How To Deal With PMS

How To Deal With PMS

According to statistics, up to 75% of women experience negative symptoms before their period, including mood swings, bloating, cramps and breakouts. But feeling this way every month needn’t always be the case, according to the experts. From why it’s worth dusting off your yoga mat to the benefits of eating more seeds, here’s what they recommend…

Understand It’s Normal

“PMS – which can also be referred to as PMT – can be down to hormonal imbalances, although this isn’t usually the case. If your PMS is particularly intense, it could be down to high levels of oestrogen in relation to progesterone, which is our calming hormone and keeps oestrogen in check. This can arise due to stress, blood sugar imbalances, and even due to toxins and fake oestrogens (xeno-oestrogens) in the environment. However, as women, we are meant to have changes in our mood and energy. As you approach your period, your hormones are meant to drop and we have been designed to pull back, withdraw and slow down – it’s a protective mechanism. Instead, we ignore our body’s messages and go for a five-mile run or burn the candle at both ends with work, and that’s when we run into trouble. So often, people think they have PMS but it’s a case of listening to your body and working with it. Like an arrow, we have to pull back to spring forwards.” – Jodie Brandman, nutritional therapist specialising in female health 

Prepare For It To Get Worse As You Age

“During your teenage years, your hormones are still trying to figure out what they are doing, meaning PMS can be worse during this time, but hormones can also rear their head during the peri-menopause. I often see particularly severe mood swings in the go-getting, work-hard women who don’t take time to slow down and who almost fight against their cycles, particularly in their 30s and 40s.” – Jodie 

Recognise The Toll Caused By The Pandemic

“There’s no denying stress can wreak havoc with your cycle, and we’ve all seen more of this in the last year. The stress of recent uncertainty has resulted in a variety of changes to our cycles, such as longer and shorter cycles, heavier periods, more painful periods, shorter periods, longer periods, and more intense premenstrual symptoms. Throw stress-induced eating and drinking into the mix, as well as less movement, and this can lead to unpleasant periods.” – Le’Nise Brothers, women’s health and hormone nutritionist 

Scale Back Your Fitness Regime

“A week after ovulation and during your period, your hormones drop so you should focus on more restorative practices and if you are suffering with PMS, avoid cardio at all costs. Cardio raises cortisol, your stress hormone, and that in turn affects the hormones involved in PMS. Instead, stick to Pilates, barre and strength training, which will keep cortisol levels balanced.”– Jodie

Consider Yoga, Too

“Exercise can be hugely beneficial for managing pre-menstrual symptoms, especially those related to mood, pain and bloating. When you have your period, energy levels are typically lower, so this should be reflected in how you choose to workout. It could be worth giving yoga a go, which is a great way to boost mood and release endorphins. Yoga poses with gentle twists can be beneficial for premenstrual bloating.” – Le’Nise 

Be Mindful

“Mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing help shift the nervous system away from the sympathetic state – which is active when we are chronically stressed – into the parasympathetic state, which is associated with improved digestion, better sleep and improved mood. Chronic stress is associated with high cortisol levels, which can have a negative effect on insulin levels, lead to an imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone levels and have a negative effect on menstrual health. A simple deep breathing practice which focuses on taking a deep breath in through the nose for two counts and a deep breath out through the nose for two counts as many times as necessary is a lovely way to support premenstrual mood changes.” – Le’Nise

Your diet has more of an effect on your cycle than you think. Look at what you can add in – this will almost always be more vegetables, more fruit, better quality protein and good fats to make sure you’re getting what you need to support hormonal health.

Ditch The Tech 

“There are lots of apps out there which claim to help you track your cycle, in turn helping PMS symptoms. However, these can be confusing, and it can be stressful constantly thinking you need to get onto your phone to track how you’re feeling. Instead, tune into your body and find out when you are ovulating. You can also track your cervical fluid – this will show you when you are ovulating, and you’ll notice a week later your hormones start to dip. Try to look at your cycle in four parts, a little like the seasons – spring (the follicular phase), summer (ovulation), autumn (the luteal phase), and winter (menstruation).” – Jodie 

Know How To Support Your Ovulation

“When it comes to dealing with mood swings, my number one tip is to start thinking about what you can do to support ovulation. When we ovulate, we produce progesterone, the calming sex hormone, which helps improve mood and sleep and brings oestrogen levels back into balance. Adding in zinc-rich foods, such as pumpkin seeds, organic red meat and seafood; as well as selenium-rich foods, like Brazil nuts, sesame seeds and poultry, are fantastic ways to give your body the nutrients it needs to support healthy ovulation and in, turn, reduce PMS symptoms.” – Le’Nise 

Watch Your Diet

“Your diet has more of an effect on your cycle than you think. Look at what you can add in – this will almost always be more vegetables, more fruit, better quality protein and good fats to make sure you’re getting what you need to support hormonal health. When it comes to specific foods, be sure to load up on plenty of leafy greens, such as rocket, kale, cabbage and spinach, as well as cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and radishes. These vegetables will also increase your fibre intake to support digestion and optimal gut health and improve the balance between oestrogen and progesterone.” – Le’Nise 

Eat Plenty Of Seeds 

“You may have heard of seed cycling – a method of using various seeds to support different phases of the cycle to balance hormones and relieve PMS. Cycling refers to the rotation of different seeds between your two main menstrual cycle phases. However, don’t get overly fixated on seed cycling – instead, eat more seeds throughout your entire cycle. A daily tablespoon of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame or flax seeds throughout the cycle is a good idea, but there’s no need to be rigid about what you’re having and when.” – Le’Nise 

Accept When To Seek Help

“If your PMS is particularly severe, you may be suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD can cause extreme irritability, mood swings and/or anxiety and depression leading up to your period. Research suggests PMDD may impact up to 10% of people who have periods. If you believe your PMS symptoms are more severe, speak to your GP who will be able to determine if your symptoms are PMDD or another condition.” Meghan Holton, cup spokesperson for Saalt


Jodie Brandman is the founder of The Female Health Hub, helping women understand their cycles; visit and follow her on Instagram @JodieBrandman. For more information on Le’Nise, visit and follow her on Instagram @EatLoveMove. 


DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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