Whether it's bloating, cramps or the blues, most women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point during their lifetime. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that at least 85 percent of menstruating women experience at least one PMS symptom during their monthly cycle! While some may choose over-the-counter medications or hormonal birth-control pills to help alleviate the symptoms, there are plenty of simple, natural ways to relieve PMS that women can turn to instead.
Yoga. While it's not recommended to do a high-impact yoga practice during your cycle, restorative yoga poses such as Queen's Pose (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) support opening the hips and may help relieve symptoms such as constipation and abdominal cramps. For this pose, place a bolster behind you in line with your spine. Recline and bend your knees, then let knees drop outward with your feet together. Place a pillow under each knee for support. You should be fully relaxed in this pose with no straining or stretching. Rest in this pose for 10 minutes for best results.
Nutrition. It should go without saying that broccoli is good for you, but dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are crucial for balancing hormones. Many symptoms of PMS are caused by an imbalance in the reproductive hormones. Eating foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower throughout the month may help your body regulate its hormone levels. Avoid caffeine, refined sugar and carbs for best results.
Herbs. One of the simplest and most popular herbal treatments for menstrual maladies is red raspberry leaf, particularly in tea form. For best results, steep this herb in a covered mug for 10 minutes before drinking. Red raspberry leaf contains alkaloids that tone the uterine muscles and can help guard against cramps.
Sleep. Did you know that getting too little sleep can impact your menstrual cycle. Lack of sleep puts stress on your body, which throws your hormones into imbalance. Help ensure you get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night by keeping your bedroom dark, turning off electronics at least one hour before bedtime, or taking a warm bath before turning in.
Tracy Puhl is the owner of GladRags, washable cloth menstrual pads and menstrual cups that are better for your body, your budget and the environment. Tracy is passionate about period positivity, woman-owned business, and empowering women everywhere to make healthy choices. In her free time, she likes to volunteer, travel, read and cuddle with her fluffy black cat.
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