5 Ways Women Can Improve Their Mood During PMS

PMS—or Premenstrual syndrome—affects as many as three out of four menstruating women. The symptoms most of these women experience include breast tenderness and swelling, food cravings, extreme fatigue, irritability, depression and serious mood swings.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of PMS is unknown, however there are three factors at play that likely cause women to experience these symptoms. The first—cyclic changes in their hormones—disappears during pregnancy and menopause, meaning it probably contributes strongly to PMS. Fluctuations in brain chemicals like serotonin might also be to blame. And finally, many researchers believe that some women who experience PMS symptoms actually have undiagnosed depression. It’s likely that some women exhibit all three of these causes. This means their symptoms are of greater severity.

Probably the most frequently discussed symptom of PMS—by the women suffering from it, as well as those who live with them—is the mood swings. Some women lash out at others. They rant and rave and even curse at the people they love. Others withdraw from their loved ones. They cry a lot and don’t want to engage with others. They often neglect some of their work and household duties. The children of women who suffer greatly from PMS symptoms can have lasting emotional scars.

There are some things women can do to improve their moods during bouts of PMS. Many of them, such as the following five, are natural.

  1. Acupuncture: Studies show that veering away from some Western practices is key when trying to treat mood swings during PMS. Acupuncture is an Eastern practice that has been very beneficial to sufferers. It is believed that the practice increases circulation and elevates endorphins. Treatment once per month, one week before your period is due, is recommended.
  2. Herbs: Herbs including chaste berry, evening primrose and valerian root have alleviated some of the mood swings caused by PMS in countless women. Evening primrose is believed to stimulate the endocrine system. Evening primrose can alleviate anxiety. And valerian root serves as a muscle relaxer.
  3. Exercise: Exercising before and during your period releases endorphins and triggers dopamine. The combination of the two curbs depression and anxiety and eases pain.
  4. All-natural diuretics: As another glance toward Eastern medicine, all-natural diuretics have been known to curb bloating and that in itself has improved the moods of many women who tried it. Don’t rely on coffee as your natural diuretic, however, as it will also increase anxiety and thus not help your mood. So what are some natural diuretics? You’ve probably got some in your kitchen right now. Try tomatoes, celery, bananas, citrus fruits, watercress and fennel. Simply snack on small portions of these foods throughout the day.
  5. Meditation: Women who meditate before and during their periods have fewer mood swings than those who don’t. The emotional changes that occur when meditating on positive, loving and trusting feelings result in more positive feelings during PMS.

Try one or more of these five ways of improving your mood during PMS. Start a week before your next period and continue during as well. See if you don’t notice some significant mood improvement as a result.

Is It Really Okay to Take Prenatal Vitamins When You’re Not Pregnant?

Many women swear by the practice of taking prenatal vitamins even when they’re not pregnant. While this can be an option that may be beneficial in some ways, it can also be unhealthy in others, which is why it is probably best to leave the prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers.

Why Do Women Take Prenatal Vitamins When They’re Not Pregnant?

Some women choose this option in order to achieve certain benefits with the help of prenatal vitamins, such as having thicker hair and nails. Many women struggle with brittle nails and/or thin hair and want to find something that can help them with this issue but that will also have a low impact on their bodies. Prenatal vitamins seem like a good solution, as taking them while not pregnant won’t usually harm you. However, it is not the safest option when it comes to treating these issues.

The Dangers of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Without Being Pregnant

As stated previously, prenatal vitamins aren’t likely to harm you, but taking these supplements without being pregnant or trying to become pregnant can be problematic. In most cases, your body doesn’t need the high levels of certain types of nutrients that are in these vitamins, which can cause problems.

For example, regular adults only need about 400 mcg of folic acid every day. But women who are trying to have a baby or who are pregnant are recommended to take 400 to 800 mcg of this supplement every day because this can reduce the risk of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects. Those who take in too much folic acid without needing to could potentially experience issues with a B-12 deficiency, and the high levels of folic acid could mask the issue, causing the individual to not receive treatment right away.

