PMS relief: Can supplements help?
We've all heard the jokes and stereotypes about it, but when it comes to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), it's no laughing matter for the millions of women who experience it every month. During PMS, your emotions might throw a party of their own. You might find yourself laughing one minute and crying the next. It's like your feelings have their own dance routine, and sometimes they perform a surprise number! But PMS isn't just about emotions; it can also bring some physical symptoms such as bloating, tender breasts, or even an acne breakout.
The symptoms usually occur in the late stage of the luteal phase (1-2 weeks before the menstrual phase) and subside once menstruation starts. The long list of symptoms includes fatigue, abdominal cramps, breast tenderness, bloating, headaches, fluid retention, food cravings, mood changes, irritability, feeling depressed, and more.
Around 80% of women experience some form of PMS before their periods. Although many of them feel mild discomfort, about 20% of these women can suffer from symptoms severe enough to affect their work and social life. A more extreme form of PMS can be seen in 5%-8% of women and is classified as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
PMS is a multifaceted phenomenon driven by complex interactions between hormones, neurotransmitters, inflammatory responses, and individual variations. PMS is not seen in the life phases of a woman in which menstruation is absent, such as pregnancy and menopause, which indicates a strong connection between the two.
PMS is closely linked to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen and progesterone, two key hormones, fluctuate throughout the month. The second half of the cycle is characterized by increased levels of progesterone and decrease of estrogen, which may contribute to PMS symptoms. The interplay between these hormones and their intricate effects on neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain influences mood, behavior, and physical sensations.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and emotions, plays a crucial role in PMS. Some studies suggest that serotonin levels may fluctuate during the premenstrual phase, contributing to mood disturbances and behavioral changes. Lower serotonin levels have been associated with increased irritability, depression, and anxiety commonly experienced during PMS. This intricate interplay between hormones, neurotransmitters, and their receptors in the brain contributes to the emotional and behavioral symptoms of PMS.
Finally, studies suggest that the immune system and inflammatory responses may play a role in the development of physical symptoms associated with PMS, such as breast tenderness, bloating, and headaches. Increased levels of inflammatory markers and altered cytokine levels have been observed in women experiencing PMS. The exact mechanisms linking inflammation to PMS symptoms are still being explored.
Is there a cure for PMS?
As of yet, there is no magic pill that can cure PMS for good, but it can be effectively controlled with lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and certain therapies. These lifestyle habits can reduce PMS symptoms and make a significant difference.
Being more physically active, eating a balanced diet, and reducing stress levels are the three main habits you can implement to manage your PMS symptoms. You should also focus on getting good quality sleep as it helps with many PMS symptoms.
Light to moderate physical exercises will help boost your energy levels and improve your mental well-being. Balanced eating habits will minimize symptoms like bloating and food cravings, and during the time PMS hits, it might be beneficial to eat a few smaller meals frequently rather than eating 2-3 larger meals. Trying yoga, meditation, or mindfulness exercises to reduce stress and calm your mood is always a good idea!
It is also important to break bad habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as they may worsen your symptoms.
Can supplements help with PMS symptoms?
When it comes to managing PMS, painkillers, birth control, and antidepressants are often the go-to solutions. However, there are natural and empowering alternatives in the ever-evolving world of science that are worth exploring. The latest advances in the field of food supplements can help promote well-being and empower women to take control of their menstrual health.
Here we discuss a few food supplements that are known to help in managing your PMS symptoms:
Calcium: Studies have found that women who experience PMS have low blood calcium levels. Moreover, calcium levels were reported to go down in the luteal phase, in which PMS occurs. Calcium supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms such as fatigue, appetite changes, and depression in women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome.
Magnesium: Magnesium levels have been shown to change throughout the menstrual cycle, and magnesium deficiency has been found in women with PMS. Magnesium supplementation effectively decreased symptoms such as food cravings, depression, anxiety, and pain-related symptoms. Researchers propose that these benefits arise due to the muscle-relaxing effects brought about by magnesium.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is proven to specifically reduce premenstrual depression and anxiety along with other PMS-related symptoms. Its efficacy has been shown to improve significantly when combined with magnesium.
Vitamin D: Supplementation with vitamin D has been found to reduce several symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including backache and mood swings. It also decreases the severity of pain associated with dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is known to reduce physical and psychological symptoms such as food cravings, depression, anxiety, and water retention.
Chasteberry extract: Traditionally used to treat menstruation-related symptoms, chasteberry extract has been confirmed effective in reducing the severity of PMS symptoms, especially breast tenderness.
Lemon balm extract: Studies have shown that Lemon balm extract reduces the severity of PMS symptoms, thus improving the quality of life for women suffering from premenstrual disorders.
Dong Quai extract: Dong quai has been widely used in herbal preparations as a therapy for PMS.
Lactobacillus strains: In addition to the supplements and lifestyle changes discussed above, supplementing with specific types of probiotics may have several important benefits for women who experience PMS. Maintaining a balanced vaginal microbiome may help reduce some menstruation-related symptoms such as dysmenorrhea, mood changes, and vaginal yeast infections. An unbalanced microbiome can promote vaginal inflammation, thus increasing the likelihood and severity of dysmenorrhea. Low abundance of Lactobacilli specifically has been linked to dysmenorrhea. Lactobacillus strains, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus ruteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, have been studied for their ability to influence hormone levels, improve mood symptoms, and reduce inflammation associated with PMS.
Novomins PMS Gummies are infused with all of the science-backed ingredients listed above including a multistrain mix of beneficial bacteria.
By taking control of your lifestyle habits, exploring natural supplements, and maintaining a balanced vaginal microbiome, you can effectively manage and alleviate the symptoms of PMS, empowering yourself to lead a healthier and more comfortable life during your menstrual cycle.