Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, as it follows, this post should not be used in lieu of medical advice from your doctor. If you are having extremely irregular or painful periods, go to your personal healthcare provider for a professional opinion. This post is solely based upon my own experience dealing with period symptoms over the years, and it should not be considered as professional medical advice.
Periods have an annoying way of making us feel powerless.
Our bodies experience bloating, cramps, mood swings, backaches, nausea, bleeding, and so much more over the course of just a couple of weeks. And this happens every month, again and again, without us having any control over the continuously repeating cycle. If you’re at all like me, you’ve probably become intensely frustrated with the seemingly never-ending symptoms.
I’ve gone through quite a bit of trial and error throughout the years trying to figure out how I could manage my PMS and period pain. It often felt like a sign of weakness that I couldn’t make the symptoms go away. I was worried that people looked down on me for being unable to reign in the wild symptoms that overtook me and impeded my ability to work. To this day I still get anxious about calling into work with cramps- “Do they think I’m faking it and trying to get out of work? Or do they think I’m being a wimp?”
I want to start out by saying that this post is not about giving you the perfect solution. What works for me may or may not work for you. Believe me, I’ve tried an array of remedies, and not all of them have been winners. But it’s my hope that by sharing this info, there will be at least someone out there who finds something that helps them.
I want to note as well that these tips will probably not be 100% effective at what they do. It’s hard to totally get rid of hormonal acne or drive away cramps altogether. I’ve had to develop a flexible approach to PMS & period pain over the years. I’ll try to remedy what I can, but what is still there, I will try to go with the flow and overcome. I have had a tendency to get flu-like symptoms at the start of my periods, as well as extremely strong cramps. I’ve come to the point that I know I simply have to wait out those symptoms. Likely I’ll have to come home and lie down, and I know not to try to stay at work. Being gentle and kind to yourself at this time is important!
So what are some remedies that have provided me sweet relief from PMS and period symptoms? Here’s a list! (I’m counting backward towards the most important, game-changer of a tip that I wished I’d had WAY sooner!)
5. Heating Pads Are Amazing for Backaches
I think this heating pad tip gets repeated often in articles, but it’s usually in relation to uterine cramping. I’ll use a heating pad occasionally for minor cramping, but I’ve recently discovered how relaxing it can be for lower backaches. I don’t know about you, but I tend to get a lot of lower back pain as my period draws nigh. When I put a heating pad on my lower back, the pain is immediately relieved and I feel so much more relaxed.
4. FLO Gummies Can Eliminate Water Bloat
I saw these gummies advertised on Facebook about six months ago, and I figured they seemed worth a try. They claimed to ease bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, and cramps. For me, the area in which I’ve seen the most significant change is in how much water weight I gain before periods. On average, I could gain 2-3 pounds of water weight starting five days or so before my period and going through the first couple of days in the new cycle. I hated the feeling of gaining the extra weight, repeatedly, every month.
FLO gummies have for sure helped eliminate a good portion of the water bloating that I get every month. I still get the tiniest bit, but not nearly as much as before. I think that they help with cramps sometimes too, though that part is often harder to discern given how erratic my period cramps can be.
3. Magnesium Glycinate Can Reduce Hormonal Acne
Did you know there are actually several different types of magnesium supplements? Neither did I until I found this out! Magnesium regulates cortisol and helps balance your body’s hormones, which in turn reduces hormonal breakouts. Magnesium glycinate is gentle on your digestive system, and it is absorbed well by the body. I still notice a pickup in the oil production on my face, but my breakouts are not as bad anymore. (Retinol helped me with chin breakouts too!)
2. Constipated? Magnesium Citrate Gets Things Moving
Yep, more magnesium! I tend to get digestive issues leading up to my period, with constipation being the primary offender. I discovered the wonderful benefits of taking magnesium for digestive health, and I haven’t looked back since! I’ll take this throughout the month, not just during PMS. I take a triple magnesium supplement that has magnesium citrate, oxide, and aspartate. I’d recommend taking it slowly and listening to what your body needs because this can potentially have a strong effect! During PMS, I’ll switch off every other day taking this and the magnesium glycinate.
1. Ibuprofin Is Better for Cramps
This fact blew my mind when I first discovered it. If I could share this with every woman struggling with period cramps, I would. I want to shout it from the rooftops! I had been fruitlessly using Midol and Pamprin to treat my cramps. I thought that since they were purposely made to help remedy periods, they were the best option to treat cramps. Oh, how wrong I was.
During our periods, estrogen drops, and the level of prostaglandins rises. Prostaglandins are directly responsible for causing the cramping that makes our uterine lining shed. Ibuprofen works to reduce prostaglandins, and in doing so, it helps get rid of cramps. Tylenol, Midol, and Pamprin all contain acetaminophen, which can help with the pain but does nothing to change the level of prostaglandins.
For me, the difference has been immense. For low-medium level cramps, I can count on ibuprofen to knock them out within 20 minutes of taking it. I will also take ibuprofen daily for several days leading up to my period to reduce the amount of prostaglandins running amuck. I do find that this often helps reduce the severity of my cramps once they show up.
I hope that this post has given you a few ideas as to how you can deal with your own PMS & period pain. It’s a journey that we all have to take to find out what works best for us! I still have periods that knock me flat, but when I get out on the other side, I feel stronger. I wish that for you on your period journey!
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