About 85 percent of women suffer from PMS, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The monthly physical and emotional rollercoaster forces many women to seek solution in painkillers, birth control, and even antidepressants. While severe cases of PMS should be treated with prescription drugs, for most women, it is possible to reduce the torment of PMS with natural treatments.
The Ayurvedic Trio: Vata-Pitta-Kapha
According to Ayurveda, to feel happy and healthy, we need to balance “tridosha” – vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata stands for the air element and governs all movement. Pitta (fire) is responsible for body temperature, nutrition, and metabolism. Kapha translates as water and means body resistance.
PMS: Signs of Tridosha Imbalance
What are your PMS symptoms?
Do you get anxious and irritable? Do you crave sweets and junk food? Experience weight gain? Your individual symptoms will point to the imbalance in one of the three doshas.
- Vata imbalance: mood swings, anxiety
- Pitta imbalance: irritability, food cravings
- Kapha imbalance: weight gain, breast tenderness, water retention
Ayurveda for Rescue: Natural Solution for Well Being
Now, how do yogis handle the monthly emotion explosion? Vasant Lad, the author of “Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing”, suggests that the general Ayurvedic rule for dealing with any type of emotional imbalance is “to observe and release”.
“When anger appears, one should be completely aware of it: watch this feeling as it unfolds from beginning to end,” Mr. Lad explains. “From this observation one can learn about the nature of the anger and then let it release.”
While it sounds too optimistic to simply advise a PMS-ing woman to “observe her anger”, the idea of making a conscious effort to notice and take control of your feelings might actually be very helpful. Keep track of your monthly periods with a calendar so that you have a better chance of predicting “exactly when” you may need to exercise better awareness and control.
Diet Recommendations and Natural Remedies
Now, how do yogis stay all “zen” about food yet keep a slim waistline? Vasant Lad argues that the general Ayurvedic diet rule states as follows: “Do not eat unless you feel hungry and do not drink unless you are thirsty”. While could well work in “normal” conditions, the monthly drop in estrogen and progesterone makes it much harder on women to control their physical hunger.
To balance pitta, which is to blame for the sudden junk food and sugar cravings, Vasant Lad advises to avoid dairy products, bananas, melons, coconut, dates, papayas, and pineapples, as they tend to aggravate pitta dosha.
The fresh aloe vera gel helps balance tridosha and ease PMS spasms. Vasant Lad advises to mix one or two teaspoons of the gel with a pinch of black pepper.
Fennel tea has great anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties and can help alleviate bloating and other signs of hormonal imbalance.
Finally, gentle yoga practice with a focus on meditative and balancing asanas will release endorphins and encourage deep relaxation.
What are your personal PMS tips? Share with us in comments.