Many natural remedies have been suggested as options for managing the symptoms of premenstrual symptoms. One well-known study suggests that one simple, inexpensive and easily accessible supplement could be an effective way of managing the pain and discomfort most commonly associated with days 14-28 (the luteal phase) of the menstrual cycle: calcium. Researchers have been looking into calcium as a therapeutic PMS option after having discovered the possibility that PMS symptoms may be linked to changes in the way the body regulates calcium.

To test out the theory, 497 healthy women of childbearing age were chosen from medical centers throughout the U.S, and tested for severity and regularity of PMS symptoms. Women were monitored throughout several cycles based on chemistry, blood cell count and urine as well as how regularly they took medications or whether they had adverse effects to any drugs. They were told to evaluate and report their symptoms through two cycles using a list of 17 common symptoms such as mood swings, anger, tension, worthlessness and poor concentration. The randomly-assigned treatment group women were administered 1200mg of calcium carbonate during each day throughout the course of three menstrual cycles.

The results of this double-blind and placebo-controlled study which tested females of varying body types and ages show that the groups given calcium supplements reported a far lower symptoms score than those without, and by the third cycle symptoms were lowered by a surprising 48 percent, whereas the placebo group dropped by 30 percent. The researchers concluded that calcium is most likely an effective and low-risk option for home treatment for various PMS symptoms for women who have symptoms during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle, when most women are prone to experiencing the worst symptoms of the cycle.



Millions of women around the world experience painful physiological changes every month as a result of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). The symptoms of PMS are disruptive enough that some 5 million of the 40 million sufferers worldwide regularly seek medical treatment due to the stress and discomfort of symptoms for which there is no concrete cure. A new study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research assessed the effectiveness of exercise on 40 young Iranian women (their median age is 20 years old) in lessening the severity of PMS symptoms. The women included in the study had regular menstrual cycles, did not exercise regularly for months before the study, did not have a history of disease and were not on any sort of specialized diet.

Before the test, the women were asked to fill out a questionnaire to rate their overall health as well as the severity of a range of physical and psychological PMS symptoms. Participants recorded their symptoms for two cycles before the aerobic training and for two cycles during the aerobic training. Each woman then participated in three one hour sessions a week of exercise for eight weeks, with each session including a similar range of exercises and increasing in intensity. The study results were statistically analyzed.

There was a notable range in the results between the pre-aerobic test numbers and the post-aerobic test numbers: the mean score of physical symptoms dropped from 23 to about 7, and the mean score of psychological symptoms dropped from about 24 to about 11. Though this was just a small study and the symptoms were self-reported, the findings nonetheless point to a high probability that regular exercise can significantly reduce the severity of a range of PMS symptoms.

This is just one of many studies that suggest that moderate aerobic training is an effective treatment for women suffering from PMS symptoms. There are several possible reasons for this. One theory is that exercise it produces endorphins and lessens cortisol, thereby improving pain tolerance and lowering depression and other psychological symptoms. Exercise also can help to reduce the levels hormones like aldosterone, which is believed to be responsible for fluid retention during PMS. Exercise also can help balance or mitigate the effects of hormones such as prolactin, leptin estrogen and progesterone.


Despite the fact that some 40 percent of women suffer from PMS symptoms at some point in their lives, there remains a lack of research funding to find cures and pain management techniques for those with severe symptoms. The symptoms of PMS are broad, ranging from pain to swollen breasts, bloating, cramps, irritability and depression. For women with PMDD, a more severe form of PMS that reportedly affects the daily life of some 4-8 percent of sufferers, such symptoms can be debilitating. The exact causes behind the symptoms of PMS are extremely difficult to pinpoint. Researchers originally attributed them to hormone fluctuations, however it may be that severe forms of PMS may be more related to the way women respond to hormones, rather than the actual levels of hormones in the body.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has released an official set of guidelines that recommend treating women suffering from PMS and PPMD with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of structured and ongoing psychotherapy designed to train people suffering from various disorders (such as bipolar disorder, panic disorder, addictions and even schizophrenia, to name just a few) to identify and manage intense emotions and behaviors on their own.

