If you are a woman, you have probably experienced PMS at least once in your life, if not every month. Its unpleasant symptoms make your body and mind feel blah, and it’s tempting to take pills to help. However, there are more natural ways to get back to feeling your best. Keep reading to learn how essential oils can combat even your worst PMS symptoms!
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What Is PMS?
PMS, also known as premenstrual syndrome, occurs a week or two before your period. It can last for just a day or as long as one week. Usually PMS symptoms disappear around 4 days before the start of the period. PMS can include a wide variety of symptoms that vary in intensity from barely there to almost unbearable. Usually, though, you can predict your own symptoms based on past cycles. About 3 out of every 4 women experience premenstrual syndrome in some capacity.
No one is certain what causes PMS. However, doctors suspect symptoms are a result of hormonal fluctuations that happen naturally during the menstrual cycle. Fluctuations in the chemical serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood, may also be responsible.
There is a wide variety of symptoms associated with PMS. Common physical symptoms of PMS include tender breasts, fatigue, headaches, joint and/or muscle pain, acne breakouts, bloating of the abdomen, weight gain from fluid retention, and gastrointestinal problems like constipation or diarrhea. PMS is also known for causing mental and emotional symptoms. These can include food cravings, mood swings, irritability, depression, insomnia, anxiety, not wanting to socialize, and not being able to concentrate. Most women do not experience every symptom every cycle and may feel different combinations of these symptoms. While PMS symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with your daily life, they are not usually overwhelming. If your PMS symptoms cause a disabling amount of emotional stress and turmoil, you may have another syndrome called PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Best Essential Oils For PMS
Many people turn to over-the-counter or prescription drugs to combat their PMS symptoms. Anti-depressants are often prescribed to help with the emotional symptoms, while hormonal contraceptives are used to stop ovulation, keeping all PMS symptoms at bay. Some women use diuretics to help with water retention and bloating and NSAIDs like Advil to ease the discomfort of breast pain and cramps. However, there are more natural methods to dealing with your PMS symptoms. Essential oils can help with both physical and emotional symptoms, all without filling your body with man-made chemicals!
Eucalyptus oil, extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, is known for its many uses from an antiseptic to an insect repellent. For PMS, its anti-inflammatory properties work wonders on relieving joint, muscle, and breast pain and cramps. Eucalyptus oil also boosts the immune system, which is key when your body is run down during PMS and your period.
2. Rose Essential Oil
This oil, extracted from many species of rose petals, helps regulate your menstrual cycle. By getting your hormone levels back to normal, rose oil reduces cramping and overall improves PMS symptoms in general.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is great for improving blood flow. This can help with the cramps and headaches that often accompany PMS. More importantly, this oil is known for its calming effect. Whether it’s rubbed on the skin with a carrier oil or inhaled as vapor, lavender oil will relax the mind and body and reduce the stress and anxiety you feel during your cycle.
4. Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
This essential oil is known for its sedative properties. This means that rubbing it on your body or inhaling the vapor will calm your mind. For PMS, ylang-ylang oil is great for reducing symptoms like anxiety, depression, and mood swings. It has also been proven to lower high blood pressure and reduce sebum production, which can lead to period-related acne. It can even reduce cramps thanks to its antispasmodic properties! Ylang-ylang oil also smells amazing, a floral scent similar to jasmine or neroli, so you or your home will have a lovely aroma!
Made from the same plant used in your favorite soothing tea, chamomile oil is one of the best natural ways to chill out. Its calming qualities help relax the body and mind. When you are feeling anxiety, stress, and irritability during PMS, draw a warm bath and add some chamomile oil to it. After your soak you will feel in a much better mood! This essential oil also has anti-inflammatory qualities, which helps relax your sore muscles and reduces cramping.
6. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage has been used as a natural medicine for a very long time, all the way back to the Ancient Greeks! While clary sage is often used as a flavoring and scent for alcoholic beverages, perfumes, and wines, it also has health benefits. Inhale the vapor of this essential oil and you will feel instant relief from emotional and mental PMS symptoms. Good-bye insomnia, anxiety, and depression!
7. Geranium Essential Oil
Most geranium essential oil is extracted from the rose geranium, so named because of its beautiful rose-like scent. A common oil used in aromatherapy and massage, geranium oil helps relax both the mind and body. Add some to a bath or massage into your feet or temples whenever you are feeling moody or stressed during PMS. You will feel soothed and relaxed in no time!
Essential Oil Blends For Symptoms
Sometimes a blend of different essential oils will have stronger impact on your symptoms than one oil alone. Here are some formulas to follow for when one PMS symptom really has you down:
A blend of rosemary, basil, and grapefruit oils will give you an energy boost when your period has you feeling run down. All of these essential oils are known for their energizing properties, so keeping a small diffuser at your desk at work or adding the blend to your lotion will keep you going all day, even on your most sluggish PMS day.
2. Stomach Problems
Does PMS cause you digestive woes? Try a blend of ginger, peppermint, and chamomile essential oils mixed into a glass of water. This will settle your stomach in a snap, whether you are dealing with constipation, diarrhea, or just a rumbly tummy.
3. Bloating and Water Retention
Swollen hands and feet and a bloated belly are no fun. Massage a blend of lavender, juniper berry, and birch oils onto bloated areas to help reduce your symptoms. You can even add this formula to a bath if you feel bloated all over.
4. Mood Swings
A blend of geranium, chamomile, clary sage, and marjoram oils will help when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Inhale the vapor of this combo or massage it into your body for instant relief from anxiety, depression, and mood swings during PMS.
PMS cramps can be debilitating! A mix of lavender, clary sage, chamomile, ginger, geranium, and marjoram uses blends soothing and anti-inflammatory properties to make you feel better. Massage this blend onto your belly, back, and hips to reduce the pain of cramps and muscle aches.
6. Hormonal Imbalance
PMS messes with hormone levels, which is why you just don’t feel right in general during that time. Get your hormones back to normal with a blend of clary sage (which helps the brain produce the happy hormone dopamine and regulates estrogen levels in the body), geranium (which helps regulate hormone levels), and ylang-ylang essential oils to feel back to your regular self.
7. Food Cravings
Got a craving for all things salty, sweet, and greasy during PMS? Curb those cravings and save your diet with a mix of fennel and patchouli oils. This blend has a sweet flavor so when added to a glass of water can help fight your sweet tooth.
Remember: never apply essential oils directly to your skin! They are very potent and can cause irritation. Instead, add a few drops of your essential oil of choice to your favorite body lotion or mix it with a carrier oil like coconut oil. Adding a few drops to a warm bath is also nice and relaxing, especially during PMS. To reap the health benefits of essential oils, plus fill your home with moisturizing vapor and a pleasant scent, invest in a diffuser. They can come relatively cheap and make it easy to experience your essential oils, plus they make great decor pieces!
During the worst days of PMS, it’s normal to want to reach for a handful of pills to make you feel better. But there are better ways! Rather than riddling your body with crazy man-made chemicals, try using essential oils instead. They can help reduce every symptom from mood swings to fatigue to cramps, all by using plants found in nature. Adding a few drops of essential oils to your bath, body lotion, water, or oil diffuser will help you feel better in no time, all without putting anything harmful into your body.