PMS symptoms can affect anyone who has periods, and they will affect each person in different ways. While there is no way to completely prevent these symptoms from occurring, there are ways to ease them with lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements. Our expert guide highlights the symptoms you may be experiencing, and how to support your body through them with supplements.
Table of Contents:
- What is PMS?
- 10 Common PMS Symptoms
- Supplements to Ease PMS Symptoms
- What Causes PMS Symptoms?
- How Long Do PMS Symptoms Last?
- 4 More Ways to Support a Healthy Period
What is PMS?
PMS stands for “premenstrual syndrome”, which is experienced during the menstrual cycle. The term describes the side effects and symptoms in the weeks leading up to a period. The period is the name for the days in which the uterus lining sheds and leaves the body through the vagina. This happens on average 28 days, and is one of four stages of the menstrual cycle. Those that menstruate will bleed during this time. PMS symptoms often appear before the period, but this will vary from person to person.
10 Common PMS Symptoms
Experiencing PMS symptoms can be expected during the menstrual cycle. No matter how many periods you have had, you may still experience these premenstrual symptoms, but you may become more used to them as you age. The side effects may vary from month to month. Some common symptoms of PMS include:
- Cramps in the lower abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Tender breasts
- Mood swings
- Feeling irritable/upset
- Spotty or oily skin
- Hot flashes
- Feeling tired
Supplements to Ease PMS Symptoms
It may be possible to tackle these PMS symptoms with pill-free supplements. There are key nutrients your body needs throughout your life, and that applies to the years you menstruate too. Recommended supplements for your period include:
- Iron - This mineral is very important as iron loss is common during menstruation. If you are prone to low levels normally or you experience heavy periods you should consider an iron supplement to keep your levels at optimum.
- B vitamins - Vitamin B supplements, including B6 and B1 can help to relieve PMS symptoms. This is because vitamin B benefits include supporting energy production and cognitive function.
- Vitamin D - An important nutrient for bone support, vitamin D supplements may help to regulate your monthly cycle. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to irregular periods, so maintaining an optimal intake is crucial.
- Magnesium - This mineral is vital thanks to its benefits as a muscle relaxant. This means magnesium supplements could help to relieve tension and muscle aches which are common PMS symptoms. The mineral also plays a role in regulating your melatonin levels, therefore magnesium may help you to sleep better.
- Zinc - This mineral may help to relieve PMS symptoms because zinc benefits your muscle tension, mood fluctuations, and supports the immune system. Therefore, zinc supplements should be considered as part of your healthy period.
- Calcium - This mineral is important for your bones, but could also help to ease menstrual muscle tension, fluid retention, mood disorders, and may help to balance food cravings.
- Vitamin E - Some of the benefits of vitamin E are that it may contribute to the reduction of PMS symptoms, and help to support blood flow.
- Fatty acids - Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids known as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. It is thought fish oils can help to relieve menstrual symptoms. Including these fatty acids in your diet could help to support you through your menstrual cycle.
Supporting your body through its changes doesn’t end when your periods do. Once having monthly periods has ceased, your body may need menopause supplements to help ease you through this transitional period, and provide natural relief to the side effects of menopause too.
What Causes PMS Symptoms?
The causes of PMS symptoms are not immediately clear. It is thought that they are caused by the fluctuations in hormones that occur during the month, in the lead up to the period.
Because of this, not everyone who has a period will experience PMS symptoms in the same way. Some may be more affected by the side effects, and others may feel more close to their usual self during this time.
Some may experience a more intense version of PMS symptoms known as PMDD. This stands for “premenstrual dysphoric disorder”, and can have a more severe effect on your life. If you need advice around PMS and PMDD, we advise you to seek medical advice from your Doctor or medical services.
How Long Do PMS Symptoms Last?
PMS symptoms usually occur a week or two before your period, and in general will stop a few days into the period. However, this will vary for each person, and could vary month to month as well. PMS symptoms may affect women and those with periods each month until they reach the menopause, when periods cease.
PMDD symptoms may last longer than a few weeks, and may span throughout the whole month. Therefore, they can have an extremely detrimental effect on your lifestyle.
4 More Ways to Support a Healthy Period
Not only can supplements help to support your body through PMS symptoms, but there are ways you can adapt your lifestyle in order to seek relief. Some things to consider include:
- Maintaining a proper sleep schedule - Sleep has a vital effect on your whole body, and ensuring you get enough sleep is key to supporting you through PMS symptoms. Sleep supplements are a key part of this, helping to support melatonin production, which signals to your body when it is time to sleep. Additionally, exercising, avoiding caffeine, and sleeping at a regular time each night can all help you get a better sleep routine.
- Eating a healthy diet - Alongside food supplements, eating a balanced diet containing all essential food groups, macros, and nutrients is important. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D, and low in animal fats, salt and caffeine may help to reduce PMS symptoms.
- Exercising regularly - Exercise is important throughout your life, but it could also help with PMS symptoms. Exercising can help to promote regular periods, making them easier to manage. Not only that, but exercise also releases serotonin and endorphins, which are known as “feel-good hormones”. These may help to reduce the mood disturbances which come along with PMS symptoms. Sports supplements can support you through recovery after exercise, to keep you in the best shape for your next workout.
- Reducing stress where possible - When the body experiences stress, the hormone cortisol is produced. This affects your production of estrogen, which is pivotal in the menstrual cycle. Actively trying to reduce stress, perhaps with a warm bath, could therefore help to reduce the severity of your PMS symptoms. Make the most of your self-care time with magnesium bath flakes which can help you wind down whilst soothing your muscles.