PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome is an unavoidable ailment for many women everywhere. It causes changes in the hormonal make-up of your body, not to mention changes in your emotions as your body prepares for its monthly menstruation. These changes in your body are what cause the pain and discomfort we all know as PMS. To make our lives easier, here are five ways to minimize PMS pain:

  1. Watch what you eat.

This is a crucial point! During PMS, the estrogen levels in the body spike up and down which causes the painful cramps. To combat this, the estrogen levels have to be regulated and the simplest way to do so is by watching what you eat. Maintain a low-fat, high-fibre diet: This helps lower estrogen levels and therefore reduce the pain and impact on the uterine cells.

  1. Get that body moving!

The idea of exercise might seem horrifying for some, especially when going through sharp headaches and stomach cramps, but a little exercise goes a long way in diminishing the pain. Exercise pumps your blood and transports endorphins to your whole body. These endorphins combat ‘prostaglandis’, the set of hormones that cause period cramps. Plus, exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which help alleviate the migraines and cramps—And it boosts your mood!

Pro-tip: Listen to your body: Don’t do anything too strenuous. Simple physical activity like beginners’ level yoga or even a simple walk in your local park would do.

  1. Drink warm tea.

Keeping your tummy area warm is important to help reduce the period cramps, and one way to do that is by drinking warm tea. Tea also has calming properties, which will aid in the moodiness PMS usually brings.

Pro-tip: Drink ginger tea with your breakfast in the mornings to keep your body warm and get you through the day, and take in some chamomile tea at night to help you sleep soundly.

  1. Vitamin Up!

Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12 and Omega-3 fatty acids are the vitamins you need especially around this time of the month. They help decrease endometriosis, that is, the inflammation of the uterine walls (which causes the cramps).

Pro-tip: Vitamin D-rich foods include tuna, soy milk and cereals. Vitamin B-12 can be found in tuna fish and cottage cheese. Increase your salmon fish intake as it contains a good amount of Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Step away from the java.

Coffee is one of the many wonders of the mornings. However, caffeine intake has to be reduced to lessen the impact of PMS. Caffeine itself feels good but the ‘crash’ is dangerous because it causes anxiety and irritability. During the PMS stage leading up to the period itself, switch it up: Swap the coffee for some warm lemon-infused water. Lemon helps detox your body and will make you feel amazing throughout the day and in the long run.

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Sa'adah is a lover of the arts who studied English Literature and Drama & Theatre Studies. She frequently participates in music, stage productions and the art of writing.