Home Period Remedies
Throughout women's reproductive years, having an arsenal of home remedies for menstrual cramps, bloating, and mood swings can come in handy and significantly improve their ability to function during their periods. They are as follows:
When stricken with menstrual cramps, women often intuitively reach for a hot water bottle or a heating pad for comfort and relief. Indeed, heat applied to the abdomen is one of the most popular natural remedies for period pain. Studies have shown that it can relax abdominal muscles, thus relieving pain as effectively as pain relievers, like ibuprofen.1
A simple, yet perhaps not so obvious, natural remedy for period bloating is proper hydration. One of the most common symptoms of PMS, water retention - and the resulting bloating - occur because of hormonal fluctuations during menses. Staying well hydrated will help restore proper water balance in the body and effectively get rid of bloating.
Whether diffused in the air or massaged into the abdomen, essential oils have been shown to offer women natural PMS relief.2 By acting on the nervous and limbic systems, aromatherapy can be particularly beneficial for calming one's mind, alleviating irritability and anxiety, and reducing pain perception. Good choices include lavender, clary sage, and marjoram.
Making an herbal infusion is perhaps one of the easiest home remedies for PMS, whether it be for relieving cramps, reducing heavy periods, alleviating nausea, or controlling mood swings. Some of the best, scientifically researched herbs to brew - both fresh and dried - are fennel, chamomile, cinnamon, ginger, and dill, among others.3,4,5,6,7
Massage has also shown to be a natural remedy for menstrual cramps, bloating, muscle tension, mood swings, and other PMS symptoms.8,9 Women can benefit from it at home by gently massaging their own pelvic region to relax the muscles and promote circulation; whereas, more complex massage sessions can be done through a licensed massage therapist.
Nutritional Period Supplements
While nutritional supplements on their own cannot ensure optimal menstrual health, it has been shown that supplementation with certain vitamins or minerals can benefit women with PMS symptoms. They include the following:
Calcium is perhaps one of the most widely studied mineral in terms of natural PMS relief. One of the studies has found that a daily supplementation of 500mg of calcium per day for two months has resulted in a reduction of PMS symptoms, especially the psychological ones.10
Magnesium with Vitamin B6 Supplements
Another study has found that combining 250 mg of magnesium with 40 mg of vitamin B6 on a daily basis can serve as another natural remedy for PMS. While magnesium alone has been shown to have beneficial effects on reducing period discomforts, supplementing with vitamin B6 offered the highest effectiveness in relieving PMS symptoms.11
Fatty Acid Supplements
PMS relief is also among the numerous health benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like gamma linolenic or oleic acid. A study has found significant improvements in PMS symptom scores after three months of fatty acid supplementation (1 or 2 g daily), which improved even further by the sixth month of the study.12
Herbal Period Supplements
While the aforementioned remedies for periods can bring quick relief and ease PMS symptoms, only herbal supplements tackle the root cause of the disorder, which - in most cases - is hormonal imbalance. The two types of supplementary herbs for PMS are as follows:
Phytoestrogenic supplements are made from herbs, like chasteberry, ginkgo, or St. John's wort, which are naturally rich in estrogenic compounds, called phytoestrogens. By mimicking the body's own estrogens, they fill in the hormonal gap, thus promoting balance and relieving PMS symptoms. To avoid dependency, they are best used short-term.
Hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, promote hormonal balance without adding outside hormones. Instead, these natural supplements for periods act directly on the body's own endocrine glands to improve their hormone production and ease symptoms of an imbalance, like period cramps or mood swings. As such, they can be safely used long-term.
As can be seen, women seeking to find natural remedies for period symptoms have many options at their disposal, most of which are scientifically backed for safety and optimal effectiveness. If they need immediate relief from cramps or bloating, they can take advantage of popular home remedies, such as heat applications, aromatherapy, or herbal infusions. To ease their symptoms a few months down the road, they can consider nutritional supplements for PMS symptoms, like calcium or fatty acids. However, long-lasting natural remedies for period pain, heavy bleeding, and other pesky symptoms include herbal period supplements, which treat their underlying cause, hormonal imbalance. Women may choose from phytoestrogenic supplements, like chasteberry, which can be used short-term, or hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem Healthy Periods, which promote optimal endocrine function and period health long-term.
- Mayo Clinic. (2018). Home Remedies: Managing menstrual cramps. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/home-remedies-managing-menstrual-cramps/
- Mayo Clinic. (2020). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376787
- Office on Women's Health. (2018). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome
- PlantaMedica. (2013). Vitex agnus-castus Extracts for Female Reproductive Disorders: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0032-1327831
- Reproductive Endocrinology. (2016). Dose-dependent efficacy of the Vitex agnuscastus extract Ze 440 in patients suffering from premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from http://reproduct-endo.com/article/view/78809
- The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. (2009). A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Ginkgo biloba L. in Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2008.0493
- Scientific Reports. (2018). Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214933/
- The Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Research. (2012). Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: A randomized, double‐blind clinical trial. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01802.x
- Omidvar, S. et al. (2012). Effect of fennel on pain intensity in dysmenorrhoea: A placebo-controlled trial. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from http://www.ayujournal.org/article.asp?issn=0974-8520;year=2012;volume=33;issue=2;spage=311;epage=313;aulast=Omidvar
- The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. (2009). Comparison of Effects of Ginger, Mefenamic Acid, and Ibuprofen on Pain in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2008.0311
- Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. (2014). Effect of Dill (Anethumgraveolens) on the severity of primary dysmenorrhea in compared with mefenamic acid: A randomized, double-blind trial. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4115348/
- Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. (2015). The Effect of Cinnamon on Menstrual Bleeding and Systemic Symptoms With Primary Dysmenorrhea. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from http://ircmj.com/articles/59647.html
- Molecular Medicine Report. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
- Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology. (2000). Premenstrual symptoms are relieved by massage therapy. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10907210
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. (2010). The effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3093183/
- Obstetrics & Gynecology Science. (2017). Effect of calcium on premenstrual syndrome: A double-blind randomized clinical trial. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313351/
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. (2010). Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208934/
- Reproductive Health. (2018). Essential fatty acids for premenstrual syndrome and their effect on prolactin and total cholesterol levels: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study. Retrieved March 3, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3033240/