Are you one of those lucky people who suffer from EPIC, OUT OF CONTROL, WORLD-RATTLING PMS? I am. The tears! The rage! The snacks! And the pain. The brutal cramping that makes you want to surgically remove one’s own uterus with the nearest sharp object. Early on I would take whatever pain meds I could get my hands on. And let’s be real, sometimes I still do. But, for any number of reasons, not everyone can do this all of the time. Maybe the side effects make you sick or drowsy. Maybe you are in recovery from addictions. Maybe you can’t convince your doctor that you need a prescription for something stronger than extra strength Midol. But I have learned a few tips and natural remedies along the way that do really help. Read on for seven ways to ease your mind, mood, and body, the natural way.
1. Drink Water
This is the remedy for everything because it truly does make a huge difference to stay properly hydrated. More than once I have forgotten that I was expecting my period, went out for alcoholic drinks, didn’t properly hydrate, and then the next day was dehydrated and hungover on my period, which is the worst experience ever. I do not recommend it. But, if you are properly hydrated and make an effort to drink extra water during your flow, everything will be a little bit easier during that special time.
This is hard. Getting motivated to exercise even when you aren’t on the rag can be a challenge. But moving your body really does help. It is important to remember that you will feel better both during and after exercise than you did before. Even a gentle stretch can help, but if you can work up a sweat it will also help relieve some of the bloating that comes along with PMS.
3. Herbal Remedies
Valerian is a medicinal herb that has been used as a natural sleep aid and anti-anxiety treatment in addition to easing pain. It has a strong smell, but can be utilized in a variety of different forms. You could consume it in tincture form, as a pill, or rolled onto the skin (my girl Melissa at Morphologically offers a roll-on called Celestial Body, just for this purpose!).
Cramp bark also works wonders and can be consumed as a tincture or tea, and evening primrose oil is another option, which can be consumed as a supplement as well.
Consult your doctor, and try them out to see which works best for you. Any natural food store or shop that sells natural medicines (including Whole Body at Whole Foods) will have these things.
A heating pad never fails me. If you are able to take some time to lie down with a heating pad during the worst of your cramps, do it. The heat helps soothe tension, and making time to slow down and rest is sometimes really necessary during a rough PMS spell.
5. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt, which can be purchased at any drug store, has a high level of magnesium and can help relieve muscle tension and inflammation. It’s a great thing to do after a hard workout, but also perfect for when you are having a painful period. Just run a hot bath, pour two cups of Epsom salt in, and have a good soak for at least 20 minutes. The Epsom salt soak can also help relieve bloating. If you want to add some extra healing power, add a few drops of soothing lavender essential oil.
If you can, treat yourself to a massage. Some healing hands on your lower back can really help ease the pain of cramping. If you don’t have access to a masseuse, you can give yourself a massage. Circular motions on your lower abdomen can help relieve the painful pressure associated with your period.
7. Have an Orgasm
This always helps! Have period sex or masturbate. This provides immediate relief from period cramps and releases the endorphins we all need during that time of the month.
Finally, try to think differently about your period. If you can accept PMS as a time of the month when the universe is giving you permission to slow down and take extra good care of yourself, it will feel differently than the un-fun experience many of us know it to be. Challenge yourself to do every one of the things on this list each time Aunt Flo comes to town. That “special time of the month” might become not just a euphemism, but a real true monthly tradition of self-love and wellness.