General Question

St.George's avatar

What items can I buy from the health food co-op to feel better?

Asked by St.George (5865points) October 16th, 2011

Being pre-menstrual causes me to have night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. I am 100% awesome the rest of the month. Is there anything natural/herbal that I can during this week to get some relief? My Dr. recommended anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications to take when it hits, but that seems totally over the top. Recommendations?

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12 Answers

Judi's avatar

Yams. I think there is also a progesterone cream you can get over the counter.

whitenoise's avatar

Exercise and be kind to yourself?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Chamomile tea helped me.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I take a double dose of Melatonin (6mg) for a few nights during my period. I get the rest I need, which helps me fight all the other stuff that comes my way.

Coloma's avatar

Here’s whatcha do, it REALLY works, I did it for years.

First..cut out ALL caffiene for the 2 weeks before your cycle, ( coffee, tea, sodas ) you can drink half caff. coffee, one or two cups a day.

Second, take 400 I.U.‘s of Vit. E daily and a B12 ( Pyradoxine) supplement.

I garuantee you will notice a huge difference the first month, and even more so the 2nd.

It works, it really, really, works!

fizzbanger's avatar

Tea with valerian root might help with anxiety and sleep.

janbb's avatar

I’ve heard soy and black cohosh can be good for those symptoms.

Blueroses's avatar

5HTP and calcium helps me fight the symptoms. A good multi vitamin high in b complex keeps me running.

wundayatta's avatar

Here’s a list of items that might help:

1) Calcium

Studies suggest that calcium levels are lower in women with PMS and that calcium supplementation may reduce the severity of symptoms. A large study looked at 1057 women with PMS and 1968 women without PMS. Women with the greatest intake of calcium from food sources had the least PMS symptoms.

Another study found that 300 mg of calcium carbonate four times a day significantly reduced bloating, depression, pain, mood swings, and food cravings.

2) Chaste Tree Berry

Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) berry is one of the most popular herbs for premenstrual syndrome in Europe.

A study published in the British Medical Journal involving 178 women with PMS found that chaste tree berry significantly reduced PMS symptoms over three menstrual cycles. Women taking chaste tree had significant improvements in irritability, depression, headaches, and breast tenderness.

The most common side effects of chaste tree berry are nausea, headache, digestive disturbances, menstrual disorders, acne, itching, and skin rashes. Chaste tree berry should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women. The safety of chaste tree berry in children or people with kidney or liver disease has not been established.

Theoretically, chaste tree berry may interact with hormones or drugs that affect the pituitary gland.

3) Magnesium

The mineral magnesium, found naturally in food and available in supplements, has showing good preliminary results for PMS. One study examined the use of magnesium supplements or placebo in 32 women with PMS. The amount of magnesium used was 360 mg three times a day, starting from day 15 to the start of the menstrual period. Magnesium supplements were found to significantly improve PMS mood changes.

Another study used 200 mg of magnesium or placebo for two menstrual cycles. By the end of the second month, magnesium was found to significantly reduce weight gain, swelling of the hands and legs, breast tenderness, and abdominal bloating.

People with heart or kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements without consulting their doctor. Side effects of excess magnesium can include upset stomach and diarrhea. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, deficiencies of other minerals, confusion, coma, and even death.

Magnesium may interact with antibiotics, blood pressure medications, diabetic medications, digoxin, levothyroxine, and tiludronate (an osteoporosis medication) and should only be taken together under medical supervision.

4) Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose oil is a plant oil that contains gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Gamma-linolenic acid is involved in the metabolism of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that regulate pain and inflammation in the body.

A review of seven studies on evening primrose for PMS found that the two most well-designed studies failed to show any beneficial effects for evening primrose.

5) Acupuncture

In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is the organ most affected by stress, anger, and frustration. Stagnation of liver energy, or “qi”, by emotions, alcohol, and spicy and fatty foods can lead to PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness and abdominal bloating and cramping.

Although there is no scientific evidence behind this assessment, acupuncture, exercise, expressing emotions, and breathing exercises are recommended by practitioners to relieve liver stagnation.

6) Dietary Suggestions

Reduce sugar and salt intake. This is especially useful for bloating and swelling of the hands and feet, breast tenderness, and dizziness. Increase foods rich in potassium, such as fish, beans, and broccoli.
Eat small, frequent meals to help stabilize blood sugar.
Eliminate caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness.
Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fish.
Avoid alcohol.
Decrease intake of fatty foods and red meat.

7) Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling may help relieve PMS symptoms. In one study, the frequency but not the intensity of exercise was associated with a decreased PMS symptoms.

8) Relaxation

Breathing exercises, meditation, aromatherapy, and yoga are some natural ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many women feel more assertive and attuned to their needs in the weeks before menses. This can be used constructively by allowing for personal time to relax, expressing emotions, and giving priority to your needs and what nourishes you.

Other Remedies

There are other natural remedies commonly used for PMS, including:

Vitamin E
Royal jelly
OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins)
Uva ursi
St. Johns wort
Wild yam
Progesterone cream

Coloma's avatar


Whoa dude, you are so full of surprises…a guy that is a secret PMS medicine man, dang, I’ll build you a hut and make you a necklace of wild boar tusks. lol

St.George's avatar

Thank you Thank you! I did the melatonin for the last two nights, but I’ll double it tonight. I’ll head over the the hippie store tomorrow and pick up the wide assortment of items you’ve listed here. I can’t tell you how thankful I am.

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma Hey! You don’t have to be a woman to do a Google search, you know. Last I heard, anyway.

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