Natural Remedies for PMS
PMS is not normal. Your periods are not supposed to suck. That is the message I want to share with every woman who has ever experienced the ungodly pain of cramps or the frustration of hormonal breakouts. And that is why I wrote the book Quit PMS: How to End Your Menstrual Misery Naturally.
I struggled for years with debilitating periods. When I discovered that nutrition and lifestyle could address the much more dire threat of my autoimmune disease, I knew that this was also the answer to my hormone imbalances.
Sucky periods are a message from your body saying, “there are underlying imbalances here, and this is the way I can get your attention and show you what is wrong!” Below are 5 natural remedies for PMS that actually work, because they help address the root causes of PMS.
1. Munch a carrot a day
Did you know that munching on a raw carrot a day may help balance your hormones and reduce the symptoms of PMS?
Raw carrots contain a unique fiber that helps detox the body of excess estrogen. PMS results from too much estrogen, not enough progesterone, or a combo of both. You can blame imbalanced estrogen for menstrual breast tenderness, cramps, breakouts and bloating.
For the estrogen-detoxing results, the carrots must be raw. You can eat them whole or shred them coarsely and toss them with a vinaigrette for a carrot salad. Or try my Hazelnut, Carrot, and Ginger salad recipe, pictured below.
For best results, consume a raw carrot every day. However, the most important time to remember your carrots is a week before your period.
2. Get Heavy-Handed with Ghee
I recently shared 10 reasons why I use ghee as my primary fat/oil, reaching for it much more often than coconut or olive oil.
- Ghee from grassfed cows is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins, the building blocks for sex hormones
- Ghee is low in omega-6 fatty acids, which, while necessary in small amounts, contribute to inflammation if consumed in excess. Vegetable oils like peanut/corn/canola/safflower/soy oils contain high levels of omega-6.
- Ghee is a source of cholesterol, another essential building block for sex hormones. Cholesterol is not a villain, it is a nutrient. It is vital ingredient in the metabolic processes of your body. I debunk cholesterol myths in my ghee post.
- Increasing healthy fats in your diet supports balanced blood sugar – a crucial component for balanced hormones! Processed carbs, especially in the absence of fat, spikes blood sugar and insulin. This, in turn, exacerbates the estrogen dominance underlying PMS. Try my blood-sugar-balancing Buttermints, featuring ghee.
I recommend Purity Farms Grassfed Ghee, which is 30% off here at Thrive Market.
3. Support You Gallbladder
You may not have considered the crucial role your gallbladder plays in hormone health. As a matter of fact, a poorly-functioning gallbladder paves the way to PMS and hormone hell.
How does the gallbladder tie into PMS?
- The liver synthesizes bile. It packages up old hormones – including estrogen – and toxins that need to leave the body in the bile. Then it ships the bile to the gallbladder.
- The gallbladder stores bile and secretes it into the small intestine when we eat a meal with fat. The bile breaks down the fat, so we can absorb it, and then the old hormones/toxins in the bile exit the body with the feces.
- If your gallbladder is not functioning well, the bile become thick and stagnant in the gallbladder. As a result, the body reabsorbs the estrogen it needed to eliminate, contributing to estrogen dominance.
- To make matters worse, you can’t properly digest fats with thick, stuck bile. And the body needs to digest fats in order to synthesize hormones.
In a nutshell, poor gallbladder function equals the reabsorption of old estrogen and a deficiency in the building blocks required for new hormones.
Read my post 8 Ways to Improve Fat Malabsorption Naturally for action steps!
4. Get Needled
Before I started researching the nutritional treatment of PMS, I began acupuncture treatments in a desperate hope that it would alleviate my excruciating periods. Within two months of receiving weekly treatment, I couldn’t believe the results. My cycle went from a 8 down to a 4 on the Sucky Period Scale (10 being really, really sucky). I gradually lessened the frequency of my treatments, and now I receive a tune-up every couple of months.
I believe that acupuncture combined with nutrition provides an extraordinarily powerful approach to balancing hormones.