Another issue with taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant is getting too much iron. These pills provide adults with more than their recommended daily intake of iron because pregnant women need more iron. Having too much iron in your system when you’re not pregnant, however, can potentially cause the nutrient to linger in your body and become toxic.

Prenatal Vitamins Can Be Helpful…

But as long as you take in the recommended daily amount of nutrients, you will be able to gain all the benefits that are in prenatal vitamins anyway. In addition, there are other supplements like biotin that can increase the strength of your hair and nails over time. This supplement can be taken by anyone, as long as the patient has the approval of their doctor and as long as the drug won’t interfere with any other medication the patient may be on.

It is important to talk to your doctor about your interest in prenatal vitamins and what they could do for you. In most cases, your doctor will be able to recommend another avenue that is better for your current state than taking these vitamins, which are specifically designed for pregnant individuals.

5 Healthful Habits Women Should Start Practicing in Their Twenties

Getting healthy isn’t something you should wait until later to do. In fact, in most cases, the longer you wait to do something, the harder it becomes to actually make it happen. Here are 5 healthy habits you should start practicing early on in your life in order to build a strong foundation for health that will last.

  1. Cook for Yourself

Whether you have a family to cook with and for or not, learning to cook for yourself is an extremely beneficial habit for your health. It will ensure that you don’t eat out as often, allowing you to avoid the heavy intake of the extra calories that still remain in most fast food chains. It will also allow you to control what you eat better so you can make sure to eat healthier and smarter.

 

  1. Cut Out Soda

Soda is delicious, and many women in their twenties feel they need the energy boost in a Coke or (sometimes) even a Red Bull to get through a long day. But soda is one of the places where we receive the highest intake of unnecessary sugar. Tea and coffee are so much healthier than soda as well, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

 

  1. Drink Lots of Water

Drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do for your body. In your twenties, it may seem like getting that all-too-important water intake isn’t necessary (especially when there are so many other tasty beverage options available). But, trust us, it’s so hard to build this habit later in life.

 

  1. Embrace Rest and Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your body and your mind stay healthy. We tend to run ourselves ragged in our twenties, making the old joke that we will sleep when we’re dead. But developing a good sleeping schedule when you’re young will keep you from feeling dead-tired in your thirties.

Also, don’t be afraid to take an hour (or a day…) to rest when you really need it. We’re constantly told in our twenties that we need to stay on our hustle, that nothing will get done if we aren’t constantly working hard. But everyone needs a break, and learning to give yourself one every so often is essential to health.

  1. Be Mindful

Portion control, knowing when and how to exercise, being able to recognize toxic relationships… These can all fall under the category of mindfulness. Learning to be more mindful in your life is a way of being able to recognize what you need, whether it is in the moment or in the long-term, as well as being aware of your feelings and those of others. The earlier you can train yourself to be aware of your own thoughts as well as what’s going on around you, the happier and healthier you will become.

7 Great Exercises for Women Over 60

You can—and should—always make an effort to stay fit no matter what your age is. While there are plenty of workout routines and videos you can find that will highlight the best exercises you can do after 60, there are plenty of options you can utilize on your own to stay fit and rejuvenated no matter where you are in your life.

  1. Swimming

Swimming is always a perfect option for keeping in shape, especially for women. It’s a wonderful aerobic exercise that asks you to move and engage every part of your body, and it is also very safe physically if you haven’t been exercising much before now.

  1. Walking

Walking is a great aerobic exercise you can also start with if you haven’t been too fit before. You can start by just walking for 30 minutes a day, whether it’s through your neighborhood or at the gym. Remember, though, there’s no need to push yourself too hard, so don’t worry about breaking into a run unless you really feel like it.

  1. Strength Training

It’s incredibly helpful to do some strength training at this point in your life, especially because, as you age, you will continue to lose muscle mass and toning. Again, start out slow by lifting small dumbbells or using ankle weights. You can do leg or arm lifts with these in order to give your muscles some toning.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is helpful at pretty much any stage of life for women. Pregnant women are encouraged to try yoga, as are children and adults. You can find a class that is especially designed for women over 60 or start doing yoga at home with a video. Remember that yoga is about building flexibility and learning to be comfortable in your own skin, so there is no need to tug or pull in order to get yourself into the positions.

