How To Beat PMS

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One of the reasons why I love Eric is because he is fearless. He has gone Skydiving in Australia, bungee jumping in Niagara, and whitewater rafting in Ottawa. He is a thrill seeker by nature and nothing really seems to frazzle his nerves.

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Wheeeeeeee.

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PS- I’m trying to get him to upload his skydiving video too…it’s crazy!

So yes, he is fearless, or should I say mostly fearless. Everyone has a demon that they fight…

Eric fears monsters.

Not the kind that sleep under your bed at night though, but the kind that sleep in bed with you.

The PMS Monster.

The PMS monster is a term that Eric uses to describe the monthly occurrence when his wife turns into a somewhat less pleasant, irritable, and hormonal version of herself (to put it kindly).

Eric and I generally have a very fun-loving and playful relationship. We joke, we laugh, we are sarcastic as hell, and we make fun of each other all the time. It is all in good fun. However, Eric always knows when the PMS monster has surfaced when his normally funny jokes are met with the look.

When Eric sees the look, he slowly backs away from the PMS monster. It can strike at any time, without warning.

While I have never suffered from crippling cramps or other horrible PMS symptoms, I would say that I do have a moderate amount. I get lots of abdominal cramps, bloating, lower back pain, moodiness/irritability, tenderness, and a tiredness that I can’t shake despite getting a full 7-8 hours night of sleep. Every morning for a week I wake up feeling like a zombie.

Every month, without fail, the PMS monster strikes whether I like it or not.

This morning I woke up irritable, bloated, and with lots of cramps and lower back pain. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, that is for sure. I decided that today I was going to do everything in my power to fight the PMS monster and to turn my mood around.

I told Eric that I was going to write a post on How To Beat PMS…and he goes, ‘Ummm…I wouldn’t say that you beat PMS….

Touché.

I said, ‘Yea, well I know that you suffer from P-‘man’-S!’  I learned in a psychology course that there is a male form of PMS when men experience hormonal shifts on a cyclic basis. Male PMS explains so much!!!

How To Beat the PMS Monster:

 

1) As soon as you wake up make a Green Monster packed with greens or make a fresh vegetable juice. This morning when I got up I made a juice with spinach, lemon, beets, ginger, and carrots and I felt so much better after drinking it.

2) As soon as you can (preferably the morning), get in a hard, sweaty, tough workout. Normally I skip my workouts when I have cramps, but this morning I vowed to get outside and get in a tough workout to whip my mood back into shape!

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I kept telling myself, ‘You will feel like a million bucks when you are done!’ over and over and over. I had to believe that a miracle was possible. 

Eric is on vacation today so he came along on his bike to keep me company. We did the murder hill route and I managed to run a hilly, 7.5 miles in 1 hour 7 minutes. It was a very tough workout but once I got 3.75 miles out and turned back, all I had to do was make it back home! The run back was deceiving this time though because it is all uphill from miles 3.5-7!

The run:

  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Time: 1:07 mins
  • Avg Pace: 9:01 min/mile
  • Avg heart rate: 155 bpm

 

Mile splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:53
  • Mile 2: 8:59
  • Mile 3: 9:01 (from mile 3 murder hill began and then it was uphill until mile 7!)
  • Mile 4: 9:18
  • Mile 5: 9:17
  • Mile 6: 9:21
  • Mile 7: 8:50 (started to pick up my pace to finish strong)
  • Mile 7-7.5: 3:56 (equals a 7:53/mi pace)

 

Eric was biking beside me when I was sprinting and he kept saying ‘Come on is that all you got!? Feed the warrior!!!!’ I was laughing so hard and trying not to wipe out in the process. Nothing like giggling when you are trying to sprint!

As I predicted, I felt on cloud nine after this run and my mood was lifted the entire day. My cramps also went away by the time I was home too. I will have to remember this for next time!

3) Eat energizing foods. For lunch I had this amazing bowl of stir-fry leftovers from last night mixed with my Canadian Maple Baked Beans. It was awesome! So many great flavours.

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4) Have an Epsom salt bath. My sister Kristi got me hooked on Epsom salt bath soaks! I have an Epsom salt bath after long runs and after races. A rich source of magnesium, Epsom salts relieve pain and muscle cramps and relax the body, mind, and soul. I highly recommend them if you haven’t tried one before!

