From mood swings and food cravings, to bloating and tiredness, there are a whole host of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For some useful tips on how to prevent the two-week run up to your period from being a complete nightmare, read on.
Consider your contraceptive choices
Did you know that the combined oral contraceptive pill may reduce your PMS symptoms? If you’re already on the pill but still struggling with premenstrual problems, now might the time to speak to your doctor and discuss your options. If you’re not using this type of contraceptive, you can also get a safe and confidential consultation on contraception from LloydsOnline Doctor, by seeing your GP or going to your local health clinic.
Fancy spending the day up to your eyes in chocolate or elbow-deep in a packet of salt and vinegar crisps? Unfortunately, giving into these temptations will only lead to more mood swings and bloating. Curb your cravings by eating small meals regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar balanced and fluid retention to a minimum. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice and high-fibre cereals are particularly good for keeping unhealthy hankerings at bay. Calcium-packed foods like cheese, milk and yogurt have also been linked with a reduction in PMS symptoms.
To avoid headaches and energy crashes, swap your caffeinated tea or coffee for a glass of water. Cut down on alcohol too as it is notorious for messing with mood and energy levels.
‘Dear Miss, please excuse X from volleyball today as she is suffering with PMS’. Yup, we’ve all tried to get out of PE lessons with this classic excuse. However, if you’re serious about beating the pre-period blues, you need to throw off that duvet you’re wrapped up in and don your running shoes. Getting regular aerobic exercise can not only help you to stay fit and healthy, it can also improve your mental wellbeing and reduce tiredness. So, why not go jogging with your partner, take a spinning class with your bestie or even play skipping with the kids? While it may not seem like the most tempting thing in the world right now, you’ll almost definitely feel a lot brighter afterwards.
The menstrual cycle may be a natural part of being female, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with the stress that it can cause. Try to do at least one thing each day that’s guaranteed to slow down your racing mind and soothe your irritability. Whether that’s taking a indulgent bath, practising yoga, catching up with your girlfriends or kicking back with an episode of your favourite TV show, you’re sure to feel a little better if you take the time to relax and unwind.
Bear in mind that many of the signs of PMS are also associated with other medical and psychological conditions. If you’re worried about any of your symptoms and would like more information and advice, speak to your doctor.