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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Exercise: Exercising before and during your period releases endorphins and triggers dopamine. The combination of the two curbs depression and anxiety and eases pain.
- 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.
- 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.