7 strategies to banish the dreaded PMS

7 strategies to banish the dreaded PMS

75% of women say they experience some form of PMS symptoms in their life, of which, ​​5% of women of reproductive age get a more severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is widely accepted as a medical reality, the symptoms of which are numerous including; headaches, mood swings, tearfulness, bloating, breast tenderness, acne, fatigue and cramping. In addition to these physical symptoms, PMS is linked to negative moods including depression/sadness, anxiety and irritability.

Your menstrual cycle is a powerful indicator of health and your body’s way of letting you know if there’s something just not right! The same goes for PMS, if you are experiencing intense symptoms every month, your body is trying to let you know that something isn’t right and it needs some extra support!

While PMS symptoms are extremely common, it is not normal and you should not just accept that ‘it’s part of being a woman’ as there are lots of things you can do to support yourself. I work with women every day who are looking to reduce their PMS symptoms and the results we achieve are amazing and significantly improve the quality of life for so many women – the same can be true for you!

Firstly, it is helpful to understand what is causing PMS ..

In essence, it is due to the fluctuations in your hormones in the week (longer for some women) leading up to your period.

For females, estrogen and progesterone are the two predominant hormones (alsonside LH, FSH and testosterone) that fluctuate over the course of the menstrual cycle and ultimately determine why you feel completely different on day 4 of your cycle compared to day 14! I have a full blog on the different phases of the menstrual cycle here if you would like to get all the details.

Fluctuations in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) is also thought to play a role in triggering PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.

Research has also shown that various other factors such as high carbohydrates, fat, lack of calcium, vitamins and minerals, psychological factors (stress, depression, and anxiety), genetics, and lifestyle (alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of exercise, and eating habits) in addition to oxidative stress and inflammation are related with the incidence of PMS.

What you can do to soothe your PMS symptoms?

  • Take up to 4000mg of magnesium glycinate daily

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant which can help soothe uterine contractions (cramps). Many of us do not get enough magnesium from the diet and it can also be depleted by stress. Magnesium is a miracle mineral for hormones as it calms the nervous system, it is often referred to as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’ due to its soothing properties. 

  • Supplement with vitamin B6

Clinical trials show that vitamin B6 relieves overall premenstrual and depressive symptoms. This is a supplement that I have found to work extremely well for clients, especially when taken in conjunction with magnesium! Gigi's PMS & Hormone Balance Blend contains both magnesium and vitamin B6 and it is definitely one of my holy grail supplements for clients suffering with PMS.

  • Ensure you are eating enough omega 3 fats

Eat 2 portions of oily fish per week or take a good quality, high EPA omega-3 supplement which has vital anti-inflammatory effect on the body which can significantly reduce PMS symptoms given that many of them are driven by inflammation.

  • Be mindful of caffeine intake 

Coffee is a stimulant that encourages the production of our stress hormone cortisol, which can impact progesterone production in the body and in turn worsen PMS. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) currently recommends that people who experience PMS avoid caffeine consumption and reduce intake in the week leading up to menstruation. However, more research in this area is required to assess whether caffeine itself actually worsens PMS symptoms.

Drinking coffee can make period cramps worse for some people. Caffeine blocks a hormone (anti-diuretic hormone) that can make blood vessels (which are present in the uterus) smaller, which slows the flow of blood. Coffee can also cause inflammation and bloating, adding to stomach pain and discomfort. So, drinking coffee can make cramps worse.

  • Eat lots of colourful fruit and veg that are packed with anti inflammatories and phytonutrients 

Research suggests that oxidative stress and inflammatory response are also involved in PMS. Sex hormones, as mentioned earlier strongly influence the immune-inflammatory process. The phytonutrients and antioxidants found in fresh fruit and vegetables help to mop up the free-radicals produced in the body and reduce inflammation. 


The fibre also plays an important role in maintaining regular bowel movements which is very important for hormone balance. Make sure to include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts as they are particularly helpful in maintaining healthy estrogen levels.

  • Balance your blood sugars

Aim for 3 balanced meals per day, with 1 snack if you feel you need it. For each of your meals and snacks, try to ensure you have a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and some healthy fats. By ensuring our meals and snacks are balanced with all three macronutrients, we help our body maintain stable blood sugar levels. This ensures our energy levels remain consistent throughout the day.

When our blood sugar levels are unstable we hit a slump and experience cravings for high sugar foods. But, by being a little more conscious with how we create our meals, this can be avoided. 

By eating balanced meals, you will control the release of a hormone called insulin. When insulin levels are managed it has a positive impact on cortisol and our female hormone levels which has a positive effect on PMS symptoms!

  • Move your body! 

Exercise has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body which has a positive impact on PMS symptoms.

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