That time of the month? We feel you. Every time it rolls around, our periods come with baggage – both physical and emotional.
To give a better sense of what happens in our body monthly and how to cope with period pain and mood swings fast, we have to understand that ovulation and cycle— also called menstruation or bleeding—is controlled by hormones.
What happens to your body when you get your period
Every month, anterior pituitary hormones stimulate the development of a primordial follicle into a mature ovum (egg). The maturation is stimulated by FSH (follicle stimulating hormones). Then, a surge of LH (Luteinizing Hormones) triggers ovulation or the release of the ovum.
Post ovulation, the remaining follicles become the corpus luteum – a temporary follicle – which will produces progesterone and some oestrogen in the hope of getting the eggs fertilized.
This is, the simplified series of events that will lead to our cycle and it is during the Luteal phase, when the corpus luteum is produced, that we will face.... dreaded PMS!
What are the symptoms of PMS
PMS is a series of Pre-Menstrual physical, emotional and psychological symptoms that give us women a terrible reputation (#thestruggleisreal).
The good news is that we can not only alleviate the emotional and physical burden, we can completely forget about it thanks to some super effective natural ways to relieve PMS, including foods that curb discomfort and exercises to release aches and pains.
With mood swings, bloating, pain, fatigue and overall impatience – the symptoms of PMS can really feel like you're being bombarded with a ton of negativity. That's when dietary and lifestyle tweaks can come in and save you not just this month, but every single time you get your period.
Natural remedies for PMS symptoms
Serotonin makes us feel happy and although serotonin interacts in the brain to give us that pleasure, most of it is made in the gut! If our gut doesn’t have the right amount of good bacteria, we struggle to produce serotonin and we are not going to be happy, especially not when we have to deal with our period! Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula is a cult (* had to!) favourite.
2. Eat more good fats
Fats are essential for hormones’ stability, which depends on how we assimilate/absorb the right kind of vitamins. A lot of key vitamins like A, D and K are fat soluble, which means that they need fats to be absorbed. In one case, a study conducted on 2000 women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, showed that those with higher availability of vitamin D suffered from less PMS. However if you're not nourishing yourself with the right kind of fats, taking any supplement is useless. So, enjoy extra virgin olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, flaxseed oil and raw, natural fats to stay healthy and balance your hormones to feel less of the PMS symptoms. Stay away from highly inflammatory and unstable vegetable oils used in a lot of processed food and take away/restaurants. Those actually disrupt our hormones and create havoc on the body.
Maca and Shatavari are commonly-used methods when it comes to balancing hormones. The concept of adaptogens is to help the body balance out its needs so that the effects of a surge or drop in hormones can be minimized. Another awesome adaptogen or supplement to relieve PMS and menstrual cramps is Vitex Agnus-astus. It can help balance the hormones released by the pituitary gland that control your overall hormone function. A study on hormone-balancing Maca and another study based on over 5,000 women have found adaptogens to be very effective on the premenstrual syndrome and PMS.
The Golden powder is a fan favourite to relieve period pain and PMS. Being such a powerful anti-inflammatory, it really allows the body to cope better with the physical symptoms of PMS. Cramps, pain, gut issues and joint stiffness all get better with Turmeric in the equation.
5. Do more Yoga
Stress is inevitable, so it's important to control and manage stress the best we can. One of the most effective exercises to help reduce PMS is yoga. As yoga is an incredible 'moving meditation', it will help you feel grounded and calmer through breath and soft, gentle and functional movements. By moving the body holistically we promote a great release in our lymphatic and circulatory systems, which balance out hormones and help us feel better.
There are so many little steps one can take to ultimately live a PMS-free life. These five surefire tips are not only easy to implement, they offer long-term solutions for overall health.
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