Bloating, cupping your sore boobs in hopes that they will feel better, cramps or debilitating headaches that make you want to curl up on the couch, fatigue, and mood swings – do you get hit by any of these symptoms once a month right before you’re about to get your period? What do you do to take care of yourself?
Here are some of my favourite go-to self-care tips for fighting PMS:
1. Hot bath with a bath bomb or epsom salts
This is my number one go-to for anytime I want to de-stress or relax tight muscles. Hot baths work wonders for back pain and cramps. Try a bath with epsom salts to help your body soak up some magnesium. Research has supported the use of magnesium to calm the nervous system by “normalizing the actions of different hormones on the central nervous system” (Magnesium and the Menstrual Cycle). This can help to soothe cramps as well as prevent hormone-related migraines.
2. Heating pad
A heating pad becomes my next go-to. I’ve been known to pull out a heating pad as a comfort measure while curling up on the couch watching a movie, or at 3:00 am in bed when I’ve been hit by massive cramps unexpectedly. Heating pads soothe cramps the same way that a hot bath can.
One study noted that “the application of local heat can reduce muscle tension and relax abdominal muscles to reduce pain caused by muscle spasms. Heat can also increase pelvic blood circulation to eliminate local blood and body fluid retention and diminish congestion and swelling, thereby enabling a reduction in pain caused by nerve compression."
3. Holy Basil or Red Raspberry Leaf tea
A hot cup of either of these teas may help to soothe some aspects of PMS. Holy Basil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties while Red Raspberry leaves contain a variety of vitamins and minerals including magnesium. An article stated that “red raspberry leaves contain fragarine, a plant compound that helps tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, which may reduce menstrual cramping caused by the spasms of these muscles” (Red Raspberry Leaf Tea).
Eating healthy and exercising regularly have also been shown to fight PMS. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that “exercising and adding calcium rich foods and complex carbohydrates to your diet can help to relieve symptoms of PMS."
What are your go-to self-care tips during your period?
Written by: Robyn Singer