consume up to 500 mg of calcium, twice a day are less likely to feel fatigued and depression than women who don’t consume it. As per study when calcium and Vitamin D are present in the right quantity in the body, the chance of getting PMS is less. The recommended daily dosage of calcium for women per day is 1200 mg from food or through supplements.
How to take: Calcium supplements are safe to take for most people and for some it may cause constipation when taken in higher doses. If you are taking antibiotics or other medications take the supplements at a different time than those medicines. Start with 500mg of supplements per day and later increase it to the recommended 1200 mg.
It is a supplement that is commonly used for female reproductive health. Several studies have confirmed the usefulness of this supplement for women with PMS. It is mainly helpful to reduce symptoms like headaches, pain, bloating, breast tenderness and pain. When taken along with fluoxetine it aids in treating psychological symptoms like mood swings too.
How to take: Read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the guidelines mentioned in it. If you are taking any antipsychotic medications or oral contraceptives, talk to your doctor first.
Taking magnesium supplements can provide relief from symptoms like bloating and breast tenderness. A study conducted on 200 women found that those who consumed 200 mg of magnesium had less fluid retention in their bodies.
How to take: The daily-recommended dose of magnesium is 200 to 250 mg for an adult and is dependent on the age. Follow the supplement manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and other directions. You may need to take these supplements at a different time of the day if you are using antibiotics, diuretics, etc.
This micronutrient is essential for the production of neurotransmitters that play a major role in controlling mood. It is found in many foods like starchy vegetables like potatoes, chickpeas, salmon, tuna and other organ meats. Studies show that taking Vitamin B-6 as a supplement daily can help in relief from many psychological symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and irritability.
How to take: It is a water-soluble nutrient and hence it has to be taken daily. It can be taken through diet or if that is not enough, supplements can be taken. Talk to your doctor before taking these supplements if you are taking anti-seizure medications.
There are certain fatty acids like the gamma-linoleic acid and the alpha-linoleic acid. These can help in some PMS symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties. They also help in preventing depression and abnormalities in organs. A study found that 2gms of essential acids with vitamin E showed improvement in PMS symptoms. It is also found in evening primrose oil which is traditionally used to treat PMS. Consuming 1gm of this oil every day for a period of 6 months helps reduce PMS symptoms.
St John’s Wort
It is considered as an herbal alternative to antidepressant medications. It boosts the serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters that affect the mood. This herb is not just useful to treat depression but also effective in treating PMS. A study conducted on this herb found that it helps in relieving anxiety and depression and also improves many physical symptoms caused during PMS.
How to take: The dosage depends on the manufacturer and hence it is best to follow the guidelines. Apply sunscreen before going out as the skin becomes sensitive after taking this supplement.
Is an herbal supplement that is useful to improve memory. But there is evidence to show that it is effective on many PMS symptoms. A study said that women who took 40mg of this tablet thrice a day had reduced physical and psychological symptoms.
How to take: Start with a low dose for about 10 to 14 days from the mid-cycle of your period until a day or two after the period starts.
For many women, PMS is a monthly ordeal that is frustrating. There are several supplements that can help bring relief from physical and psychological symptoms. Bear in mind that though they do not show immediate results they are effective with time. They have no side-effects and hence better in the long run. Many women also find relief with a combination of things like exercise and supplements. So, try out various things to find out what gives you relief.