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- Vitamin B6 and PMDD
- PMS? The Oils That May Help.
- Calcium and PMS - Does it Help?
- Caffeine and PMS - Not a Great Combo
- Hypericum Perforatum for Premenstrual Syndrome
- The Truth About Progesterone for PMS
- Chasteberry for PMS
- Herbal Remedies for PMS
- Menstium: Frequently Asked Questions
This One Activity Will Stop PMS
Yoga is an ancient art that pairs strength, relaxation, and restores the mind-body connection. Yoga is a powerful form of exercise that provides many benefits for men and women. Recent studies have linked the power of yoga to a physical and mental reduction in PMS symptoms. Find out more about this curious connection below.
Can one simple activity stop PMS? According to some studies, it’s possible.
Recent research has uncovered the true power of yoga for PMS. According to the studies, yoga is particularly beneficial in fighting all of the symptoms of PMS- both physical and mental. Find out more about how this ancient art of exercise can reduce your PMS symptoms below.
Researchers have known that exercise is beneficial for the body for hundreds of years. However, there are fewer studies that link exercise specifically with PMS symptoms.
In 2013, the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences looked at the role of aerobic exercise for reducing the symptoms of PMS in young women who were not athletes. For eight weeks, the young women exercised three times a week for 60 minute sessions. They the researchers recorded the women's anxiety levels, overall health levels, and any PMS symptoms.
The researchers found that after one month, PMS symptoms were reduced by 31 percent, physical symptoms were reduced by 29 percent, and psychological symptoms were reduced by 33 percent. After eight weeks, the reduction rates increased to 60, 65 and 52 percent.
This study and others shows that regular exercise can be highly beneficial in fighting PMS symptoms. The hormones released during exercise help remove excess estrogen in the body, which can lead to more severe PMS symptoms. Exercise also boosts mood, which can help control the psychological aspects of PMS.
According to the above study, aerobic exercise provided the benefit for PMS. In most cases, yoga is not aerobic exercise because the heart rate usually doesn’t increase as much as during traditional cardio exercises like running (it does in some cases).
However, other studies have indicated that yoga may be even more effective than aerobic exercise when it comes to healing PMS.
A 2011 study presented to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists looked at the role of yoga in PMS. According to the study, participants who regularly engaged in yoga practices for 6 months had fewer PMS symptoms as well as fewer menstrual disorders and cycle irregularities. The study found that 72 percent of women had less irritability, mood swings, and depression. 57 percent of women had less painful periods. 87 percent showed improvement in severe menstrual flow. 63 percent of women had a reduced need for medical intervention during their periods.
In 2013, a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research examined the potential benefits of yoga in PMS. The study involved 50 women between the ages of 18 and 20. The women were divided into two groups, one of which practiced yoga six times a week for 30-45 minutes per session. The women in the yoga group showed significant reduction in stress, depression, flow severity, blood pressure, and other common symptoms of PMS.
Research from these studies and others suggest several explanations for why yoga is healthy for women. Physically, practicing yoga helps women relieve stress and relax the nervous system. Yoga also helps balance the endocrine system and increases overall blood flow, particularly to the reproductive organs. Yoga promotes relaxation and helps control hormone levels in the body.
In general, studies have also revealed that yoga is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. Even though it burns fewer calories than other forms of exercise, the relaxing effect it can have on the body is one of the best ways to maintain health by eliminating stress in the body.
According to a 2010 review of over 81 studies about yoga from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, yoga is beneficial in the following ways:
Experts and health professionals recommend that beginning yoga enthusiasts practice their poses with an instructor before striking out on their own. Some of the poses can be challenging, and could cause injuries if done improperly. Additionally, yoga instructors can offer tips for additional relaxation and stress-relieving techniques. However, some yoga moves are probably safe enough for you to try on your own.
The following yoga moves may offer the most benefit for fighting PMS while remaining safe enough to try on your own. If you are feeling cramped or bloated, try incorporating some of the following moves into your yoga routine:
Sit on the ground with your back straight and legs crossed. Cross your left leg over your right knee. Put your left foot flat on the floor next to your right knee. Wrap your right arm around the outside of your left leg. Inhale carefully, and twist your torso to the left. Hold for about 15 seconds, breathing deeply. Reverse the position and repeat on the other side.