  1. Joint Stretches

One of the problems you may begin experiencing soon is stiffness in the joints that will make it more difficult to perform everyday tasks. Just making small arm circles or rolling your shoulders can help you avoid this issue and make for a minimal, low-impact exercise.

  1. Rowing

A rowing machine is a great exercise tool that can get your arms and legs moving in a safe environment. Many individuals utilize this type of exercise after the age of fifty, most notably Kevin Spacey’s television character Frank Underwood from House of Cards.

  1. Anything Aerobic

Aerobic exercises can be a great way to get your heart rate up and get you moving. Anything you feel comfortable with that qualifies as an aerobic exercise—like biking, stepping, and even dancing—can be a healthy and beneficial addition to your workout.

Remember…

When you decide to take on a new workout routine, it is always best (no matter what age you’re at) to talk to your doctor about it first. This will help you ensure you are exercising safely and effectively.

5 of the Healthiest Exercises to Practice During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to stay fit and to keep yourself in a healthy state both mentally and physically. Daily exercises can help with this, but because of your current condition, you’ll want to make sure you’re exercising in a way that is healthy for your body and your baby. Here are 5 of the healthiest pregnancy-related exercises.

  1. Swimming

Swimming is one of the best exercises to practice while pregnant. Most health experts agree that this is the safest and most beneficial option at nearly every interval in a pregnancy, as it engages the muscles of the legs and arms, minimizes issues with swelling, and works the same as any other cardio exercise. What’s more, it will allow you to feel weightless, which is soothing and enjoyable especially during the later stages of pregnancy.

  1. Walking

Taking a calm, brisk walk is a good option for those exercising while pregnant. It gets the heart rate up and provides the benefits of cardio while not placing you in a position where you have to run or push yourself too hard. Make sure to get a good pair of sneakers that fit you and won’t cause your feet to hurt when you walk.

  1. Dancing

Dancing is another great option, one that can make you feel cute and sassy as well as happy. Any time your mood is down, dancing is a great way to exercise and get it back up again, especially when you put on some of your favorite jams. You can also take a beginner’s dance class if you want to get out and meet more people. However, it is important to avoid dances that call for any potentially dangerous moves like jumps, leaps, and spins.

  1. Yoga

Many pregnant individuals choose yoga as their go-to exercise. There are a large number of classes and videos created with specific yoga routines designed for those at different points in their pregnancies, so the sky is really the limit when it comes to this option. Make sure you don’t push yourself to get into the positions and remember that the whole point of yoga is to become more flexible, more open, and more relaxed, as well as more comfortable in your own skin.

  1. Weight Training

Weight training is another great option for pregnant exercise, as long as you make sure you have good form and that you move slowly. Start out with small weights that you can handle, and then you can start to build yourself up to a larger amount. Remember, though, you never want to take on more than is safe. Aim for being comfortable lifting the weight of a baby, which you’ll certainly be doing a lot of soon!

There are plenty of exercises that are safe to do during pregnancy, and as long as you talk with your doctor beforehand and make sure you are taking care of yourself and your little one, you should be fine.

Why It’s Healthy for Women to Own Pets

Owning a pet is a healthy choice for you and for your furry friend. Whether you’re a single gal or you’ve got a partner and a family, whether you work late nights or you like to cuddle up at home, having a pet has a number of great health benefits that could really make a difference in your life.

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Decreasing Stress

Having a loving pet to come home to every night will actually provide you with less stress in your life, even though it seems at first that it would cause you more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can actually decrease your blood pressure just by being near you. Pet owners are also less likely to react intensely to stressful situations if their pets are nearby (similarly to parents with children). And of course, just petting a dog or a cat has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

Reduces Pain

People who have pets experience less pain because they experience less anxiety and stress. It’s true; those with chronic pain issues such as arthritis or a history of migraines are often told to get a pet because of these benefits. In addition, having a pet nearby to cuddle when you’re experiencing cramps can also help.

Boosts Moods

According to Mental Health America, approximately 12 million US women experience clinical depression every year. Depression, as well as other mood disorders, is an issue that disproportionately affects women, and at least 1 in 8 women will experience some sort of clinical depression in her lifetime.

