As i look back over my teenage years, I do wish that I had the essential knowledge on how important it is to take care of our health during pre and post menstruation. All we were worried about was good grades, homework, exams, top ranking colleges etc etc!!!!
I do remember we just had an hour of ‘pep-talk’ or ‘small-talk’ on sex-education. There were a lot of giggles, squeamish looks on the faces of girls and the boys in the class did not know where to look. The only thing i remember is a video describing the anatomy of men and women …..there was an eerie silence during that entire video 😦 I could feel my hands turning cold, ears turning red because sex was just a taboo topic. Menstruation, sanitary pads were a strict no-no as a conversation starter :(. It was one of the most forgettable lessons that i ever had. Nobody bothered to discuss about it after the session. It was like a forgotten chapter in our lives.
Years after that, I still did not know what impact menstruation had on a woman’s health. Yes, I did know what was the function of menstruation but i never realized the true impact that it had on my body. I used to have these “episodes” of anxiety, anger, skin related issues during pre-menstruation and yet i did not find a definite answer to these IMPORTANT questions. The only answer that I got was : These “episodes” will “disappear” when i got married!!!!!! I am enraged when i think that this ill-informed answer was given by some of the people who were educated in some of the best medical schools. What a shame!!
It was only when i married my husband, I started to research and take special care of myself. I am glad that my husband encouraged me to talk about things that were relevant to my body and skin.
These are some of the symptoms that I experienced for a long time during the PMS phase:
- Zits made a special appearance and took up residence on the chin.
- My knees used to hurt like crazy- almost felt like creaky doors (I could say that it was the soy milk that i consumed which was partly responsible for creaky legs. Soy milk did nothing for me)
- My lower back and abdomen hurt occasionally. I always had that bloated feeling.
- I am a bit blessed that i do not have too much of the menstrual cramps but i felt achy all over.
- The fun part is : I was always depressed and cried at the drop of a hat (I still occasionally do 😛 ) I had terrible mood swings. I always had negative thoughts.
- I used to have heart palpitations. I felt that i had difficulty breathing and would ramble away at top speed. I used to talk uncontrollably.
- Angry young woman would be my second name!
- I always gravitated towards sugary and unhealthy foods!
- I hated myself!
I was fed-up that no one had a clue. I decided to take matter into my own hands. I researched, read and came up with these solutions that have worked for me to an extent. In fact, i do not feel any different from the non-menstruating days. I feel much productive and do not feel like a charging bull 😀
In order to ease the mood swings some people suggested milk and dairy products. However, it turned out to be a terrible idea. So it was bye bye dairy during pre-menstruation. Studies have shown that caffeine in coffee increases the estrogen levels and hence it exacerbates the symptoms even further. In order to improve the PMS sluggishness, i would consume more than a cup of coffee, but all it did was increase my heart rate and increased my heart palpitations even further. So I restricted my coffee to just one cup because more than one cup made me incredibly moody and edgy.
Hydrating myself was another important factor to help me combat PMS. Water, herbal teas, green juices, broths have helped me keep my water intake to the highest level.
In addition to the above solutions, i do the following religiously every month.
Beetroot Juice: In the quest to improve my energy during “the” days, i tend to drink beetroot juice because it is rich in sodium nitrate. And sodium nitrate is used by all athletes to improve their endurance. It has been a winner in my books so far. And it satiates my sweet tooth as well.
The simplest recipe that i follow is : Beetroot + Carrot + Ginger + Lemon + Apple (green/red) + Celery Beetroot : It is rich in folic acid and is used by women who are pregnant or not to help with physical healing. Carrot: It is rich in antioxidants and i do like my skin to look glowy. Besides the glow, the beta-carotene in the carrots help my unusually dry skin during that time of the month. I add ginger because it helps with the inevitable digestive problems that I face. It eases the bloated feeling. I add lemon for the zing and it helps alkalize the body. Green apple is rich in antioxidants and helps me during those dehydrated days. Celery reduces water retention and helps reduces the bloatedness. It restores the shape of my swollen face 😀
I take my Magnesium glycinate tablets during the crabby phase because i do feel unreasonably peckish and crave sugary foods. Studies suggest that women with PMS consume only a quarter of their necessary magnesium and will consume almost 80% more dairy and a staggering 275% more sugar! 😦 😦 Magnesium plays a key role in energy production, stress response and hormone manufacture. Magnesium is also the key mineral for relaxation as it helps to relax muscles and nerves.
So why do i take it in the Magnesium Glycinate form??
Glycine is a well-known calming amino acid. This combination has good bioavailability and does not have a laxative effect -like magnesium citrate which is the most commonly used form, since glycine is actively transported through the intestinal wall. Due to the calming and relaxing effect of both glycine and magnesium, this combination has been used successfully for chronic pain and muscle hyper tonicity.
Omega 3 fish oil : Omega 3 fish oil has helped me improve my mental balance during the PMS episodes. You can read more about it here
In addition to the above three pronged strategy, i still have a lot of greens in the form of juices and salads. I tend to up the ante especially during those days by eating nuts, seeds and consuming Omega 3 oils. I sometimes eat organic chicken liver because it is said to be improve the hemoglobin levels.
Do you have any tips or tricks to combat PMS? Spill the beans, girls!!!