Ayurveda provides us with ample guidance on the best diet, lifestyle and natural remedies for PMS. It is a holistic medicine system that will help you to identify the root cause of your PMS Symptoms.
That way, you will not only be able to find relief from PMS naturally but also prevent occurrence of PMS Symptoms in the future.
The natural remedies for PMS that we are sharing in this post take inspiration from Ayurvedic principles. Ayurveda provides detailed description and categorization of PMS Symptoms as per the dosha that have gone out of balance.
Accordingly, it provides an appropriate health regime and natural remedies for PMS relief. And in this post, you will get the much needed information on all of this.
Firstly, you will learn to identify the root cause or health imbalances of your specific PMS symptoms per Ayurvedic principles.
Secondly, we will take you through the right foods, lifestyle and natural remedies for PMS according to your own imbalances.
And finally, you will go away with all natural health tips to prevent PMS from occurring and for long term relief from PMS.
Let’s get started!
What is PMS?
PMS is an acronym for premenstrual syndrome. It can be defined as a combination of physical pain, cramps and mood swings that occur in the Luteal phase of her menstrual cycle.
More often than not, PMS symptoms carry over to menstruation as well.
Usually, a woman is likely to have some signs that tell her that her period is approaching. However, for some women, it is just tougher. Those signs are ‘louder.’
The intensity of PMS pain makes her run for medications, pain relieving pills and she just wants to stay away from other people.
PMS can terribly affect the quality of life of a woman. The pain and discomfort messes up with her work and relationships.
It would be wise to try natural remedies for PMS before fretting too much.
Who does PMS affect?
Unfortunately, the incidence of PMS is high. So many women shouldn’t have to suffer.
According to Majahan Roshi et al, PMS Symptoms affect as many as 90% of women of reproductive age at some point in their lives. 4 in 10 women (40%) experience symptoms of PMS. And out of these, 5–8% suffer from severe PMS.
Studies indicate that 14-88% of adolescent girls have moderate to severe symptoms. Older adolescents tend to have more severe symptoms than younger adolescents do.
Even though PMS is so wide spread and so painful. Yet, a lot of women and girls don’t even know what it is!
Ironically, period cramps and PMS is often considered as the signature sign of normal periods. That’s why, a majority of the women do not know how to approach it and whether there are any natural remedies for PMS.
How is PMS Diagnosed?
To make a diagnosis of PMS, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that the following criteria should be met:
- PMS symptoms interfere with daily activities of the patient
- Her symptoms appear 5 days before menstruation and end 4 days after the menstruation begins
- She has been experiencing PMS symptoms occur for at least 2–3 months
When PMS is very severe, it is termed Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
What are the symptoms of PMS?
What does PMS feel like? The simple answer is: painful. The premenstrual syndrome brings in lot of pain and agony. For some women, pms symptoms bring lot of tears and misery.
So much so that, she dreads those days when her menstruation starts to approach.
PMS symptoms are generally grouped into physical and psychological symptoms. They are far-reaching.
Physical symptoms of PMS
These are the changes that can be observed in the body of a person suffering from premenstrual syndrome:
- joint or muscle pain
- tender, sore or swollen breasts
- weight gain
- abdominal bloating and pain
- pain in the lower abdomen or menstrual cramps
- constipation or diarrhea
- oily skin
- acne, pimple breakouts, and other skin symptoms
- headaches and migraines
- changes in appetite
- food cravings, especially for sweets
Psychological symptoms of PMS
What PMS does to your mind might be even worse when compared to what it does to your body.
- low mood
- feeling tearful or crying
- irritability or anger
- increased anxiety
- mood swings/emotional outbursts
- social withdrawal
- change in sleep patterns
- difficulty concentrating
- decreased libido
- sensitivity to light or sound
- insomnia and sleep problems
What are the causes of PMS?
The whole mechanism of ovulation and menstruation is very complex. There are a lot of things that happen inside the body.