Stand on all fours on the ground with feet about hip-width apart. Inhale while you round your spine up, tuck in your chin, and tuck your pelvis under. Hold for about 10 seconds. Release the pose, and arch your back and stick your chin in the air. Hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat each move about 5 times.
Lie face up with your hands along your sides, knees together, and feet flat on the floor. Tuck your pelvis in and slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling. When your back clears the floor, place your hands together under your back. Hold for about 15 breaths, then slowly release the pose and return to the ground. Repeat three times.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend at the hips and let your body and arms hang loose. Grab both of your elbows with your opposite hand. Slowly rock back and forth as you breathe gently for about 15 seconds. Release your arms and gently roll back to the standing position one vertebrae at a time.
In addition to yoga, there are a few other things you can try that will help fight any lingering PMS symptoms. Many modern women have an imbalance of hormones which leads to an increase in PMS symptoms. Issues like chronic stress, insomnia, hormonal birth control, chronic inflammation, poor diet, and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to PMS symptoms.
Yoga alone may not be enough to fight off your PMS symptoms for good. If you want to truly heal your PMS, the following steps will complete the healing process:
Supplements can help you fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can make PMS symptoms worse. Additionally, the following herbal remedies have also been shown to reduce PMS symptoms in many women. If you are interested in supplementing to fight PMS, the following supplements are some of the most effective:
Licorice: Licorice isn’t just a tasty candy. It can also help fight PMS by lowering estrogen levels and raising progesterone levels. In some cases, an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone can contribute to worse PMS symptoms.
Vitamin E: This vitamin is beneficial for a variety of functions in the body. A 1987 study published in the “Journal of Reproductive Medicine” found that supplementing with a synthetic version of vitamin E was able to improve physical and emotional symptoms of PMS.
Chasteberry: This herb is known as one of the few herbs particularly beneficial for women. According to studies, the herb can act on the opiate receptors in the brain, which reduce pain and improve mood. A study from 2000 conducted by a university in Germany found that after three months of treatment with chasteberry, 93 percent of women in the study reported a decrease in PMS symptoms. Some women had no PMS symptoms at all after supplementing with chasteberry for three months.
Dong quai: This Chinese herb is probably the most famous Chinese herb for women. It is used to promote healthy cycles, fight PMS, and improve sexual health. According to research, dong quai is effective at fighting PMS symptoms in formulas with other PMS-fighting herbs and vitamins.
Magnesium: Many women are lacking in magnesium, in part due to monthly menstruation and in part due to childbirth. Women with chronically low magnesium levels are more likely to develop PMS symptoms. In a 1998 study from the University of Reading, women who supplemented with magnesium for two months had less swelling, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, and weight gain.
Red Raspberry Leaf: This herb is less studied that many of the other herbs that fight PMS, but it may be effective at fighting PMS. In studies of animals and women one week after birth, it was shown that taking red raspberry leaf had a relaxant effect on the uterus. This makes uterine contractions more efficient and also shortened the total duration of labor and prevented the use of forceps for delivery in many cases.
Red raspberry leaf is likely to offer some of the same benefits for PMS- making periods shorter and less painful. Red raspberry leaf also contains beneficial vitamins that can fight PMS, like magnesium, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
Certain foods have an impact on the kinds of PMS symptoms you face. Understandably, a healthy diet leads to fewer PMS symptoms. If you are serious about stopping PMS, diet is a large consideration. A large portion of your diet should come from fresh vegetables, fruit, and protein. Avoid sugar, processed grains, and vegetable oils. Particularly beneficial foods include spinach, sweet potatoes, milk, and a glass of wine every few days.
According to the University of Wisconsin, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help fight the symptoms of PMS. In one study, women attended CBT therapy sessions for 8 or 12 weeks and then compared PMS symptoms with women who did not attend therapy sessions. The women attending therapy reported less emotional symptoms from PMS, including fewer feelings of depression.
Yoga and other forms of exercise are highly effective at fighting the signs of PMS. Yoga is particularly effective because it not only addresses the physical side effects of PMS, but also the emotional and mental side effect that can occur. For best results, women should add yoga to their fitness routine in addition to adding other PMS-fighting tools to their monthly routine, like eating a healthy diet, talking through emotions, and supplementing to fill any nutritional gaps and balance female hormones.
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