PMS is something that most ladies have to deal with, but that doesn't mean you're doomed to suffer for the few days leading up to your period. Instead of lying in bed crying or eating yet another gallon of ice cream, try one of these healthier ways to deal. You'll feel better and your body will thank you all month long.
1. Cut Back on Alcohol and Caffeine
I know, I know. Where's the fun in that? Some women experience cravings for alcohol and caffeine during PMS, but both can actually worsen the symptoms and make you feel sluggish and icky. Cut back on the cocktails, coffee, tea and cocoa during the week before your period and you'll be a whole lot better off.
2. Get Some Exercise
I know that the last thing you want to when you're all crampy and bloated is get up and go for a run (or a walk, as the case may be). However, the experts say that regular physical activity can actually ease the pain and discomfort of PMS. Not only can exercise alleviate the anxiety and sadness that often accompanies PMS, but the movement also eases the other symptoms. Try jogging, dancing or biking.
3. See a Therapist
I know this might sound a little extreme, but I promise that it will help. The right therapist can help you work through your feelings during PMS and help you come up with new ways of thinking and behaving that are healthier than gorging on enchiladas or crying for two days straight. Sometimes, having someone to talk to is all it takes to make PMS a little more manageable.
4. Eat More Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbs are those that come from healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They do not come from brownies, cookies and other junk. If you eat more complex carbs during PMS, you can help control your cravings for unhealthy foods like cheeseburgers and potato chips. This works because the good carbs keep your glucose levels steady, balancing your appetite and controlling your cravings.
5. You've Got to Relax
Easier said than done, I know! However, anxiety amps up during PMS, which can affect other aspects of your life. Making an effort to wind down and fit in some relaxation can really help. Get a massage, take an extra yoga class or try acupuncture. Each option will help relax your body and mind. You'll feel better, I promise!
6. Put down the Cigarettes
You know that smoking is a way unhealthy thing to do for your body. Turns out it can wreak more havoc than just upping your risk of cancer and heart disease. Research shows that women who smoke experience more severe symptoms of PMS than their non-smoking counterparts. Putting down the cigarettes can help ease your suffering so talk to your doctor about how to quit right now.
7. Find a Support Network
There's a support network for all kinds of health issues so why not find one for PMS? Even if you can't find a formal support group, consider who among your friends and family are people who can help get you through the hard parts of PMS. Sometimes just being able to call your bestie or your sister and complain can really help.
8. Talk to Your Doctor about Supplements
Certain nutrients can help ease many of the symptoms of PMS, but it's important to discuss their use with your doctor first. For example, taking 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day has been shown in several studies to help ease the symptoms of PMS for many women. Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with a reduced risk of aches and pains that come with PMS.
9. Think about Medication
You don't want to be popping pills for no reason, but using them moderately when appropriate can't hurt, especially if your PMS symptoms are moderate to severe. For many women, taking an antidepressant can help ease the anxiety and other mood issues that go with having PMS. For other women, an oral contraceptive can provide the same relief. Talk to your doctor about the one that might be right for you.
10. Eat Right
Last but not least, eating the right foods is a great way to ease the symptoms of PMS and help you prevent or ease the bloating, cramping and other irritations of PMS. Plus, eating healthy foods will reduce the risk of unmanageable PMS in later months. Make sure you're eating plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains. Cut back on fat, salt and sugar and you'll be healthier and feeling better all month long.
What else do you do to ease your PMS?