Your 5 Step Guide to Overcoming PMS

As if the monthly vaginal bleeding wasn’t bad enough, women also have to survive the physical pain and emotional toll that Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) takes on our bodies. For some women, PMS symptoms are debilitating to the point that they interfere with everyday activities. Although you may feel like PMS is an uncontrollable force that consumes your body every month like clockwork, there are a few things you can do to win the monthly battle.

1. Exercise

On first thought, exercise probably seems like the last thing you want to do in the days leading up to and during your period. You are riddled with stomach cramps and have virtually no energy to spare. However, aerobic exercise actually helps to increase your energy levels. Once you get past that initial fatigue, you’ll find you feel much more refreshed and energized after just 30 minutes on the Elliptical. Not to mention the endorphines you release during your cardio session will do wonders for your mood.

2. Adjust Your Diet

Although the temptation is there to raid the pantry for anything that will help satisfy those cravings, try to focus on taking in foods that will combat your symptoms. Complex carbohydrates have been known to help mitigate mood swings, so go for things like pasta, wheat bread and whole grain cereal (sorry, that chocolate cake isn’t going to cut it). Eat your fill of foods high in calcium like yogurt and milk to help with digestion and minimize bloating. Finally, try to reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as their respective stimulant and depressant effects can reek havoc on your mental state.

3. Take a Dietary Supplement

Calcium has been known to reduce the severity of both physical symptoms and the mood swings associated with PMS. Magnesium supplements can be taken to help reduce water retention which in turn combats uncomfortable bloating.

4. Relax

This is one that any premenstrual woman can get on board with. During PMS nothing sounds more appealing than putting on a comfy pair of sweatpants and taking up residence on the couch. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a possibility, so you’ll have to settle for other relaxation techniques. Squeeze in a 30 minute yoga session during your lunch break to help combat anxiety and refresh your mood. Also, make sure to get plenty of rest in order to fight off mood swings and fatigue.

5. Medication

If you experience truly unbearable PMS symptoms, your Ob-Gyn may suggest treating your symptoms with medication. Certain hormonal contraceptives have been known to mitigate the physical symptoms associated with PMS, such as bloating, cramps and acne, but do not typically have an affect on the mental symptoms. In very severe cases, anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed to help combat the harsh mood swings and anxiety that can come with PMS.

There’s really nothing pleasant about that little monthly visitor that shows up uninvited and unannounced. But, alas, it’s one of the burdens we as women are chosen to bear, so it’s up to us to fight our way through it. The next time you find yourself suffering a particularly tumultuous cycle, try a few of these tricks to get you through it.