Hormones are rising and falling, your body is preparing for a probable pregnancy… that is sure to tell somehow. Something might go wrong with the hormone balance, for example.
Here are some of the causes for PMS:
1. Endorphin levels drop
Endorphins are feel-good hormones in your blood. In the luteal phase of your cycle (the second phase), endorphin levels drop.
This can account for psychological symptoms like mood swings and depression.
2. Serotonin levels drop too
Serotonin is a chemical in your brain. It regulates mood and sensitivity to pain. Now, you can imagine what will happen if this chemical becomes low.
You experience mood swings. What’s more? Your ability to bear pain goes down and you experience more pain. This is why the pain is more biting than usual.
3. Poor nutrition
The importance of eating healthily cannot be overemphasized. Deficiency of calcium and magnesium has been linked to premenstrual syndrome.
Studies have shown that when supplements of calcium and magnesium are given, PMS symptoms improve.
4. Higher Prostaglandin levels
Prostaglandin can increase in the second phase of your menstrual cycle. This hormone is inflammatory in nature.
It can be secreted in places like the breast, brain, reproductive tract, digestive tract, etc. That’s why, you experience tenderness and pain in these areas.
Other things that might put you at an increased risk of PMS are:
- Smoking: women who smoke are twice more likely to develop PMS
- Obesity: anyone who has a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 is at an increased risk of PMS also
- Dietary factors: if you frequently consume fast foods and excessive coffee, you might be setting yourself up for PMS
- Advanced age
- Family history
These are all factors that contribute to the development of PMS. Not all of them are directly under your control. However, for those that you can control, make sure that you do right by them.
An Ayurvedic perspective on PMS
According to Ayurveda, all humans are in a dynamic state of equilibrium based on the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
If this equilibrium is disturbed, there’s bound to be imbalances and health symptoms.
What leads up to Premenstrual Syndrome?
- Poor lifestyle choices, as have been listed up there among the causes, can lead to PMS.
- When you do not sleep well, eat poorly, fail to exercise, suppress urges, etc, you will cause toxin buildup (ama or waste) in your body.
- This ama accumulates and then goes on to block your reproductive system channels.
- The blocked channels further interfere with the flow of Vata dosha, the dynamic energy for circulation and menstruation.
- This will eventually affect the other two doshas also. Thus, you can trace the symptoms of PMS to symptoms of doshic imbalances.
Vata imbalance PMS Symptoms
- nervous tension,
- low back pain,
- abdominal distention,
- craving salty foods,
Pitta imbalance PMS Symptoms
- cravings for sweets/sugar,
- more frequent soft bowels,
Kapha imbalance PMS Symptoms
- weight gain,
- desire for more sleep,
- fluid retention,
- breast tenderness,
- sweet cravings
Having understood all these, we can now talk about the natural remedies for PMS with Ayurveda.
Natural Remedies for PMS
To find relief from PMS Symptoms, one should focus on:
- bringing each dosha back to balance and
- clearing out ama
This will essentially help to restore Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha balance, drive each of them till they are all in equilibrium again.
1. Health Regime for Vata PMS Symptoms
- Eat warm, well-cooked meals, e.g. soup,. Ensure you eat at regular times.
- Use spices generously. Some excellent choices of spices include cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, basil.
- Stay away from cold and raw foods, salads, excessive salt.
- Use a lot of oil. Include healthy oils in your diet, and massage yourself daily with oil.
- Practice yoga, tai chi, and meditation. This encourages internal calmness.
2. Health Regime for Pitta PMS Symptoms
- Eat fresh, cool, and soothing foods. For example, cucumber, coconut, and melons make for good choices.
- Use bitter, sweet, and calming herbs. These include fennel, coriander, mint, dill, skullcap, etc.
- Avoid hot, oily, and spicy foods and pungent foods, e.g. a green chili hamburger.
- Reduce stimulants (like coffee), cool your mind, and encourage relaxation.
