5 Surprising but Effective Ways to Deal with PMS

Aug 10, 2023
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5 Surprising but Effective Ways to Deal with PMS


Have you been experiencing monthly discomforts like abdominal cramps, difficulty sleeping, and muscle aches? Are you also experiencing mood swings, lack of concentration, as well as random food cravings? Have you noticed these things happen before you have your period? If yes, then you might be experiencing premenstrual symptoms or PMS.

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are not limited to the ones mentioned above. PMS is a collection of symptoms that vary between individuals. Although it varies between different people, the pattern is usually predictable. Your friend may experience bloating, mood swings, and food cravings while you may experience a different set of symptoms whenever you're 1 to 2 weeks away from your menstrual period. 

Most people who experience PMS endure the discomfort even if it affects their life and even their relationships. Some may have experienced being told that they are just overreacting or that they have a low pain tolerance. We are here to let you know that you are not alone and that what you are experiencing is valid. However, why endure the symptoms when there are ways to manage and even avoid them?

In Western medicine, those experiencing cramps during their premenstrual phase would be recommended to take over-the-counter pain medications. While some would be prescribed birth control pills. While these medications do work for most, there are some who do not experience relief. Not to mention that those taking birth control pills and pain medications may experience multiple side effects in the long run. If you are wary of those side effects and are looking for natural and less invasive ways to manage PMS, then you should try traditional Chinese medicine.

The philosophy of TCM with PMS is that multiple organ systems contribute to the condition of the uterus. One of those is the liver system. Stagnation with the liver qi brings negative emotions which can also lead to physical symptoms and blood stagnation which causes physical pain. The goal is to maintain the balance between organ systems and elements within the body to manage PMS. In order to reach the balance, there are several things that you need to add (and subtract) in your life to manage and even avoid PMS based on the TCM approach.


1. Diet modification

Food cravings are one of the symptoms of PMS. It's absolutely okay to satisfy those cravings but keep in mind to always consume in moderation, especially with sweets and high-sodium foods. In TCM, consuming warm foods is encouraged when you have PMS. Warm and cooked meals such as stews and soups with vegetables and proteins are recommended. Avoid eating raw foods like salad and sashimi as those can aggravate PMS cramps. If you regularly incorporate a well-balanced diet following the TCM recommendations, your hormones will be regulated and food cravings can be avoided.

2. Physical activities

TCM recommends light to moderate intensity exercises when you are a week from your period. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, and pilates are suitable physical activities to participate in. Stretching is also highly beneficial when you're having knots and other body aches. Physical activities also trigger your happy hormones which can help in reducing mood swings and anxiety.

3. Herbal tea

Although coffee and milk can be taken warm, TCM recommends that you avoid them when you're having PMS symptoms. Warm or room-temperature water is still recommended for hydration. Another recommendation is that you drink herbal teas like ginger tea. Ginger tea warms the womb and has a lot of beneficial nutrients. Herbal medications can also be taken in the form of tea. Consult a certified herbalist to know what works best for you.

4. Oils and ointment

To help you with your sleep, essential oils such as lavender can be placed in a diffuser or sprayed on your linens. Ointments containing several different oils and herbs can also be used topically to address your gastric discomfort and abdominal cramps. 

5. Book an acupuncture appointment

Acupuncture is one if not the most well-known therapeutic method of TCM. Can acupuncture help in dealing with PMS? Yes! The practice has been applied for thousands of years and modern medicine is continuously proving the benefits of acupuncture to female health. Acupuncture therapy is not the only thing an acupuncturist can do to help you with your PMS. Depending on what will be most beneficial for you, an acupuncturist may add moxibustion, cupping, herbal soak, and even manual therapy to your treatment plan. Tui Na is bodywork and a combination of techniques to improve the flow of energy within the body following the concept of acupuncture points and meridians. One to two acupuncture sessions per week are recommended for those who are coming in for PMS treatment.


Book an appointment with Dr. Ting Wu here at NYC Acupuncture+Wellness. Dr. Ting Wu is a certified herbalist and Doctor of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine who has proven expertise in women's health.