Healing PMS Symptoms Naturally
by Pantry Products on May 02, 2023
We can safely say that every woman knows what PMS is + what a literal pain PMS can be. This month, we are here to help you heal the frustrating physical and emotional symptoms of PMS. Doing so requires a deeper understanding of what’s going on hormonally throughout your entire monthly menstrual cycle. Tools and tricks that, surprisingly, most of us were never taught. Well, that’s no longer! We are here to bust period shame with empowering information that will help you reduce your monthly period symptoms like cramping, acne, bloating, insomnia, fatigue, breast tenderness, anxiety, mood swings and more.
There are four distinct hormonal shifts each month and each shift needs different nourishment to keep your hormonal system happy and symptom-free. You were never meant to be in pain or suffer, these are merely symptoms from your body asking for help.
Read on for an empowering guide through the four hormonal phases of your menstrual cycle to begin the journey towards healing PMS symptoms naturally.
The 4 Phases of your Menstrual Cycle
+ How to get started on your path to healing PMS
Phase 1: Your Period.
We all know this part of the month, it’s hard to miss. During this shift, progesterone production drops, causing your uterine lining to shed which lasts for three to seven days on average.
We’d love to say, “Get lots of rest and nourishment on your period,” but who’s life allows this sort of downtime?
The Fix - follow Red School’s 1% Rule. Think about your IDEAL chill day and give yourself just 1% of that. Can’t soak in a luxurious bath of Pantry’s Soul Soother Bath Tea? Pour some in a bowl of hot water and soak your feet while you write emails. Can’t spend all day in bed binging on your favorite show? Watch 1 episode.
Your period is both the ending of your monthly menstrual cycle AND also the beginning of the next one. The rest and nourishment you get on your period will set you up for more energy and clarity over the next month. If you can’t rest, don’t worry, just be really compassionate with yourself over the next month instead of wondering, “What’s wrong with me?!”
The incredible book Woman Code by Alissa Vitti recommends that you incorporate nutrient-rich foods with a low glycemic index at this time of the month like seafood, sea-based veggies, beets, mushrooms and dark berries to replenish minerals and nourish your blood and kidneys. Add some blueberries to your coconut milk chia parfait and call it a success!
Stock your refrigerator and prep food before your period. Ask for help around the house and put off tasks that can wait a few days. If you know when your next period will begin, start blocking off time in your calendar a month in advance so that it doesn’t catch you off guard again.
Tip - Periods are messy, use Pantry’s Squeaky Clean toilet paper spray instead of wet wipes because ‘wipes clog pipes.’
On your period, take care of yourself by doing an Organic Pantry Facial Steam to relax your jaw which relaxes your pelvic floor and put some Happy Cramper Essential Oil on your low back. If you have time, do a Clay Mask and Armpit Detox to draw out impurities as you lounge in a bath of Pantry’s Pretty In Pink Sea Salt Soak. After you relax and detox, lock in your self love with Pantry’s Hydrating Body Oil.
Phase 2: The week after your period.
Your period is over and it may feel like you can return to sanity. Here’s your chance to keep caring for what your body needs in preparation for your next period.
After your period, your hypothalamus signals your pituitary gland to send follicular-stimulating hormone to your ovaries to release an egg, this is called the Follicular Phase. Estrogen gradually builds to thicken your uterine lining for roughly seven to ten days. You may gradually start to feel clarity, coherency, energy and extroversion returning.
Go slow, ease back in and keep trying to prioritize yourself. Fresh, vibrant and light foods that you may crave in Springtime like steamed veggies and sautes will help you energize as your hormone levels rebuild. Add salads with kimchi or sauerkraut, veggies, lean proteins, sprouts and energy-sustaining grains to your menu this week to support your ovaries as they prepare to release another egg.
Tip - Use this week to try something new as the hormonal and chemical balances in your brain make forming new neural pathways easier. Trying new things when they feel less forced will gradually build self trust and permission to NOT do new things later in your cycle when you may feel overwhelmed.
