PMS - urgh. The monthly urge to cry, eat and argue can be so overwhelming that it takes over your life. Sometimes you can spend a week struggling with PMS waiting for your period to arrive, a week bleeding with PMS as a side dish, and then a week afterwards recovering and feeling all PMS weepy. Statistics reckon that 40% of women suffer PMS. I think it's more than that.
In the past your GP may have put you on the pill to try and stop you moaning and crying in the surgery, but there are some alternatives - and I don't mean eating your body weight in Aero and dumping your boyfriend again.
- Clean up your diet. Eating sugar will only make you feel worse. If you can, eat brown rice (I know it's awful) lean meat and veggies and your body will thank you. These types of food are often called 'whole foods'. Your insulin levels will appreciate the break from chocolate-induced Everest-size sugar spikes.
- I'm going to use the E word now and I apologise unreservedly. It's so typical that something you'd rather chew off your own arm than do is one of the actions that will help banish PMS. Yes. Exercise. It doesn't need to be an assault course, Tough Mudder or boxercise. A brisk walk to the shops for a 'make-up free celeb special' magazine will help rid you of the bloated feeling and it may cheer you up too.
- When you are already struggling to zip up your fattest jeans, drinking water seems stupid but it will flush out toxins and make you feel, if not fabulous, then at least passable.
- Lay off the salt, it'll just cause more water retention. You'll look as if you're trying to smuggle a child's inflatable ring into work if you eat too many packets of Ready Salted. Whilst we're working on avoiding stuff, don't drink your PMS blues away unless it's water. Alcohol just makes you feel even worse - the day after at least.
- Try gluten-free. Gluten grains affect your liver enzymes, which can make you feel even ropeier. A gluten-free diet may help, try it out by avoiding rye, barley, durum, and malt. Try rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat instead.
- Try a magnesium citrate supplement. It's thought to reduce cramping, headaches, and stress levels. Some studies have shown that 400mgs a day can reduce weight gain and sugar cravings, so I'm in.
- Another supplement to try is omega oil. 2000 mgs a day for 45 days reduced the PMS symptoms of 184 women who took part in a study. Experts aren't sure how it works; though it may be to do with omega fatty acids affecting serotonin and dopamine - the happy hormones. Fish oil is the simplest way to achieve this. If mackerel makes you feel queasy during your period (doesn't it always?) take a supplement instead.
- And last but not least, a great way to reduce PMS symptoms - as tried and tested by myself - is to soak in the bath for two hours, read a sad book and cry yourself blind. Everything seems better in the morning.
Good luck girls!