5. Boost Your Magnesium
Do you crave chocolate on your period? It is likely your body calling out for magnesium, since dark chocolate is a very high magnesium food.
According to Carol Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, magnesium levels fluctuate during your cycle. As progesterone and estrogen increase during the second half of the cycle, magnesium levels decrease. The lowered magnesium can contribute to cramps, headaches, and bloating.
Magnesium also plays a crucial role in insulin sensitivity (read: blood sugar balance) and glucose metabolism, two primary factors in hormone balance. Supplementation with magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes.
Magnesium supplementation can be tricky, since many oral options are not well absorbed and cause loose stools at low levels. I recommend transdermal (skin application) magnesium, such as magnesium gel. Read my post 5 Ways to Get More Magnesium.
Learn more in Quit PMS
I hope these natural remedies for PMS equip you with a manageable steps! If you want to revolutionize your periods with a more comprehensive approach, then I recommend my book Quit PMS, available here on Amazon. It’s a Kindle book, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it – just download the free Kindle app to read it on your computer.
There are more than 40 reviews on the Amazon page for the book, but here are just a few snippets of feedback:
This book, as well as Lauren’s blog, have flipped my thinking nearly upside down. I was already on board with the primal lifestyle, but this is something I find most paleo inspired books and blogs lacking–relevant information for WOMEN that isn’t focused on aesthetics or performance, but rather on health. Lauren totally speaks my language.
The nutritional information and dietary recommendations in this book have been very helpful in reducing severe PMS and improving my physical (and emotional) well-being.
This book gave me more clarity into my hormone imbalances. I wish I had known this earlier, but look forward to making life changes for the future.
Have you struggled with PMS, and have you taken steps to naturally improve your periods?
What if you do not have a gallbladder? How does that affect hormones? Is there a specific supplement you would recommend to help with breakdown of fats if you are without a gallbladder? Thank you
I want to know about this as well; I had my gall bladder removed in 2013; as well, I’m dairy-free, so ghee won’t work for me.
Bile salts help emulsify fats! If you don’t have a gallbladder, you should consider taking bile salts regularly.
I love your book quit pms! it has already helped me a lot!
Would fermented raw carrots work as well? I’m sorry to waste anybody’s time if this is a stupid question but I’m just curious
It’s a good question! I eat fermented carrots (grated and then naturally fermented) often instead of fresh. I see results with that. My understanding is that cooking the carrots, or pureeing/blending them, is what compromises the estrogen-binding qualities.
Would fermented raw carrots work as well?
Dr. Ray Peat, who is credited with the discovery of using carrots for PMS, doesn’t mention that fermentation would change the fiber quality. I eat fermented carrots (grated and then naturally fermented) often instead of fresh. I see results with that.
The use of raw carrots for PMS is surprising. Such an easy remedy. I would definitely give it a try and suggest to others as well.
The carrots really help. I eat at least one whole raw organic carrot every day. Some days more than that. I am 49 and my periods were getting shorter and shorter. Down to about 23 or 24 days. The carrots gradually brought them back. First 25 or 26 days. After a year, I just had my first 28 day cycle in about 4 years. This is soooooo easy. No excuse not to try it!
Changing from disposable feminine products to chemical free reusable ones also help to ease periods. After I switched I went from 7-8 day cycles to 2-3 days and no more cramping!
As soon as I went dairy and soy free, I went from a 45 day cycle with very tender breasts and a lot of crying, to a clockwork 28 day cycle with no tenderness, and a lot less crying. I also have an extreme hourglass figure, which suggests estrogen dominance, so I’ve heard. I ate maybe a quart of yoghurt every 1-2 days, and a lot of tofu. Hope that helps.
Ghee is an age old ingredient added to almost all Indian recipes. Consumed in measured quantities daily, it is great for bones, eye sight , skin& hair and overall health.To be sure that it is pure, best to make it at home using full cream from cow’s milk. I generally make it once a month in quantities that last for 4-6 weeks.