The recommendations could be a huge leap forward in women’s health to the extent that they address the (sometimes severe) psychological effects of PMS and PMDD that are challenging to assess and treat. On the flipside, this move may also serve to reinforce the common idea that PMS symptoms are entirely psychological, therefore lessening the push for research funding. The recommendation notes that using CBT could help women stop relying on drugs that can cause negative side effects. It also notes the importance of CBT in conjunction with other treatments such as hormone therapy, birth control options, vitamins and/or supplements, and anti-depressants.


Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), which most women will experience at some point in their lifetimes, is reportedly studied about five times less than that of erectile dysfunction. A majority of women throughout the world experience at least some of the symptoms of PMS — abdominal cramps, breast tenderness, bloating, irritability, fatigue, depression and headaches– during the last few weeks of their monthly cycle. At least 5 percent of women suffer from PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is characterized as severe PMS symptoms.

PMS was initially brought to the public forefront in the early 1930s. At that time, the main recommended treatment was a hysterectomy. Today, almost 100 years later, treatments for PMS symptoms are still lacking. This is partly because there has not been enough research into the subject, and partly because some researchers believe that the syndrome – or at least the severity of symptoms – is psychological. Because hormone fluctuations responsible for many PMS symptoms remain at similar levels despite variances in severity between women, some scientists think that PMS and PMDD sufferers just respond to hormones differently.

Regardless of the elusive reason – or perhaps because of it — the main problem with PMS research is underfunding. Funding is just more likely to go towards men’s health problems than it is women’s. Because of this lack of research funding, it remains difficult pinpoint the causes behind PMS, which makes it difficult for academics and scientists to apply for research funding, and so goes the cycle. This may be due to the “cultural baggage” behind women’s menstrual cycles and associated symptoms. PMS and PPMD are so misunderstood to begin with, and the lack of research resources for such issues keeps them fairly underground as far as studies go, despite the fact that the majority of the world’s women experience PMS on a monthly basis. According to the International Society for Premenstrual Disorders, new technology such as mobile apps might be one solution for women looking to take control and better mitigate their own PMS symptoms.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or is a condition that women worldwide face on a monthly basis about 1-2 weeks before their monthly periods, in accordance with the start of ovulation which happens around day 14 of a woman’s cycle. Most women experience at least some of the symptoms of PMS like abdominal cramps, breast tenderness, bloating, irritability, fatigue, depression and headaches. Up to 5 percent of women suffer from PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is characterized as severe PMS symptoms.

Because the range of symptoms is broad and complex, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of PMS and PMDD, but they certainly have to do with hormonal fluctuations, stress, disrupted neurotransmitters, stress and nutritional imbalances.

According to research, approximately 20-30% of the menstruating women are believed to be affected by premenstrual syndrome and 3-8% of them have PMDD. It is thought that a diet low in sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol and high in certain vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium can help to mitigate the symptoms of PMS. A recent study of 158 women took place to determine whether vitamin D was effective in treating PMS-related mood disorders. Patients in the vitamin D-fed group reported less severity in mood changes anxiety than the control group. Females with a genetic background linked to depression appear to be at a higher risk for developing PMDD. In a recent study, results suggest point to a possible biological cause behind the symptoms of PMDD: people with PMDD might have a gene group that is “over expressed” and causes hormone reactions to go haywire.

Natural solutions like exercise and herbal options can help in reducing the severity of PMS symptoms. Herbs like St. John’s Wort can be used to handle depression and anxiety often associated with hormonal changes. Calcium carbonate can be useful for women with milder symptoms, and SSRIs have been shown to help those with more intense PMS symptoms. Drugs like anti-inflammatory medicines can help pain-related symptoms, but contraceptives and anti-depressants like fluoxetine, paroxetine and sertraline are prescribed in order to manage the emotional symptoms of PMS and PMDD.

