I voxed my friend Sarah a couple of weeks ago with OMG girl, I have been PMSing for like a week now. I can’t even believe I’m saying this but I’m about 15 minutes away from running out and buying a pregnancy test. WTH! And without skipping a beat, Sarah goes, Oh girl. You ain’t pregnant. It’s called WELCOME TO YOUR FORTIES.
And I was like….Silence….furrowed brow…..dots connect….uhhhhhhhh. AKA, the five stages of realizing you are knocking on menopause’s door.
I mean total mixed emotions here. Part of me is like good riddance. I’m okay with not getting my period. Enough already with the NFP and tampons and pain and bad moods. And then the other part of me is like, wait, is this a peek into the next 10 years of my life? Because girl, let’s do the math. A week of PMS + a week of a period = 2 weeks a month PMSing and the last time I checked that ratio is like half my life. Not. Cool.
So with an oh heck no, and the best Instagram community ever, I crowd sourced some natural ways to manage and reduce PMS pain. I haven’t had a chance to go through all of these options and try them but many of you asked to share what others said so here it is. Just wait until next month when I’m feeling super extra….*tries all remedies simultaneously*…
The really cool thing about this list is it’s not some freelancer cutting an pasting a bunch of ideas from the internet. This is YOU! A holistic community of women who have come together to share what ACTUALLY works month in and month out. So thank you!
* I starred suggestions that were mentioned the most repeatedly.
Natural PMS Remedies
1. *Topical magnesium – Why? Dr. Jolene Brighten explains it helps lower prostaglandins. Those are the hormone-like substances that cause cramping, which can be severe and debilitating. Elevated levels of prostaglandins are associated with more painful menstrual cramps. One reader pointed out that topical is better because oral magnesium can get destroyed in the gut.
2. A hot bath with epsom salt
3. Ashwagandha – in your warm beverage or smoothie
4. *Turmeric supplements, fresh turmeric added to food like:
- Wellness Mama’s Golden Milk Recipe
- Curcumin – A turmeric extract. I found this supporting study to explain.
5. CBD: oil, salve, tincture…
6. *Full Spectrum Hemp Oil – Some women asked which one to use. I got a few samples from Functional Remedies at the Natural Products Expo. This company oversees the entire process from seed to bottle. And they claim to produce the most potent, effective and raw full spectrum hemp oil in the world. I’ve used it a few times as a sleep aid and I think it really works.
7. Temperature or hydrotherapy
- *Hot water pad on tummy – I have to say this really helps. I found this cute silicone hot water bottle – BPA, plastic and rubber free!
- Hot herbal packs
- Ice packs
8. V-Steam – Okay I had the opportunity to try this a few months ago at a local wellness boutique but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. V-Steam is exactly what it sounds like – making a pot of tea for your vagina and then squatting over it. It’s supposed to provide relief by it’s warmth and by boosting circulation. I was skeptical but then after talking about it more, I found out you can actually do it at home AND apparently there are some people who can make you an herbal blend to suit your exact needs. I’m kinda sold. Here’s Well + Good’s take on it.
9. Lots of sleep – Just typing these words makes me happy. Taking magnesium can also aid in falling asleep and staying asleep.
10. Light Exercise
- *Red Raspberry Leaf Tea by Traditional Medicinals
- Healthy Cycle Tea by Traditional Medicinals
- Yogi Moon Cycle Tea
- Chaste Tree Berry – or Chaste Tree capsules. One reader commented: Standard Process is too strong, so go with Oregon’s Wild Harvest
- Chamomile Tea
12. Ginger fresh or steeped – I have to say this has been my personal go-to for years. And guys, it really works. The first time I tried it, I got my period UNEXPECTEDLY! Meaning the ginger totally masked all of my PMS pain and one day I legit got my period by surprise. LIKE, NO PMS. I love keeping fresh ginger in the freezer. No need to peel it first. This keeps it fresh and helps it last longer plus it’s easier to grate. I use a microplane and finely grate it into the water I drink all day.
13. Celery juice daily
14. Maya Massage
15. Kava-kava extract for mood – related study
17. Evening Primrose – Web MD says: “Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis), contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), is often mentioned as an antidote to breast pain, but there’s insufficient evidence that it works.” However I had several woman testify it did work for them so worth a try!
18. Dark chocolate – I love this one.
19. Bioidentical Progesterone – More on bioidentical hormones here.
20. Seed Cycling – Eating food (seeds) to balance hormones. Read more here.
21. Acupuncture – I am so dying to try this for so many reasons. It can be expensive but some places will do community acupuncture which is essentially a common room with several people getting treated at the same time, and you can get it for a lot cheaper like $30/$40 treatment.
22. Foam Rolling
23. Apricots (dried or fresh)
24. Avoid caffeine
26. Oona – An herbal supplement for menopause. There are a couple of versions of this. My friend Dr. Sarah swears by their Type 1
(just bought it!) but they also have Type 2 available. UPDATE! Canceled my order. What I linked to is a menopause supplement. Their PMS supplement is currently Out Of Stock until further notice.
27. Dr. Christophers Changease herbal supplement
28. Aunt Flow
29. Hormone Master by Dr. Jess
30. Vitex Berry
31. Eliminate sugar
32. Fix leaky gut
33. AmpCoil – Sound therapy that “combines the right technology to cleanse the body and support nutrition + organ systems on a cellular level.” Testimonials say this helps with Lyme, Hashimotos, Graves, autoimmunity, headache, depression, acne, PMS……WOW!
34. Calcium + Vitamin B6: NIH notes research has produced weak evidence suggesting that calcium can relieve PMS symptoms when taken at a dose of between 1,000 and 1,200 mg a day. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) may possibly help when taken at a dose of about 50 to 100 mg per day. Both of these supplements have to be taken continuously throughout the month.
All of the essential oils
Here are some of the oils you guys said are your go-tos! Remember if you are applying straight essential oils to your skin, you most likely need whats called a carrier oil. Meaning you need to dilute it first with an oil like coconut, jojoba, argan, olive oil…before applying.
- Period by Saje
- Clary Sage by Saje to balance hormones
- *Clary Calm doTERRA topically on abdomen
- Deep Blue Blend doTERRA
- Dragon Time by Young Living
- Lavender Oil
- Geranium Oil
- Evening Primrose Oil
Nontoxic Period Care
While we are on the topic, remember to choose organic when it comes to tampons or consider trying a period cup. I was so chicken but I finally tried a period cup this year and it seriously has changed my life. I change it 2x a day (8am and 8pm) plus zero waste plus I never have to buy a tampon again! All cups are not created equal though so if you try one and it’s uncomfortable, try another because we are all different shapes and sizes so what works for one girl may not work for you. For example, I hated the Diva Cup but ended up loving SAALT. (Try the regular if you have had kids vaginally and the small if you haven’t).
Thank you guys for making this list so awesome and comprehensive. There are so many things to try here. What do you do to manage PMS naturally?
As always, I am not a doctor. Use this list as a reference but please seek medical advice from your own doctor.
Cover art by Emily Proud