3. Health Regime for Kapha PMS Symptoms
- Focus on warm, stimulating, light, and nourishing foods
- Use spices in everything- food and beverages. Black pepper, cloves, cardamom, ginger are some spices to try.
- Avoid dairy products. You can take goat cheeses and soft cheeses moderately, however.
- Practice stimulating exercise, eat less, and regulate your sleep.
4. Ayurvedic herbs for PMS symptoms
You can also take herbs to help you through the period. These herbs have qualities that will help offset the symptoms that are troubling you.
- Aloe Vera: This herb has been used to aid the reproductive system in many ways for ages. It is useful during all stages of the menstrual cycle.
- Ashwagandha: Reduces stress and increases our body’s strength. Regular consumption of Ashwagandha elevates the brain chemicals, helps to relax, and establishes hormone balance.
- Shatavari: A uterine tonic, Shatavari is extremely important Ayurvedic herb for women health. It increases level of Progesterone, flushes excess Estrogen and nourishes the uterus.
- Ginger: It is one of the best common herb that acts as a natural pain killer. It reduces intensity of PMS symptoms and elevates the level of brain chemicals. Take it as ginger tea.
- Turmeric: Reduces inflammation and helps to detox naturally and relieves pain. Turmeric also helps to balance Vata dosha and establishes regular flow during periods. Caution should be taken, if you have heavy bleeding problems.
- Black Sesame Seeds: Provide nutrients such as Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. Reduce inflammation, establish menstrual flow and regulate the periods.
- Symplocos racemosa: It reduces heavy bleeding during menses. The bonus point here is that it reduces abdominal discomfort before and during menses.
- Saraca indica: It is the reliever of grief and can help offset depression and mood swings. Furthermore, it directs Vata to be healthy. What’s more, it is a general detoxifying agent.
- Centella asiatica: This improves cognition but also helps in providing better energy to the mind.
All of these herbs help keep the body in harmony as it changes and switches from one phase to another.
5. Exercise for Relief from PMS Symptoms
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Make sure you practice gentle exercises.
You will find that exercise improves symptoms like bloating, flushing, breast swelling and tenderness, diarrhea, etc. You will notice an increase in your appetite too.
Do note that you should not carry out excessive or strenuous exercise during menstruation. Take ample of rest and only practice light physical activity such as walk or gentle yoga.
Here are some exercises that you should engage on daily basis:
- Yoga asanas
- Pranayama (breathing exercises)
6. Your Lifestyle | Best Natural Remedies for PMS
- Follow a balanced routine that includes sleeping early (before 10 PM) and getting up early (before 6 AM). This will keep your natural Circadian rhythm to be in balance and also keep your Dosha in check.
- Eat at consistent times during menstruation (although this holds true for most the days, but more during periods). Do not suppress hunger and do not overeat.
- Avoid excessive exercise and physical work. Too much physical activity vitiates Vata Dosha. It is the primary reason behind delayed and painful periods for athletes.
- Do not suppress natural urges such as urination, defecation, and sneezing. This is to avoid change in the direction flow of Vata Dosha from downward to upward.
- No alcohol should be consumed during menstruation. Alcohol increases both Vata and Pitta Dosha, leading to excessive dryness, pain, excessive bleeding, and burning sensation.
7. Diet and Foods for PMS Symptoms
- Consume warm, unctuous, easily digestible, and lightly spiced foods.
- A light diet that consists of easily digestible vegetables, grain forms, and fruits should be consumed.
- Generously use spices and herbs such as cinnamon, black pepper, mint, carom seeds, ginger, and cardamom in your meals and herbal teas. This will also kindle your digestive fire.
- Use healthy fats such as ghee, mustard oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil during menstruation to prepare your meals.
- Do not consume processed foods, extremely oily, burnt or grilled foods. Avoid chili altogether.
- Do not overeat. Consume food in small portions such that they are easy to digest and do not overload the digestive system.
