Premenstrual syndrome. If you’re female, it’s something you wish you’d never been acquainted with. If you’re not female– let’s just say, you’d best just stay out of the way during that time of the month. Unless you want serious trouble and possibly a minor injury or two!
While it is a perfectly natural event in the female body, it can be far from pleasant. Some women (and girls) experience horrible cramping, pain, and excessive bleeding. I knew someone who actually had black-outs during her period. On the other hand, some ladies are hardly affected by its course at all. (Lucky them!)
There have been days when all I could do was lie on the bed, ‘waiting for the storm to pass’. It was a matter of just surviving. All my plans for the day got put on hold because I just couldn’t operate.
Simply put, PMS has been nothing short of a nightmare for me.
But the thing about life is this, it doesn’t just stop and wait for you to get over your physical discomforts. There’s work to be done, tasks to accomplish, and schedules to follow.
So what can you do to make that time of month less of a pain – literally? Here are some things that really help with me get PMS relief.
Red raspberry leaf
One of the main causes for PMS is hormonal imbalance. The drastic rise and fall of estrogen levels are often what causes cramping and other obnoxious PMS symptoms. Red raspberry leaf is excellent for combating this problem because it supplies calcium and magnesium. A deficiency of either can result in severe leg cramping. (On a side note, it’s interesting that this herb is also great for growing kids, and tweens entering puberty.)
After a bit of research, I decided to conduct an experiment. I read that drinking lots of red raspberry leaf tea before and during your period can alleviate pain and cramping drastically.  “It regulates irregular menstrual cycles and decreases heavy periods.”
I wanted to see if this was true. So for a month, I drank a ton of hot red raspberry leaf tea, several cups a day, minimum. And since red raspberry leaf is also a flu/colds combatant, I figured an immune system boost would be icing on the cake.
Well, that time of month rolled around and I waited to see what would happen. Absolutely nothing! No cramps! No excessive bleeding! No pain! It was the easiest period I’ve ever experienced. Ever since then, I’ve been swearing by red raspberry leaf tea.
You can find it in the grocery store or in bulk from suppliers online. (My favorite supplier is BulkHerbStore.com.) The key is to drink it consistently and not just during your period so it can regulate your estrogen levels and keep your magnesium/calcium balances where they should be.
Lavender essential oil
Rubbing a couple drops of lavender essential oil in your abdomen can bring some localized relief to cramping. It’s well known for removing nervous and muscular tension, and brings a soothing presence which is definitely welcome during periods. Hot baths with lavender oil (five to ten drops) can also be helpful, although dropping everything to jump in the bathtub is rarely an option during the day.
If you want to stock up on lavender oil, be sure to keep it, and all essential oils, stored in a cool, dark location.
Applying heat for PMS relief
Heating pads can bring instant relief for moderate pain and cramping. Just hold it against the area where it hurts the most. Crafting a simple heating pad is super easy. All you need is an old sock and rice! Fill the sock with rice and tie the end securely. Heat in the oven at a low temperature or in the microwave for a few minutes. You can also buy a purpose-made heating pad.
Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle
The best medicine is the preventative kind. If your internal balances are off, you will feel the consequences. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients and minerals you need. Vitamin/mineral deficiencies cause all kinds of ailments and directly affect your cycle negatively.
Eat more foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. At the same time, reduce or avoid the simple carbs found in sweets and refined foods. Exercise at least three times a week. Do moderate stretching every day to keep the blood flowing and your metabolism awake. Get enough sleep, not just the bare minimum.
Salt is vital to the human body’s basic functions, but during your period it can aggravate the system and make the situation worse. “Limit your intake of salt, as it aggravates water retention and leads to bloating.” 
Every woman’s body is different. What works for me, or your friend, or your mother, might not work for you. It’s vital to pay attention to the signals your own body sends. Connect with how you function, and experiment with different methods and watch how your body responds. Ultimately, only you can determine what works best for you.
 “Be Your Own Doctor”, Rachel Weaver, M.H.
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