How to Deal With Your PMS Successfully
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Published by TOP4 Team
Who can relax when they’re suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which affects about three-quarters of women at one time or another? For most women, it’s a fairly mild nuisance – a bit of fluid retention making shoes and waistbands nip too tightly, a day or so when people seem unusually irritating or life looks bleak. Then our period starts and everything’s back to normal. For some, through, it means major upheaval.
Since PMS is caused by a temporary imbalance in the female hormone (too much oestrogen or too little progesterone) and possibly an imbalance in brain chemicals too, the answer is to try to balance things out again.
When suffering from PMS, here’s what you should do.
- Try to carry on as normal and be positive about life, even though you may feel bloated and depressed. This mood, as you well know, is temporary and will pass. It’s not due to some earth-shattering event in your life, merely a passing biological imbalance. So stop feeling self-pity, and get on with living. Awareness of why you feel the way you do is half the battle won.
- Examine your feelings honestly, and see whether your depression isn’t just an excuse not to stir yourself into action.
- Go for a walk. There’s nothing like walking to lift your mood, and to get rid of that bloated feeling.
- Keep moving. Exercise makes your body produce feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Women are often low on these the week before a period, which accounts for the low spirits. Try an aerobics class, go for a run with the dog or children, put on some lively music and dance all by yourself – anything to speed up your heart and get those endorphins moving.
- Eat little and often, especially if you find yourself wanting to nibble all the time. Instead of raiding the biscuit tin, have six small meals a day of wholesome carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, fruit and vegetables. You can prevent mood swings by keeping your blood sugar levels steady.
Eating to fight off the blues
Changing your diet could solve PMS problems. Unfortunately, chocolate only cheers you up till you step on the scales – the solution is more likely to come in vegetable shape. Modern convenience foods cause a lot of women’s hormonal problems because they’re packed with saturated fat, which makes the body produce too much oestrogen.
The Women’s Nutritional Advisory Service finds that different kinds of PMS are caused, or made worse, by a shortage of nutrients. The service offers some general advice:
- To counteract all forms of PMS, stock up on vitamin B6 and magnesium. If your symptoms tend to be nervous tension, mood swings and anxiety, these may be all you need.
Vitamin B6 sources: Fish, liver, bacon, beans, yeast extract, tomato puree and bananas
Magnesium sources: Muesli, oatmeal, dried fruit and dried skimmed milk
Both: Wholemeal bread, soya flour, mung beans and nuts
- To counteract weight gain, bloating and tender breasts, aside from vitamin B6 and magnesium, add some vitamin E from oils (sunflower-seed, peanut, olive or cod-liver), nuts, salmon, tuna, blackberries, spinach and avocado.
- To counteract headaches, exhaustion, dizziness and craving for sweets, add chromium from rye bread, calf liver, eggs, brewer’s yeast, peppers and potatoes.
To counteract depression, confusion and insomnia you need vitamin C – weight for weight, there’s even more in blackcurrants, parsley, canned guavas, strawberries, peppers and raw red cabbage than in oranges.
For your overall health, have a regular check-up at a medical centre near you.