How To Manage PMS Symptoms When They're At Their Worst
PMS was my excuse as a teenager for being irritable and emotional and for missing school. It really turned my world upside down and I wasn’t using it as an excuse, it really was to blame for my own version of crazy. As an adult, it’s a little hard to skip out on life's responsibilities or blame it on your cycle when you flip out at the office.
PMS can cause physical, emotional and mental changes. It can flare up and cause irritability, depression, mood swings, cramping, bloating, migraines, acne, and more.
What if I told you, you might be doing things to make your PMS worse?! It’s true, and just think it’s possible you could change a few habits and enjoy less of those ups and downs each month. Why would this work? Because at the end of the day PMS (premenstrual syndrome) isn’t normal at all and you shouldn’t have to deal with it.
Here is a list of things you might be doing to make your PMS worse!
1- Yummy Caffeine!
Chai, coffee, soda are the obvious ones but did you know things like fancy water brands, chocolate, ice cream, protein bars, cereal and even decaffeinated coffee have caffeine too? The fact is, it’s super hard to stay away from caffeine when you love it for one and two because it’s in a lot of things you wouldn’t consciously think about.
Caffeine is great as a morning pick-me-up or to keep you alert during a long shift but it also increases anxiety and irritability. Not to mention it can change your sleep pattern. It’s not easy to cut this out of your diet but see if you can find other enjoyable drinks.
Other ways to get a new boost of energy or wake up are stretches, a balanced meal, a glass of cold water, a cold shower, upbeat music, and fresh air.
2- Current Step Count: 0
I don’t wear a Fitbit or anything like that but even they suggest getting in at least 250 steps per hour! The bottom line is, exercise, moving around and being active isn’t just awesome for your heath, it helps with your PMS.
Exercise improves circulation and blood flow, it improves your mood, and helps regulate your hormones. Easy things you can do while inside on a busy schedule are walk and talk, if you have to be on the phone, walk around with your phone. Take a break and do a 10-minute workout.
Going to the mall or leaving a large parking lot, then take the stairs. Every time you go to the grocery store, park a little farther away. Obviously you should get in a lot more exercise than this but it’s a start!
3- I Just Love Salty Foods
Well, even if you love them… try not to have them before or during your period. Salt is a chemical compound made up of sodium and chloride. And in actuality, it's the sodium that's really detrimental to your health and your PMS.
Sodium makes your PMS suddenly worse with bloating and water retention because water binds to sodium. What should you do about it? Try avoiding adding salt to your meals and any processed foods that contain high sodium levels. Eat more fruits and vegetables to help flush out your body of its current sodium intake.
4- Dear Stress, let’s Break Up
Do it, say good-bye to all that stress. It isn’t just making your PMS worse, it’s making everything worse. Stress is a poison and in the modern world, stress is attached to almost everything if we let it.
Suffering from long-term stress without relief can increase your body’s cortisol levels and throw your hormones off-balance. Try finding a new way to look at the things in your life that are making you stressed and find a way to change the situation in your mind or in reality. You can also try to counter stress with things that help you relax like yoga, meditation, deep breathing or a warm bath.
5- “Giving up smoking is easy… I’ve done it hundreds of times!” -Mark Twain
Obviously quitting anything, including caffeine isn’t easy. However sometimes seeing the benefits of an action can help you finally turn over a new leaf. Smoking inhibits blood flow and circulation which happens to have a negative affect on your hormone balance.
This is because poor circulation can affect your estrogen and progesterone levels and this makes PMS a lot less fun. You have to be ready to stop smoking if you want to actually succeed in kicking it for good.
6- I Probably get 4 Hours of Sleep a Night
If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of sleep, your body is going to make you pay for it eventually, at least with PMS symptoms if not more. Our bodies need sleep for a lot of reasons, including regulating our body temperature and making sure our organs are functioning properly.
Your uterus is an organ and so lack of sleep can negatively impact it and its ability to function normally. Getting poor quality sleep or just not enough of it can mess with your hormones, and increase your stress levels. Not to mention that less sleep can affect your emotions, mental clarity and eating habits.
A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that women with sleep disorders often have irregular menstrual periods as well.
7- A Margarita to Take the Edge Off?
Maybe not the best idea, because alcohol right before or during your cycle actually can make your PMS symptoms worse.
Studies have shown that drinking can make you 45% more likely to experience PMS symptoms. If you have more than a drink a day, that number creeps to almost 80%. Why does this happen? It’s probably because alcohol increases our estrogen and depletes magnesium levels as well as a few more things you can read about here.
If you’re still experiencing bad pms symptoms check out this blog on the 5 key supplements for PMS. Supplements really do work, it might just take some trial and error to figure out what your body needs.
The other option is to make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss possible treatments. There is always an effective treatment plan, it’s just taking the time to find the best one for you.
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.