Phase 3: The middle of your cycle, Ovulation.
Many women know about this phase if they’re tracking their fertility but it’s an easy hormonal shift to miss. Observing your basal body temperature and cervical fluid will show you exactly when you ovulate, it can be about 14 days after your period started and last about 24 hours as your egg leaves your ovary and travels to your uterus. You may feel a small pain in your lower abdomen or see some blood spotting as you release an egg.
Estrogen plays a huge part in preparing your uterine lining for a potentially fertilized egg so you’ll likely have a lot of natural energy but it can also contribute to acne, breast tenderness and bloating so add fibrous veggies and antioxidant-rich fruits to your meals to help your body release the flood of hormones once they’ve done their job.
Tip - Ovulation can be a wonderful time of extroversion and energy but it can also feel jittery, like a little too much coffee. Massage Pantry’s Peppermint Foot Salve into your feet while breathing slowly to ground into your body and this present moment.
Feeling like you want to glow and be seen? Pamper yourself with Pantry’s Honey + Lemon Face Scrub to exfoliate and reveal fresh, glowing skin. If your ovulation energy takes you on a big adventure, be sure to pack Pantry’s All-Natural Mineral Sunscreen Stick, Bugs-Be-Gone Spray and Arnica Muscle Salve for your trip!
Phase 4: The week before your period.
The two weeks between ovulation and your period are called The Luteal Phase when progesterone decreases. Progesterone holds your uterine lining intact and when it decreases to signal the start of your period, it can also feel like you, yourself are falling apart. It can be so hard (and even scary) but try to lighten your schedule this week to make more time and space for rest. Your menstrual cycle is guiding you through when to ebb and when to flow, when to daydream and when to launch your great new ideas.
Physical and emotional premenstrual symptoms can begin as soon as ovulation ends and last for two weeks until your period starts. Easing these symptoms becomes part of a holistic approach to taking care of your hormonal needs all month long, you will notice less symptoms if the other hormonal phases are proactively nurtured as well.
To ease symptoms, incorporate these nutrients
to curb PMS cravings and painful symptoms:
- Foods rich in B vitamins stave off sugar cravings. We highly recommend baking veggies like sweet potatoes to maximize their sugar.
- Fiber helps your liver and large intestine flush estrogen through the bowel, reducing the symptoms of estrogen dominance like heavy or painful periods, headaches, decreased sex drive, bloating, mood swings, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
- The Calcium + Magnesium in leafy greens helps with fluid retention. Put your baked sweet potato cubes on a bed of greens with ground turkey, cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a complete PMS-relief meal.
- Complex carbohydrates will help stabilize serotonin and dopamine in your brain, helping to prevent mood swings thank goodness!
You may feel the urge to deep clean and nest as you prepare for your period to start. The balance of estrogen and progesterone in your body can make you see details you overlooked all month so scrub the cabinets, clean the refrigerator drawers, do your laundry with the clean ingredients in Pantry’s Laundry Powder and even wash the dog to prepare for cuddle time.
Your energy may be low and you may experience premenstrual insomnia so we’ve prepared some simple self-care ideas for you: Pantry’s Chocolate + Coffee Body Polish will supercharge your morning shower to get you through the day, apply Pantry’s Blemish Balm to spot treat breakouts and wind down with Lunar Herbals Elixir of Rest.
Go slow + be gentle with yourself.
Congratulations! You now know more than we did when we started learning about our hormones. We had no idea there were four different hormonal phases each month and that there were proactive ways to nurture ourselves and ease PMS symptoms.
Self-care information like this can be really overwhelming, take just one little idea away from these tips and revisit this article each month. Whether it’s transitioning your household to sustainable products or learning about your health, Pantry believes in small, sustainable changes over the long-haul.
Period Resources - For medical knowledge that’s really easy to understand and apply, explore everything Alissa Vitti of Flo Living has created. To learn more about the powerful wisdom within your menstrual cycle, follow everything Red School does; their book Wild Power, their blog and their podcast are life-changing.