It’s estimated that women have 451 menstrual cycles during their lifetime. That’s almost 35 years that half the population must endure and navigate the menstrual cycle landscape of constant mood swings, period cramping, bloating, breast pain, menstrual headaches, and hormonal acne. Some women have these period cramps and pains worse than others, but almost every woman experiences some sort of monthly menstrual-related discomfort. And even with the prevalence of menstruation, only recently, and only in some parts of the world, has it become a bit less taboo. The stigma around periods is likely a huge contributor to the lack of information around and resources for menstrual pain relief.
So, what is out there to help us get through these Shark Week pains? Midol always comes to mind. And of course, there are hot pads, teas, suppositories, and other over-the-counter painkillers for menstrual pain relief. But here are a couple of natural PMS remedies and things to keep in mind that I’ve learned throughout my own menstrual journey.
MENSTRUATION TIPS & TRICKS
This is key! Make sure you are aware of when your period is expected to arrive so you can plan and prepare accordingly. I should have started doing this years ago. I would get super irritable and start seeing a couple pimples, and then finally, it dawned on me—I’m about to start my period. If I know my period is coming on or around a specific day, I can plan work meetings and social gatherings so that I don’t have to be dealing with fluctuating hormones and period cramps during these important times. There are many good apps out there that can help you do this. The app that I use to track my period is Flo. Flo is also a great tool to use while trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy.
EAT A NUTRITIOUS DIET
Being conscious of what you are putting in your body is much more proactive and effective than eating an unbalanced diet and trying to fix it later with medications and even exercise (although exercise is always good, too!). However, don’t be afraid of giving into some cravings or all your well-balanced eating might give way to binging on your favorite chocolatey treats. A little ice cream or some chips and dip may give you a much-needed mood boost! But it’s all about balance.
Exercising releases the naturally occurring endorphins in our body and can improve our overall mood. This is so important in warding off those feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue before and during your period. While exerting yourself physically might be the last thing you feel like doing while you’re battling PMS, you’re bound to feel rejuvenated coming out of your favorite workout class.
ASSESS UNDERLYING CONDITIONS FOR MOOD SWINGS
Not all hormonal fluctuations and mood swings are related to PMS and menstruation. If your mood swings are severe or if you constantly feel anxious, depressed, or tired, there may be something else going on. These feelings could be from a chemical imbalance in your body or related to negative life situations.
OVER-THE-COUNTER MENSTRUAL PAIN RELIEF, HEATING PADS, TENS
MIDOL, TYLENOL, IBUPROFEN, ADVIL
There are quite a few over-the-counter options to help address period cramping, bloating, and headaches. Probably the most well-known is Midol. In an Extra Strength Menstrual Midol Complete caplet, the three active ingredients are Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), Pyrilamine Maleate, and caffeine. Acetaminophen provides menstrual pain relief. Pyrilamine Maleate is an antihistamine and diuretic, which helps to alleviate water retention. Caffeine is used to reduce bloating and fatigue.
Maybe one of the most natural PMS remedies and immediate means to get menstrual pain relief is by using an externally applied device. A heating pad is a great way to relax your uterine muscles which increases blood flow to the area, reducing period cramp pain. Another device you can try is a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit which sends electrical currents via electrodes that are placed on the skin. This stimulates the nerves in the area needing relief, which keeps pain signals from reaching the brain. And always remember that the kind of tampons and pads we use during our periods can affect how we feel as well. So look for certified organic cotton tampons free of chemicals, pesticides or toxins.
NATURAL PMS REMEDIES: CBD + 4 MAGICAL SUPPLEMENTS
Some believe hemp CBD to be the newest effective natural PMS remedy for menstrual pain relief to hit the market, but cannabis has been used for menstrual maladies for centuries. CBD is an abbreviation for a compound called cannabidiol. This compound is naturally found in the hemp plant. Along with 113 other active compounds, CBD is grouped under an umbrella term called cannabinoids. CBD does not produce a high or cause any psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD is a therapeutic compound that helps your body achieve a natural balance by protecting your body’s endocannabinoid system. Hemp CBD has been reported to help restore your hormonal balance, minimize changes in mood, and reduce inflammation, all helping you ease those monthly menstrual pains. You can administer CBD either topically via tinctures and creams, intravaginally via suppositories, or orally via ingestible capsules.
In addition to relaxing uterine muscles and aiding in quality sleep, magnesium may also reduce anxiety and hormonal acne by impacting the production of cortisol in your body. It has been shown to work best for PMS relief when used in combination with Vitamin B6.
B-6 is beneficial for a wide range of ailments related to brain development and keeping the nervous and immune system healthy. But it can also address quite a few discomforts which can help with menstrual pain relief. B-6 may help alleviate breast soreness by increasing progesterone. It can also act as a mood enhancer and hormone stabilizer by regulating serotonin levels which reduces food cravings and back pain caused by hormonal fluctuations.
Well, you guessed it, as the name suggests, this herb targets period cramps. It has historically been used by Native Americans for a wide range of illnesses, including inflammation of the uterus. It may help block spasms of the smooth muscle in the uterus, reducing PMS and endometriosis-related discomfort. It has also been used to reduce migraines and fluid retention (aka period bloat)!
Many PMS products include caffeine to help fight fatigue. But having an all-natural caffeine ingredient such as green tea is good for more than just energy. It helps curb any coffee cravings, which you should try to avoid while menstruating as coffee and cramping are not a good duo! Green tea is also high in theanine, which has been found to relax muscles, including those found in your nervous system, thereby decreasing some mood swings associated with PMS. In addition, green tea is loaded with antioxidants, which help keep you hydrated and have been reported to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. These can respectively reduce period cramps and period acne.
ALLEVITA – NATURAL MENSTRUAL AND PMS RELIEF
But what about an all-natural menstrual pain relief support system that addresses all the various menstrual symptoms in an easy-to-take capsule? Not to mention affordable! Enter, Allevita.
As the founder of Allevita, my mission was not only to create a product for this hole in the market but, in doing so, educate and support other women. Like a lot of women, I had been on birth control for a large portion of my menstruating life. I wanted to start a family, so I got off the Pill after being on it for almost 15 years. I had forgotten how horrible PMS pains can be and while my body was trying to regulate itself again, my hormones were insane. When I searched the market for an all-encompassing natural PMS relief remedy, the options for menstrual pain relief were limited.
With this natural PMS remedy and support supplement I hope to offer women an effective tool to help them have more control over their bodies and hormones so that Aunt Flow doesn’t ruin another family gathering, business trip, or turn your best friend’s wedding into the red wedding…