The premenstrual phase of our cycles is often a rocky ride. But there are many ways you can naturally alleviate your PMS symptoms.
Many women experience mild discomfort and irritation or moodiness, to pain, headaches, disturbed digestion with bloating and changing bowels.
Some have more intense symptoms and strong changes in their mental and emotional state including suicidal thoughts that only come at this time of the month. This Pre-menstrual dysmorphia disorder (PMDD) is very distressing and disruptive to wellbeing and life.
During perimenopause, when our cycles can become more erratic, the lead up to bleeding is often lengthier and more intense.
Our menstrual cycles are meant to be pain and symptom free. A beautiful and natural part of being a woman, a creator and nurturer of life.
However up to 90% of women experience a range of physical, emotional, or mental symptoms in the lead up to the bleeding phase of their cycle.
From the Ayurvedic perspective any disturbance in a woman’s general wellbeing and cycles is an indication of an underlying imbalance.
Your hormones are a wonderful barometer and reflection of your overall health. Changes in the balance of your health will be reflected in your menstrual cycles.
Learning to listen to your body’s subtle cycles and hormonal shifts is an excellent way to stay in tune with your needs and create better health.
The different types of PMS
We’re all a blend of the 5 elements – Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The symptoms you experience depend on which element is imbalanced and elevated. This is often the same one you naturally have abundantly.
If the Air and Ether elements are out of balance, you’ll likely experience more anxiety, bloating, dryness and constipation, and lower back pain or stiffness, and lighter sleep.
Excess fire element PMS creates irritability or anger, skin rashes, acne or sensitivity, loose stools, nausea and vomiting, and inflammation in the joints, temporal headaches, or migraines.
Imblanced earth and water elements PMS displays as feeling more emotional, feeling more dull and heavier, possibly with water retention, enlarged and sore breasts, and a feeling of heaviness in the legs.
All types can crave sweets. It helps to ground our energy and provide comfort!
What impacts your PMS?
You may know that your diet and power of digestion, your stress levels, and lifestyle rhythms have a big impact of your cycles and PMS.
If your digestion, and or elimination is not working well toxins will accumulate in your body and will further accentuate any imbalance and PMS symptoms.
The good news is that there is much that can be done to alleviate imbalances and create smooth sailing again. I love hearing my clients say, “My cycle came on time, and I had no indication it was coming! I felt so good!”
How to alleviate PMS
We are rhythmic creatures. Your hormones are rhythmic and respond so well to having a rhythm to your days, especially your eating and sleeping times. Eating at approximately the same time each day (or most days!) is beneficial for good digestion and hormone balance.
Getting enough sleep is also important. But it is not just how much sleep you get (7-9 hours is great!), but also when you sleep that is important. Early to bed, before 10pm, and early to rise, by 6-7am, is the key for balancing your hormones and reducing PMS.
Regular exercise that is not too strenuous helps too. Don’t push yourself too much especially in the lead up to and during your bleeding phase. Save your stronger exercise for the two weeks after bleeding.
If your cycles are irregular simply walking at the same time each day will positively impact your hypothalamus and your hormone rhythm.
Your liver plays many important roles in keeping your hormones balanced. From processing and removing excess estrogen, to creating cholesterol which is essential for the formation of many hormones, and supporting good metabolism and elimination of toxins.
When your liver is under functioning or clogged up with toxins, your hormones will suffer too. Go easy on alcohol and coffee. Reduce your exposure to pesticides, eat seasonally available fresh vegetables and fruits that are right for your unique constitution. Avoid xenoestrogens (chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body), phthalates (artificial fragrances), and make sure your elimination is working well.
Diet and digestion
Eating what is right for your unique constitution will support good digestion and enhance your overall health.
If you are experiencing PMS reducing inflammatory foods and drinks is important.
Processed food and trans fats like soybean oil, canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil all stimulate prostaglandins (PGE2’s) which promote inflammation in the body and increase cramps and menstrual pain. Read more about menstrual pain and how to alleviate it here.
Eat good quality fats like ghee, olive oil, coconut, hemp and avocado oil to reduce inflammation.
It also helps to avoid processed sugars, excess carbohydrates, meat, coffee and alcohol, excess salt and the nightshade vegetables (tomato, eggplant, white potato and capsicum – especially if you are a Pitta / fire type) before your menstrual cycle.
Do eat a plant based wholefood diet! Plenty of vegetables, some fruit, some small legumes like mung beans (the big ones like chickpeas are hard to digest and often cause bloating).
Choose Joy to Manage Stress
Remember to do what bring you JOY! It’s not an indulgence it’s a necessary part of life that will help to keep you balanced, well AND enjoying life more!
Joy builds oxytocin, or, as we call it in Ayurveda, our essence of Vitality… Ojas.
Having enough Ojas helps balance your hormones, strengthens immunity, and improves sleep for deeper rejuvenation.
Whether it is yoga, tai chi, meditation. walking in nature… you know what lights you up so go do it, then do it some more! Weave more joy into your life!
Make sure your channels of elimination are open and working regularly. See a local Ayurvedic practitioner to help you strengthen your digestion and elimination to reduce and remove toxins that aggravate PMS symptoms.
Keep you sweat channels open too. Avoid using antiperspirants that clog your lymphatic system right near your breast tissue. You want to keep these channels clear and clean!
I run a guided online Season Cleanse and Reset each Spring and Autumn to help you revitalise and rebalance your whole system. Check it out here!
Dear woman, honour your natural rhythms, your ebbs and flows, high energy times, and quieter low energy times.
You are a mini reflection of the macrocosm of the universe. Embrace natures cycles to support your good health and hormone balance.
Rest when you feel low. Go for it when you feel energised. Take care of and honour yourself.
Following these simple tips will help you to reduce your PMS symptoms and improve your overall health. If you would like personalised support, make a time to connect with me here.