5) Indulge your chocolate craving. In the past I used to try to deny my chocolate cravings, but now I always allow myself a bit of chocolate when I crave it. I love intense dark chocolate and my 3-ingredient chocolate covered raisins when a craving strikes.

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Do you suffer from PMS? What are your tips and tricks for beating the PMS monster?

I have heard of many women using herbs for PMS and I have always been interested in learning more. I also used to know a lady at work who used to swear by a shot of rum or warm Baileys to cure menstrual cramps.  A woman after my own heart!  :lol:

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Jocelyn July 2, 2010

oh yea ALEVE is my savior. I used to swear by midol..but ever since taking aleve…it really seems to nip cramps in the butt!

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Annie D. @ Annie's Simple Life July 2, 2010

Uggggghhhhh I had this yesterday!!!! What a pain!!! Seriously.

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Kris July 2, 2010

There is a difference between premenstrual syndrome and menstrual pain. I have never suffered from PMS, but have always had horrible cramps and the associated lower GI upset during my period. I listen to my body. Often that means skipping the workout for a day or two because I need to be close to the bathroom (sorry, TMI). I take naps if I need to or go to bed early, wear comfy clothes, and try to relax. I died from cramps until Aleve became an OTC drug in the 90s. Nothing else helped but Aleve was a godsend for me. In college at our student health center, a doctor did recommend having a shot of booze to relax the smooth muscle and thus relieve the cramps. Only recommended if one doesn’t have a drinking problem :)

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Eimear Rose July 3, 2010

I don’t get PMS too badly, but I do get dysmenorrhea pretty bad. That said I went off the pill in Jan and have only had two periods this year so far. I’ve found switching to a totally plant diet, taking agnus castus from ovulation to my period and then drinking raspberry leaf tea starting a day or two before IT does has helped a lot. However I still find exercise pretty much impossible as the pain is nauseating and often causes diarrhea. I just take it easy, drink the tea and use a hot water bottle. While staying hydrated is good, too much can flush out important minerals that you need to help with the cramps. So yes avoid dehydration, but don’t drink extra (unless you’ve got the runs). When I’m bad I find 2 glasses of strong red wine helps. Sometimes though, nothing works but strong painkillers and going to bed.

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Wei-Wei July 2, 2010

Eh. I never used to really suffer from PMS but my monthlies still aren’t here, so… My mom always recommends eating chocolate, though. Any excuse to eat it is fine with me ;) Oh, and exercise is always supposed to help.

Wei-Wei

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Elli @ 16 and Losing It July 2, 2010

I have definitely been the PMS monster before! Although I tend to become more of a PMS wimp, I get all weepy and emotional. Your run sounds like fun! (despite being uphill the second half) I wish I had someone next to me keeping me laughing when I’m trying to run sometimes. I have read many places that exercise helps with cramps, it gets everything “flowing” to put it nicely. Although it is definitely the last thing I want to do when I feel all tired, and weepy from “Aunt Flo.” Good for you for beating the PMS monster!

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Anna July 2, 2010

THANK YOU for addressing this! I have been suffering from some REALLY wicked PMS in the last couple months and I have no idea why. It’s not just cramps- I get SO nauseous and sick to my stomach. Blech. Exercise doesn’t seem to help either. In fact, it seems to make it worse. I’ll feel fine when I begin, but about 10 minutes in I have to call it quits because I get hit with this wall of stomach pain and cramps. It’s crazy. I feel like I should get this checked out because it doesn’t seem normal. Not sure why I just dumped this on you. Haha.

I like the idea of killing it with booze.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 2, 2010

I think seeing your doc about it is always a good idea…I hope you find some relief!

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Nicholek July 2, 2010

Lots of magnesium (mood boosting & relaxing), calcium (tons of research on this one), and omega 3s (anti-inflammatory & pain relief), preferably all the time, but especially the week before you expect the monster to strike! If water retention is a problem, also increase foods high in vitamin C and foods with mild diuretic properties like celery, leeks, and watercress. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid sugary, starchy, salty foods.