Having a pet obviously cannot cure depression or other mood disorders, but it can help women cope with them. Those who have pets often report feeling less lonely than those who don’t, and since having a pet reduces stress and anxiety, those who have them often feel fewer negative emotions from day to day. And when you come home to a pet who has missed you all day and shows you how much they love you, it’s hard to feel sad.

Aids in Child Development

Having a pet as part of a household can actually help children develop more easily and more quickly. Children learn to love their pets, build attachments, and relate better to others. Pets can also reduce children’s risk of allergies; those who are around pets more often as a baby are less likely to develop allergies later in childhood.

Providing a Much Needed Laugh

Have you ever just cracked up at something your pet did? If you haven’t, you probably don’t own one. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine, and having a pet surely provides plenty of chuckles, especially when you and your pet are able to build the kind of bond that lasts.

So no matter what kind of pet you choose—be it a dog, a cat, a turtle, a fish, or a ferret (if it’s legal in your state of course)—enjoy the benefits you’ll gain by bringing home your new best friend.

Bullying: How It’s Tied to Increase in Plastic Surgery

Though we have seen the effects of bullying in many ways through a number of different studies and how being bullied early in life can lead to substance abuse, violence, depression, anxiety disorders, and other issues later on, a recent study has found this behavior may also be causing an increase in another potentially dangerous trend: unnecessary plastic surgery.

Those who decide to get plastic surgery are usually comfortable with themselves and only desire a minimal change in their appearance. However, the study from Warwick Medical School finds different potential issues in those who desire cosmetic work and have either been bullied or have both perpetrated and been victims of bullying.

Those who had been bullied at some point in their lives had a much higher likelihood of being interested in plastic surgery. As a result, this seems to be a possible cause for why more and more teens are choosing plastic surgery at such a young age. 210,000 cosmetic surgeries were performed on teens in 2013, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which is an increase from previous years.

Younger individuals who become interested in plastic surgery and who have been bullied are also usually struggling with depression or other issues that should give doctors pause when deciding if the individual is a good candidate for surgery.

In addition, even those who had bullied others and had not been bullied themselves were more likely to desire plastic surgery than those who had never been affected by bullying, but this usually occurs for a different reason: these teens are much more interested in climbing the social ladder and in receiving the attention of others, which may be why they are choosing to go under the knife. Either way, bullying does seem to be intricately tied with the increase in plastic surgery among young people.

What’s Really Going On with Bullying and Plastic Surgery

Just about everyone remembers a time in childhood when someone said something that hurt their feelings. This isn’t something that most people escape. Even the most popular kids have had someone say something about a physical feature. As these people grow up, they may carry those words with them in the back of their mind. So, every single time they see an image of a person, they immediately look to see if that person has the same flaws they were criticized for in the past.

When these same people see people have gone under the knife to have the physical characteristic corrected, they start wondering if that’s something they should do. What helps them make the decision to seek plastic surgery is when they see the results. If those results are what they life, they get closer to wanting plastic surgery. As more and more people with the same physical characteristic poke at it and then follow through with plastic surgery, it brings the person considering it even closer to surgery.

Whether bullying speeds this process up or not is something researchers are trying to uncover. Depending on the severity of the bullying, it’s quite possible that people who go towards plastic surgery faster. They feel an intense need to correct whatever they are being criticized for, and the sooner they do, the faster the criticisms will stop.

The problem is that most of the time, those criticizes don’t stop. They continue, but on to something else. This is why those who bully or those who have been bullied should first seek the help of a mental health professional instead of a plastic surgeon. Through therapy, someone can understand what is really going on inside his or her mind. For example, does the person want plastic surgery because it’s what he or she wants or is it because he or she wants the bullying to stop.

Bullying doesn’t even have to continue with other people. Many people end up bullying themselves after their peers have bullied them. This is another reason counseling is an important step before seeking plastic surgery.

If you are a victim of bullying or you’ve bullied, consider seeking mental health support before you spend the money on plastic surgery. You may just find out that you are perfect just the way you are, and you don’t need to change your appearances at all.