Most women throughout the world experience at least some of the symptoms of PMS which include bloating, cramps, irritability, sadness, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain. But about 2 to 5 percent suffer from PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) which is characterized as PMS symptoms so severe that they interfere with a woman’s daily life.

Because women with PMDD reportedly have normal hormone levels, researchers have long been stumped as to the core cause behind their extreme symptoms—in other words, women with PMDD seem to be more sensitive to hormonal shifts, but until recently, no one has figured out why this may be. Surprising results recently revealed in in a study published in Molecular Psychiatry showed a possible biological cause behind the extreme mood changes associated with PMDD: they think that it may have to do with genes.

The experiment involved “turning off” the hormones (progesterone and estrogen) in 10 women with PMDD and a control group of nine people without. Somehow the women with PMDD stopped experiencing mood shifts when the hormones were “turned off,” but the control group still experienced the regular mood changes. This difference is what cued researchers to compare gene complexes between the two groups—and that’s where they found the difference. After comparing genes between groups, they figured out that the presence of “abnormal signaling in cells” in a set of genes called ESC/E (Z) were likely the cause behind PPMD sufferers’ unusually high sensitivity to hormones. In PMDD sufferers, this gene group was “over expressed,” and therefore more likely to cause extreme changes in the way they respond to hormones. This finding could explain why women with PMDD were somehow more sensitive to pre-period surges of sex hormones.

This study was only conducted on a small sample of women, so these results are by no means set in stone. There’s plenty of research to be done to determine the certain causes behind PMDD. But this is the first time the cause has been linked to molecular activity, which will lead to further research in this direction, which we hope will lead to more effective treatments for PMDD.




Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a monthly struggle for many women around the world in their childbearing years. It is caused bynatural hormonal fluctuations which contribute to many mental and physical changes in the body. Many of the mood-related symptoms associated with PMS, such as irritability, anxiety, depression and fatigue, can be managed through natural supplements such as calcium, magnesium, B and E vitamins. Other effective treatments for mood-related PMS symptoms include anti-depressants and contraceptives.

There is a growing body of evidence showing links between depression and low vitamin D levels. A recent study in the Journal of Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology assessed 158 women aged 15-21 over a 4-month period to determine whether vitamin D was effective in treating PMS-related mood disorders. Half of the group was assigned to the vitamin D group, and the other half to a placebo group. Patients in the vitamin D group reported less anxiety, irritability and sadness by the end of the study, whereas the placebo group reported no changes.

Although the sample size of this study was relatively small, the results demonstrate a significant decrease in severity of symptoms after four months of regular vitamin D intake. This means that vitamin D may be an appropriate part of a natural health treatment plan for women experience severe PMS-related mood changes. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a myriad of different health issues, including depression, low estrogen levels, a weakened immune system, and aches and pains. Because it helps the body to absorb calcium, which has shown to lessen PMS symptoms, taking vitamin D alongside calcium and magnesium should be an effective way to mitigate PMS symptoms that are both physical and emotional. So, whether directly or indirectly, taking a vitamin D supplement is likely to contribute to lessening the severity of mood-and pain-related PMS symptoms.



Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) are characterized by a set of symptoms that occur throughout a woman’s cycle in association with hormone fluctuations. These symptoms and combinations of symptoms vary greatly from person to person and range from various sorts of pain to mood swings such as depression and irritability. Contraceptive hormones (CHCs) are sometimes prescribed in order to help women mitigate the symptoms associated with more severe cases of PMS and PMDD.

A new study in the Journal of Women’s Health ( compared reports on symptom severity between a group of women taking contraceptive hormones and a group of women who were not taking hormones. The women who were taking hormones reported less variation and severity in mood swings as well as less severe physical symptoms than women not on hormones. Both groups still reported symptoms which increased in severity as they got closer to the start of their periods, but the severity and variation in the CHC group was less.

This suggests a slight correlation between lower severity of symptoms and contraceptive use in the pre-menstrual phase of the month.