Mood boosing exercise like cardio and yoga are great too, and you can never go wrong with dark chocolate! (tons of magnesium and antioxidants)

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Meg July 2, 2010

I just came across your blog, so hi! I had to laugh outloud about this post because I can completely relate! This was perfect *timing* for me. ;) Unfortunately for my hubby, my PMS monster is about 1.5 weeks long. My husband jokes he likes me 2 weeks out of every month. Unfortunately, mine is mostly bloating with severe moodiness. Sigh. Those are really great tips, although green monsters terrify me! :)

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Lauren M. July 2, 2010

OH. MY. GOSH. I get sooooo emotional when I’m PMS-ing. I cry, I argue, I snap at people for no reason. I get cramps, but running only seems to make them worse. Every month I tell myself that I’m not going let the PMS take over my life, but every month it happens. It’s like telling yourself that you’re going to drink an entire bottle of wine and not feel tipsy. It’s just not possible. Lately i’ve been taking Oil of Evening Primrose and Omega 3s. One of my customers at trader joe’s suggested it to me. I don’t know if I’ve noticed any changes, but I’m going to stick with it and see what happens.

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Lauren July 2, 2010

Hi Angela,
I’ve been reading your blog for 6 months now, and I must say, as a physician, I think you are ON THE RIGHT TRACK! I am an Ob/gyn and I think the essence of your blog post is to love oneself in the midst of monthly hormone fluctuation. I think this is the best viewpoint to take! Cheers to all the women who read here!
LP

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Ashley July 2, 2010

*Dandelion tea! It’s excellent for reducing bloat!! Apple cider vinegar works well too :)
*Evening primrose oil… great for tenderness.
*Magnesium… good for reducing irritability and promoting relaxation!

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Mama Pea July 2, 2010

I know you might hate me for saying this, but I don’t get PMS. In fact, I have a Mirena and thus don’t even have a period. You will forgive me though, when I tell you that what I lack in cramps and moodiness, I make up for in cellulite…and moodiness. :)

Have a great weekend, Ang.

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Alesea August 29, 2012

I heard that it’s dangerous to have Mirena. Long term use increases cancer risk and sepsis.

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Natalie @ cinnamonbums July 2, 2010

great tips for warding off PMS!!! actually i used to suffer from PMS a lot and have the WORST cramps (like be on the verge of fainting) but after i became vegetarian at the age of 16, my PMS became a lootttt better. i always crave tons of carbs + CHOCOLATE, and i ALWAYS indulge those cravings.. .makes life a lot better. i also find that getting enough rest/sleep helps a LOT. and staying away from really icy foods helps too because i think warm foods help with circulation!

thanks for this post! i’m sure all the women out there appreciate it ;)

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Gypsy July 2, 2010

It seems to help me just recognizing that I have PMS – so when I get overly emotional about something or I feel fat and bloated I can just realize that it’ll all be back to normal in a few days!
Also – I agree that working out definitely helps both mood and cramps. Midol for extreme pms :)

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Candice July 3, 2010

I always find that exercise helps with my mood and my cramps! Great tips!

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Ellani July 3, 2010

I suffer from really bad cramps (sometimes for two weeks at a time!), headaches, and heavy periods. My doctor put me on bc because my hormone levely were a bit askew. This helped, but then I went off it to have children (2 wonderful girls), and when I tried it again, it made everything worse!
Since going vegan, I have felt a whole bunch better!!!!!!
Cramps and headaches down to a couple of days before my period, and considerably lighter flow. But still bad cramps and definitely one day of bad mood. Miles of improvement, but not complete alleviaiton.
Three things seem to help me a lot:
1) spinach, chocolate soy smoothie: with banana, cocoa powder, spinach, and soy milk! That chocolatey goodness really perks me up.
2) A good work out. I agree with you that this really helps…though I really have to motivate myself to do it. But the endorphins battle the pain like nothing else.
3) Aleve (though I hate taking meds…it can’t always be avoided).

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Lacey July 3, 2010

I too suffer from the PMS monster. I wish my husband would learn about ‘the look’ and back off but instead he likes to poke the monster and then I am forced to attack.. I am not in control its the PMS monster lol.

I suffer pretty bad so much so that I have had to get pain killers from the Dr. So when I am suffering I pop my pain killer, put a heating pap/hot water bottle on my back and watch tv while I eat whatever I crave. Usually this involves a cheesy pizza and chocolate. :-)

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Maria July 3, 2010

Good food, definitely! Speaking of which, I just made your “in a jiffy spelt veggie burgers”, but used pinto beans instead of chick peas, and oh man! I loved them. I’m officially hooked! Delish!

About bloating, does anyone of you remember making the transition to being a vegan? I’m now in my third week of being completely vegan, from being mostly vegetarian before, and I am constantly bloated. And we’re not talking minor bloat here, we’re talking “several months pregnant” -like bloat Could it be detox? That my body is just getting used to this new diet? Should I just wait it out? Has anyone had similar experiences? Any advice is appreciated.