Best Guy Gift: Shaving Set

Almost every guy in the world needs to shave unless they allow their facial hair to grow uncontrollably. And since many man have to shave, they need the tools to do it with, such as a razor, clippers, shaving cream, and aftershave, for some. Most of these tools do not last forever. For instance, the blade will become dull, and the cream and aftershave will run out. So, what does a man do when this happens? First, he sighs and grumbles because he’s too busy or unmotivated to go out and get them. Second, he tells his wife or girlfriend to pick it all up for him. Of course, there are details in that request, which women often do not truly understand since only a man knows what he needs for his face.

So, what is the solution to the problem of running out of the tools for a good shave? Buy it online.

Yes, when you order the razor, cream/gel, and aftershave online you don’t ever have to worry about going out anywhere for it. You can set up a reminder on your phone or computer that it’s been 2, 3, or 4 weeks since you’re last order and get it delivered even before you run out. What’s even better is that the exact same shaver and products can be ordered repeatedly, so there is no chance that the incorrect ones will be purchased. A mom, wife, or girlfriend can place the order easily and quickly.

The savings with purchasing a shaving set online cannot be denied. Instead of driving to your local store, you can save the gas and any parking costs by ordering online. You literally don’t have to go anywhere, as long as you have your mobile device. You can simply bring up the website, find your last order, or create an order, and purchase it. In just a few days, the tools your man needs will be at his front door ready for him to use.

Presenting the Present

If you’re looking for a special gift, a shaving set is it. Your man will love Harry’s, and you will too when you see how quality and attractiveness of the set. Many sets are available, so he can have exactly what he likes for shaving. In addition, you can have it engraved.

Every single morning he can open the box with his shaver and products and be reminded of you and your thoughtfulness. It’s a great way to start the day

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Women’s Health: How Common Is Postpartum Depression, How Can I Recognize It, And How Do I Find Help?

Unfortunately, postpartum depression is very common among women in the United States as well as other countries, and many women are afraid to discuss it. However, the stigma associated with this disorder is beginning to minimize, and more women are discussing it as well as getting help. You can too.

How Common Is Postpartum Depression?

The baby blues are a common experience among many women who have just given birth. They can feel happy one moment and then weepy, lonely, or anxious the next. Many of these feelings are associated with the lack of sleep that women get after giving birth or with the stress of caring for a new infant. However, some individuals experience a more serious issue.

According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, which is much worse than the baby blues. When this disorder occurs, women need help in order to navigate the issue of postpartum depression, and in most cases, professional treatment is necessary.

Recognizing Postpartum Depression

For someone who has never experienced depression before, distinguishing this disorder from the regular feelings of sadness or anxiety after having a baby can be difficult. But according to the National Library of Medicine, the symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe than the baby blues. In addition, some women are more likely to experience postpartum depression than others, including

  • Women who have experienced postpartum depression or another type of depressive syndrome before
  • Women who have a history of depression in their family
  • Women who experienced a stressful life event during their pregnancy or a complication during their delivery or pregnancy
  • Women with a lack of social support from their loved ones
  • Women with substance abuse histories

 

The National Institute of Mental Health lists the general symptoms of postpartum depression, which can include

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, or being overwhelmed
  • Crying often and/or for an unknown reason
  • Becoming very anxious or worried
  • Becoming angry or enraged for no apparent reason
  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless often
  • Experiencing changes in sleep pattern, including sleeping too much or not being able to sleep at all
  • Experiencing changes in eating habits such as eating too much or not enough
  • Having trouble with cognitive functions like making decisions, focusing, or remembering things
  • Losing interest in activities one used to enjoy
  • Experiencing physical aches and pains like headaches or muscle pain
  • Withdrawing from family members, friends, and other loved ones
  • Having trouble forming an emotional bond with the baby
  • Not feeling able or equipped to care for one’s own baby
  • Experiencing thoughts about harming one’s self or the baby

 

As you can see, most of these symptoms go far beyond those of the generally experienced, weepy feelings often associated with post-pregnancy. The fact that some mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression consider hurting themselves or their children should remind you that this disorder is serious and that help is necessary.

