Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms that may include body aches, backache, headache, nausea, vomiting, loose stools or constipation, and mood swings. These symptoms arise 1-2 weeks before menses starts and usually end with the onset of menstrual flow. The symptoms differ for different females and at different ages.
Excessive intake of oily and spicy foods, sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, unhygienic living conditions, improper diet, and psychological factors play a part in causing symptoms of PMS.
PMS often includes both physical and emotional symptoms. Common symptoms are:
- fatigue and troubled sleep
- upset stomach, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- body ache and/or headache
- pain in the pubic region
- appetite changes or food cravings
- joint or muscle pain
- tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells
- anxiety or depression
In Ayurveda, PMS is known as Krichhraartava (Krichhra means ‘difficult’ and aartava means ‘menses’). Increased intake of oily, spicy, and hot foods, and overindulgence in physical activities, or a sedentary lifestyle causes impairment of Apana Vata (a sub-dosha of Vata or Air) as well as Pitta (Fire). Apana Vata is located in the lower pelvic region and is responsible for elimination of menstrual blood, stool, urine and reproductive fluids. Impaired Apana Vata and Pitta circulate in different channels of the body, causing various physical symptoms of PMS.
Additionally, Apana Vata might also cause aggravation of Prana Vata, a sub-dosha of Vata linked to anxiety, mood swings and depression like problems. Thus, emotional symptoms are also involved during those days.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Increase intake of water, preferably lukewarm water.
- Have freshly prepared, warm, and easily digestible meals.
- Include celery seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, fenugreek, asafetida, black pepper, coriander, and mint in cooking.
- Avoid heavy, oily, sour, fried, and indigestible foods that can cause constipation and flatulence.
- Avoid pumpkin, potato, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, mushrooms, and eggplant.
- Have a regular body massage with sesame oil.
- Exercise lightly each day, such as walking or stretching on a regular basis.
- Have a good night’s sleep.
Some Home Remedies
- Make a powdered preparation of dill seeds, fenugreek seeds, carrot seeds, and radish seeds in equal amounts. Have 1 teaspoon of this powder with lukewarm water twice a day.
- Fry ½ teaspoon of celery seeds in 1 teaspoon of purified butter. Add ½ teaspoon of dried ginger root powder and 1 teaspoon of crushed jaggery to it. Cook until jaggery liquefies. Have this with a cup of hot milk once each week preceding the menstrual cycle.
- Fill a tub with warm water. Sit in the tub with the pubic region submerged. This relaxes the muscles and relieves pain before the onset of menses.