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kayla July 3, 2010

if you eat a lot of veggies, especially raw , then it’s most likely from that. Broccolli especially casuses bloating! (It’s bc of all the fiber in fruits and veggies that do it)

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Amy July 3, 2010

Hi, I want to make your cherry bread. Can you tell me where you get coconut butter? I live overseas so if you know an online source that would be even better. Thanks, amy

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Becky July 3, 2010

I got coconut butter on amazon.com I believe. If not try vitacost.com

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Sarah July 3, 2010

Great tips! I tend to get VERY moody during PMS. It sounds like you handle it MUCH better than I do!

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Danielle July 3, 2010

When I was a teenager I used to get crippling leg cramps. Very deep muscle pain that felt like it was radiating from my bones. It was awful, and often left me in bed all day because it was too painful to stand. Thank goodness those extreme pains have never returned, but now I use yoga and biking to ease any abdominal or lower back pain.

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Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf July 3, 2010

Nice tips! I typically take a pain killer as soon as I feel a cramp coming on (usually only during the first day or two) because if I don’t, the cramps will get so bad that I’ll throw up. I use a heating pad when my cramps get bad. Mostly what keeps me feeling normal and still human is just keeping refreshed. Working out works too!

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Juliana July 3, 2010

I have recently discovered a homeopathic remedy that is very helpful! Boiron (my favorite homeopathic brand) makes dissolvable tablets for PMS and cramps that are wonderful! It won’t knock out the pain as well as Ibuprofen, but it lowers the pain, takes away bloating and reduces moodiness using natural herbs – and I’m sure you would agree that where you can avoid taking the hard stuff (Ibuprofen causes liver damage), you should take advantage!

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Juliana July 3, 2010

One more thing – for all the suffering women out there — My mom’s friend is a holistic healer and she recommended I take these babies: http://www.newsun.net/upgrade/product_info.php?products_id=107

I used to suffer from intense cramps (I would even black out from the pain) and my breasts would DOUBLE in size, it was terrible. This blend has some herbs that have reduced the pain and swelling considerably. In particular, one of the herbs in the blend is called Chaste Berry, which had been recommended by several natural doctors, is what I think is responsible for me feeling better. The only thing I would advise if anyone is interested is that they experiment with the amount they take – I think the bottle says one with every meal but I found that I only need one a day.

There’s more on Chaste Berry and other herb/vitamin recommendations here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/pms-relief-how-to-elimina_b_617365.html

Hopefully I can help at least one of you ladies! (Yeesh, the things women go through…)

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Olya July 3, 2010

My PMS nearly broke my marriage 2 years ago. My husband didn’t understand why his so-much-fun-to-be-with wife suddenly turns into I’m-offended-at-anything-you-say monster. It took me a decent amount of time to convince him that PMS exists and now he just laughs my moodiness away.
when I worked in a cafe I used to drink tons of hot chocolate during my PMS days thinking that it cures me until my colleague said that I’m making an excuse and any hot drink (incl green tea) would ease my pains. I wish she never opened my eyes on that matter! :)))

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Triathlonbabe aka Grace July 3, 2010

Wow, the bungee jumping over water so interests me immensely. I would love to do that some day. Skydiving as well, is on my bucket list to do one day. I guess I should say I’m a bit of a thrillseeker sometimes too. Not always, but if it interests me just a bit I’ll try it just to try it.

As for PMS, oh I know so well what you ladies are going through. I did for many years, but not anymore as I had a hysterectomy last Dec. and OMG, that was the best thing I could’ve done. Woohoo, I’m free!!!! Yippeeee! When I did have horrible PMS, working out was the best remedy for me when I felt good enough to get out and do it.

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Lauren July 4, 2010

Even though PMS sucks, you should celebrate it. It really is a gift because it means your body is working and you are healthy. Take it from someone who hasn’t got their period in 4 YEARS. It is wayyy more detrimental NOT to have it. I feel like I’m broken. :(

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faith @ gracefulfitness July 4, 2010

Angela, thanks again for a pertinent and beautifully honest post.
OMG, I know exactly what you are talking about when your husbands jokes are no longer funny or the littlest thing is irritating. I find that the more time I can spend alone during the monster phase the better. And curling up with the occasional trashy tv show or chic flick doesn’t hurt either.

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