How Do I Get Help for Postpartum Depression?

If you are still unsure if what you are experiencing is, in fact, postpartum depression, it is still important to seek help. You would rather be safe and realize what you’re dealing with is nothing more than temporary feelings of sadness that are common after having a baby. However, if you are certain what you’re feeling is postpartum depression, it is necessary to seek help immediately.

You can find treatment through your insurance company or through many of the free and low-cost services that exist all over the country. It is very important that you speak with a doctor about your experiences and that you are able to receive the necessary treatment that will allow you to recover safely.

The two most commonly used treatment options are medication and counseling. Often when these two options are used together, they provide the best result. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are the counseling approaches most often used to treat postpartum depression, and antidepressants can be effective as well. When these two treatments are utilized as part of a larger recovery program, patients are often able to recover from their feelings of sadness and anxiety and return to a healthier, happier state.

Women’s Health: 6 Health Benefits of Doing Yoga

Yoga has a number of health benefits for women: it can aid in fertility, help relieve a hangover, and even perfect your posture. Here are some of the other important health-giving effects women can gain from regularly taking part in yoga.

  1. Improving Heart Health

Women have to be especially careful of the issue of heart disease because there isn’t as much literature or interest in this problem, even though it still occurs. This is one way yoga can absolutely benefit you and allow you to live a stronger, healthier life. Yoga helps to reduce one’s risk of heart disease, reduce arterial plaque, and increase your ability to exercise well and often, which is very good for your heart.

  1. Regulating Hormones

Your hormones can cause your body a lot of stress. They can often be the cause of high or low energy, fatigue, and, of course, cramps. But yoga can actually assist you with all of these issues while also helping to better regulate the glands in your body that are responsible for secreting hormones. One great posture for this type of result is a twist, which can also help minimize cramps.

  1. Treating Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

According to Psychology Today, depression is more common in women than in men, and there are many reasons for this issue. Anxiety disorders are also very common in women, and stress (either at home, at work, or both) can be a huge factor in causing these types of disorders. Luckily, yoga can help with that.

While it is still important to see a doctor if you are struggling with an anxiety or depressive disorder, to consider the option of therapy, and possibly even medication, yoga can be a great holistic treatment for these disorders. There have been many studies on the relationship between yoga and minimizing stress, anxiety, and depression, and in many cases, women suffering from PTSD have benefitted from practicing yoga.

This practice also allows for individuals to learn mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness helps one recognize and accept the world around them as it is, even if just for a little while, and this can be highly beneficial for those struggling with any of these issues.

  1. Better Cognitive Functions

Yoga can actually help you think more clearly and take out your mental trash, so to speak. Concentrating on yoga allows you to get rid of your physical and mental tension and to let go of the petty problems you dealt with during the day so you can get back to concentrating on what matters. And according to Live Science, yoga can even improve your memory.

  1. Less Insomnia

Yoga can actually fight insomnia, help you sleep better, and allow you to sleep more deeply. Restorative poses that ask you to breathe deeply and allow your mind to relax as well as your body cause you to turn your thoughts inward and to just focus on you. This allows for a deep relaxation that will improve circulation so you can sleep better.

  1. Improves Self-Esteem

Many women suffer from low self-esteem and attempt to self-treat this issue in dangerous ways. However, yoga is a completely healthy way of allowing you to feel better about yourself, mind and body. Yoga practices are about being comfortable with who you are right now and trying to gently help yourself to be better in the future. Practicing this type of thinking often will allow you to focus on yourself in a positive way and to build a better sense of self-esteem.

  1. Minimizes Pain

Chronic pain can be serious, and in some cases, requires medication. Whether you choose to treat your pain this way or not, yoga is a completely natural practice you can use minimize pain, and it doesn’t interact poorly with any medications like another drug or supplement might. In addition, mindfulness practices allow people constantly dealing with pain from disorders like fibromyalgia or carpal tunnel syndrome to acknowledge and deal with their pain without allowing it to control them.

Yoga is a healthful practice for people of any age and can often be altered for the benefit of the practitioner, making it helpful to almost any woman.