Along with contraceptives, anti-depressants such as Wellbutrin ( are also sometimes prescribed in order to manage the severe depression and anxiety that are thought to be caused (or exacerbated) by PMS and PMDD. However, jumping into such treatment options can be risky because it means that the patient runs the risk of relying too much on these drugs to mask symptoms when there could be other causes for hormone fluctuations, such as diet or aging. Because the causes and outcomes of female hormone fluctuations are so vast and complex, it’s important to consider a holistic approach to PMS and PMDD treatment. ( Hormone treatments may still be considered, but in lower doses than most doctors would have suggested in the past. Natural solutions like a low-sugar diet can also help to regulate hormonal shifts. And finally, natural herbs such as St. John’s Wort have been shown to effectively manage depression and anxiety often associated with hormonal changes.

Always remember to check with your doctor before starting any supplemental therapy, especially if you are already taking hormonal therapy or anti-depressants.




When it comes to PMS, the symptoms are broad, varied and affect everyone differently. Some women may feel lightheaded and nauseous, others might notice headaches and fatigue, and others might feel a lot of body pain. Most women feel the bloating/water retention and mood swings.

Treatment options are vast and varied and depend on the specific symptom. Many women today are turning to natural alternatives for symptom relief since herbal remedies tend to be safer and more gentle on our systems than synthetic medications. Herbal remedies work with our bodies to ease discomfort and pain without the dangerous side effects that often come with traditional medications. Some herbs may help to balance hormones like estrogen as well as release the body’s natural pain-reducers, endorphins.

Here are 10 alternative herbal remedies that can be used to manage the pain, discomfort, mood swings and other symptoms commonly associated with PMS. Always check with a health care professional before trying new remedies at home.

Dong Quai is traditionally used for gynecological problems as well as fatigue. It has been used for centuries to manage pain related to childbirth and menstruation.

Maca may help to balance hormonal fluctuations that occur alongside menstruation.

Wild Yam is a popular option for decreasing uterine cramping. It is thought to be used for regulating estrogen levels.

Valerian is a sedative that tends to have a calming effect.

Black cohosh is used for menopause, specifically regarding mood swings and sleep problems. It is thought to relax the uterus.

Burdock root has anti-inflammatory effects and can help balance hormones.

St. John’s Wort is used to combat the depression and anxiety commonly associated with PMS.

Cramp bark can help with bloating and cramping.

Ginkgo can be helpful in relieving symptoms such as water retention and breast pain.

Chasteberry is thought to reduce breast pain, irritability, constipation and headaches.


Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a painful monthly struggle for the majority of the world’s women in their childbearing years. The types of pain that PMS can present include joint pain, fatigue, headaches, back, stomach and leg cramps. There is no real cure for PMS, however, when we understand the cause, we can take steps to mitigate the symptoms and minimize the pain. Some ways to manage PMS pain include over the counter pain relief such as Midol or Advil, exercise, sex, the application of heat, acupuncture, and various supplements and herbal remedies. It’s important that people with PMS experiment with different ways of managing pain, as some may be more effective than others.

One recent study in the Journal of Women’s Health suggests that much of the pain-related PMS symptoms that women commonly report may actually be symptoms of inflammation. In a survey of 3,202 women, a biomarker called C-reactive protein (CRP) was positively correlated to PMS symptoms. The group of women monitored during this study are reporting on an ongoing basis, so the conclusion of this study isn’t offering specific prescriptive advice. However, if women can find out which factors may be affecting swelling and inflammation in their regular day to day diet, this may also be a key to managing PMS pain.

Both inflammation and cramping are linked to the production of prostaglandins, substance in the body that functions similar to hormones. Choosing a diet that helps to regulate levels of prostaglandins, therefore, is thought to reduce general inflammation and pain throughout the month, as well as uterine cramping and other types of PMS symptoms. Anti-inflammatory foods to consider introducing into your regular diet for PMS pain relief include salmon, kelp, blueberries, as well as herbs such as turmeric and ginger. Green tea and virgin olive oil are also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Other important considerations for lessening inflammation and PMS pain include reducing sugar, caffeine and alcohol consumption.