- Stop or reduce caffeine during menstruation. Caffeine increases Vata Dosha and Pitta Dosha. It also reduces sleep.
- Reduce your salt and sugar intake. For sugar, replace it with natural sweeteners such as molasses, jaggery, and honey.
- Hydrate the body well with herbal teas and concoctions during menstruation. This will nurture your body and mind and also balance the Vata Dosha.
8. Meditation and Mindfulness
Regular practice of meditation helps to promote mental wellness. It has been studied that meditation is highly effective in management and prevention of health disorders related to mood swings, anxiety, depression and irritation.
Meditation and mindfulness also improves the levels of brain chemicals such as Serotonin and Dopamine. Thus, it helps to reduce the intensity and frequency of PMS symptoms.
You can also engage in relaxing mental activities such as gardening, drawing, colouring or walking in nature.
9. Pranayama and Breathing Exercises | Natural Remedies for PMS
Breathing exercises push much needed oxygen through the body of woman, who is suffering from PMS symptoms. You can practice breathing exercises during menstruation or at anytime during your menstrual cycle.
Pranayama techniques that are specifically targeted for Dosha balance will help you to relieve your specific symptoms. It is one of the most effective techniques to balance Vata dosha.
Pranayama and breathing exercises improve circulation throughout the body, reduce oxidative stress, prevent inflammation and balance hormones.
Start with simple techniques such as deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing (Anuloma Viloma Pranayama) and make it part of your daily routine.
Are there medications for PMS?
Yes, you can get over-the-counter medications for premenstrual syndrome. But is it the best?
No, that’s not the best. It is recommended that you try the natural approaches that have been suggested here.
If you want to depend on medications, it can lead to undesirable side effects in the long run. Therefore, though it might be tempting to get some quick relief, medications are not the best choice.
Hold on a minute: Is it PMS or not?
How do you know exactly its PMS? What if it’s something else?
As we stated earlier, women usually experience some not-too-pleasant symptoms right before menstruation. But then, when has it become premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or even premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)? What if it’s some more serious condition like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
The best way to know for sure is to track your period. Are you experiencing the symptoms roughly during the same stage of your cycle? Do symptoms appear 5 days before the period starts and ends 4 days after it starting? If so, then it’s most likely PMS.
However, when the symptoms get very severe and even debilitating, it has graduated into PMDD.
Some conditions can cause PMS to be more painful than usual, such as endometriosis and PCOS. Also, taking hormonal contraceptives can cause PMS-like symptoms because they vary the hormone levels in your body.
Check out Hormone Balance with Ayurveda, a holistic health programme. Receive personalized Ayurvedic treatment and step-by step guidance on diet and lifestyle to balance hormones and find relief from PMS symptoms.
Takeaway before you go
- First, you need to change that mindset that menstruation is a curse. No, it is not. It is part of what makes you a woman. Begin to consider it as a natural detoxification system that you have. Really, menstruation does clean you out.
- Don’t wait till you start experiencing the symptoms before you practice these natural remedies for PMS. You should take good care of yourself round the month. Exercise, eat healthily, and you will have less struggle with premenstrual syndrome.
- Avoid Vata disturbing activities in the week before your menstruation. You have learned that Vata is in control of menstruation and is the primarily disturbed dosha. Ensure that the Vata dosha is well balanced before your period in which you experience the symptoms.
Now we want to hear from you. Have you tried any of these natural remedies for PMS? How was your experience? What worked and what didn’t? Do let us know your questions and suggestions in comments. We will get back to you the soonest
Wishing you vibrant heatlh!
- Bharti Sharma, Subhash Sharma, Ayurvedic Concept Of Premenstrual Syndrome With Special Reference To Pittavritta Vyana Vayu, International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research, June 2017.
- AYURVEDIC MANAGEMENT OF PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME: A CASE STUDY
- A Comparison of Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives of Premenstrual Syndrome
- MENSTRUAL HEALTH AND AYURVEDA