Natalie Falk
Written by Natalie Falk

Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan

4 Ways to Alleviate the Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome

Are symptoms of premenstrual syndrome affecting your everyday? Relieve yourself with these home remedies.

Woman wearing a straw hat holding a self-drawn calendar in front of her face

Most women would say that they suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), affecting emotions, physical health, and behaviours. Most common PMS symptoms range from bloating, headaches, and moodiness. For some, the symptoms are so severe that they miss school or work. 

PMS commonly affects women in their late 20’s to early 40’s. Typically, the condition can last for a maximum of 3 days. In rare cases, the symptoms of PMS can last for up to ten days.

However, PMS symptoms that persist for more than ten days should be checked promptly to prevent the occurrence of the premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is more debilitating than PMS. Here are a few notable symptoms of PMS and 4 ways to alleviate symptom severity.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome

Woman doing a star jump happily in the middle of an empty road
Taking steps to treat obesity can prevent the symptoms of PMS from becoming more severe.

To date, more than 200 physical and psychological symptoms have been associated with the occurrence of PMS. Health problems like stress and obesity can also worsen the severity of PMS symptoms.

Acne

An acne flare-up usually occurs around 7 to 10 days before the start of a period. It is caused by a combination of reduced estrogen and progesterone levels and unchanged levels of testosterone in a woman’s body. 

This imbalance in hormone levels will stimulate the sebaceous glands and cause them to excrete more sebum. In turn, this activity in the sebaceous glands will encourage the breeding of Cutibacterium acnes — the bacteria that causes acne. Consequently, this will trigger an immune system reaction and cause pimples to develop on your face.

Headaches

Premenstrual headaches are usually accompanied by several other physical symptoms like acne, constipation, fatigue, joint pain, less frequent urination, and a lack of coordination. This type of headache can also increase your appetite and induce a craving for chocolate and salty food or alcoholic beverages.

Sleep disorders

Women with PMS are twice as likely to struggle with insomnia. Not getting enough sleep can cause fatigue and drowsiness in the days leading up to menstruation. It can also lead to increased sleepiness during the day. 

Interestingly, PMS can also cause some women to sleep too much. This condition is also known as hypersomnia and is accompanied by noticeable anxiety traits, depression, and higher stress levels.

Swollen breasts

This symptom can be characterised by breasts that feel bumpy and dense when fingers are rubbed over them. It is usually present in the outer area of the breast near the armpit. You may also experience a feeling of breast fullness as well as tenderness and dull and heavy pain.

How to Reduce the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms

A woman getting a back massage as she lies on a white sheet
Getting regular body massages can help to lower stress levels and, in turn, reduce the severity of PMS symptoms.

The practice of healthy lifestyle habits can provide relief for mild to moderate PMS symptoms. However, if these symptoms are impairing your quality of life and performance of daily activities, it is recommended for you to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

1. Consuming traditional Chinese remedies

The first step you can take is using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM believes that PMS is a result of stagnation liver qi and deficiency of kidney yang. Therefore, the focus of treatment with TCM is to address the root cause of different symptoms. 

Consuming a Chinese herbal remedy formulated with numerous ancient ingredients can help treat blood and qi deficiencies and improve fatigue and paleness due to a weak body constitution. Taking this herbal remedy daily can also help women of all ages to boost energy levels and improve vitality whilst restoring balance to their bodies.

2. Exercising regularly

Second, start a workout routine. Doing aerobic exercises like brisk walking, cycling, running, or swimming can be beneficial for doing away with fatigue and a depressed mood. It can also help to increase your heart rate and improve lung function. 30 minutes of aerobic activity on alternate days of the week is ideal.

3. Making dietary changes

The next step to take in your lifestyle change is to improve your diet. If you get monthly PMS, start consuming a diet consisting primarily of complex carbohydrates like barley, lentils, brown rice, and whole grains to help regulate your mood and alleviate food cravings. 

You should also consume foods rich in calcium, limit your intake of fatty foods that have a high salt or sugar content, and avoid the consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages altogether. 

Alternatively, you can keep your blood sugar levels stable by consuming more food servings daily, albeit in smaller portions. Drinking an enzyme essence made with Cordyceps, 12 strains of healthy bacteria and over 90 types of fermented fruits and vegetables can help provide stress relief and promote healthy bowel movement.

4. Reducing stress

The last step, which is also the most challenging step, is to decrease your stress levels. 

Relaxation therapy can help to lessen the severity of PMS symptoms by lowering stress levels. Deep breathing exercises, massages, meditation and yoga, are common examples of relaxation therapy. Diluting drops of chamomile, lavender and peppermint oil in a diffuser can promote relaxation, while you can diffuse cedarwood, eucalyptus, hyssop and pine oil to compliment breathing exercise routines.

At the same time, getting quality, restful sleep every day may also help lessen moodiness and relieve fatigue. Consuming a spoonful of honey with warm water can supplement your body with the amino acids, enzymes, and vitamins needed to improve sleep quality, nourish the skin, and regulate your metabolism. 

You should manage the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome early to prevent it from becoming more severe. By taking a holistic approach to symptom management, not only will you be able to reduce symptom severity but improve your health and overall well-being as well.

References

  1. MedlinePlus. Premenstrual breast changes.[Accessed 19 July 2021]
  2. NATIONAL HEADACHE FOUNDATION. Menstrual Migraine. [Accessed 19 July 2021]
  3. Sleep Foundation. 2020. PMS and Insomnia.[Accessed 19 July 2021]
  4. National Library of Medicine. 2012. Perceived poor sleep quality in the absence of polysomnographic sleep disturbance in women with severe premenstrual syndrome. [Accessed 19 July 2021]
  5. Flo. Acne Before Your Period: Causes, Types, and Treatment for Premenstrual Acne. [Accessed 19 July 2021]
  6. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Premenstual Syndrome (PMS). [Accessed 19 July 2021] 

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