We think it's safe to say that periods are a bit of a drag.
Not only do we lucky ladies have to put up with the annoying physicalities of menstruation, but quite often the emotional effects of our monthly cycle can be debilitating. Impromptu crying fits, feeling extremely low and depressed, anxiety - yep, all of these things can occur for anything up to five days a month and well, it's just awful right?
Staggeringly, an overwhelming 150 symptoms can be linked to PMS including anything from mood swings and irritability, to constipation and dizziness. Great. Thanks for that Mother Nature.
But listen up, it's time we talked about this. No one should have to feel like they want to curl up and hide away from the world. Steps can be taken to reduce these horrible symptoms once and for all, plus many of the remedies we've suggested below will also serve your headspace in the longer term. No more tears. PMS, we are through.
As with everything, diet is the one way we can effectively all become better human beings. Obviously, things like alcohol and caffeine are only going to heighten chronic PMS and cause hormone imbalance, so if you want to banish the blues then step away from the wine. Susie Perry Debice, a Nutritionist from www.nurturingspirit.co.uk suggests:
'A low level of serotonin is at the route of many mood-related premenstrual symptoms. Serotonin is made from a protein called tryptophan found in egg white, turkey, chicken, fish, cottage cheese, yoghurt, peanuts, oats and pumpkin seeds. By increasing these foods you help provide your body with the raw ingredient needed to boost serotonin levels.'
Dr. Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist in fertility and women’s health, and the author of Overcoming PMS The Natural Way suggests that supplements can really help alleviate neggy PMS feelings:
'Supplements are the best way to make sure you have enough of the essential nutrients to balance your hormones. Certain nutrients can be hugely beneficial when it comes to reducing PMS symptoms.’
‘Both Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are very important when it comes to controlling your mood and behaviour. Vitamin B6 supports production of dopamine and serotonin (a ‘happy’ hormone) and Magnesium is classed as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’ as it helps to reduce anxiety and tension.’
We understand that hitting the gym is probably the LAST thing you feel like when the red flag is flying, but the benefits of exercise are truly remarkable. Louise Johnson, Head Nutritionist at Results with Lucy says:
'Quite often the last thing you want to do when you have PMS is to work out, however this can be the best thing for you. Increasing the blood flow to your muscles can ease any cramps as well as lifting your mood. If you are really not feeling in the mood, maybe swap any intense workouts for a more lighter workout such as a brisk walk, a less intense resistance workout or a gentle swim. Include lots of stretching to help relieve any cramps and to help lift your spirits higher.'
It's true, certain smells can improve your mood. Clinical Aromatherapist Emma Coleman (who has 18 years experience) has a PMS-busting tip which InStyle readers can use at home:
'If you are prone to tearfulness place a 3-4 drops each of Lemon, Geranium and Sweet Orange into an aromatherapy diffuser, onto a hanky or into hot bath water. These oils will not only balance and soothe the nervous system - influenced directly by the endocrine system - but will also uplift mind, giving the sense of optimism. Close the eyes and inhale deeply, making sure the ribs rise with each in-breath, and fall with each out-breath.'
Ever wanted to get into meditation but felt a bit nervous? Don't be.Will Williams, a Vedic meditation teacher and expert has taught all over the world, and is keen to get women with sever PMS meditating:
'Vedic meditation is a simple yet transformative technique that involves silently repeating a mantra which serves to bring the body’s nervous system into a profound state of rest.'
'It is from this deep state of rest that the body can reset itself and the imbalances in one's physiological programming that drive PMS. Vedic meditation also provides a much more stable level of hormonal balance, so there is much less chance of being thrown emotional curveballs by serotonin, glutamate and opiod, which are often found to be at abnormal levels during this time.'
Visit https://www.willwilliamsmeditation.co.uk for more information on classes and workshops.