PMS Survival Guide: Natural Remedies and Menstrual Product Options 

Today we’re tackling a totally natural (but sometimes unwelcome…) part of our menstrual cycle: PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Our hope for this post is to offer some helpful tips for managing the not-so-pleasant symptoms that sometimes come along with PMS. We’ll also explore a variety of menstrual products that have become popular in recent years, helping you find the perfect fit for your lifestyle and preferences. So, get comfy and let’s get started!

Understanding PMS

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a natural part of the menstrual cycle that most of us encounter in the days before our period hits. There are quite a few symptoms that many women tend to experience during this time.  Some of these symptoms include:

  • Mood swings  
  • Bloating  
  • Fatigue 
  • Headaches
  • Cravings

While PMS symptoms can certainly be a bit inconvenient, there are some small steps you can take to help manage them and to leave you feeling your best. 

Tips for Surviving PMS Symptoms

Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do to help minimize the havoc PMS can try to wreak on our bodies and minds. 

Diet and Lifestyle Tweaks

First of all, there are some fairly easy nutrition changes you can make (if you aren’t already doing them) that can really make a huge difference in keeping your symptoms at bay, such as:

  • Fueling your body with a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, and whole grains 
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol
  • Drinking lots of water – it’s recommended to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day (for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, it is recommended you drink 100 ounces of water)  

Regular Exercise & Stress-Busting Activities

Don’t forget to get those endorphins pumping! While some days, it may feel like the very last thing you want to do, regular exercise and other activities, such as yoga or meditation can actually help to minimize PMS symptoms. 

Herbal Remedies & Supplements 

Herbal remedies and supplements can also lend a helping hand in managing PMS symptoms. Here are some options that may be helpful to explore:

  • Ginger: Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties, which can help soothe gastrointestinal discomfort and reduce nausea often associated with PMS.
  • Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus): Chasteberry, also known as Vitex, is believed to help regulate hormonal imbalances by acting on the pituitary gland, which controls hormone production. This can lead to a more balanced menstrual cycle and may help alleviate symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, and bloating.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle relaxation and mood regulation, making it beneficial for managing PMS symptoms such as muscle cramps, anxiety, and irritability. It also helps support healthy neurotransmitter function, which can contribute to overall well-being during the menstrual cycle.

Although herbal remedies have demonstrated potential in alleviating PMS symptoms, you’ll want to check with your healthcare provider before integrating them into your routine, especially if you have preexisting health conditions or are on medication. Furthermore, individual reactions to herbal remedies can vary, so it’s important to pay attention to your body’s signals and make adjustments as needed.

Balanced Sleep Schedule

Last but certainly not least, prioritizing sleep is crucial! Aim for those 7-9 hours a night and create a regular bedtime routine to help you stay on track with a healthy sleep cycle.

Following these tips above might not make your PMS symptoms go away for good, but they can certainly help make that time of the month much more manageable! 

Menstrual Product Options

When it comes to managing your period like a pro, having options is key! Here’s a rundown of some popular menstrual product choices that are available, along with their pros and cons:

Menstrual Cups: These flexible silicone cups are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood. They’re reusable, eco-friendly, and can hold more fluid than pads or tampons. While these cups do have a bit of a cost up-front (typically around $30-$40), using it can save you a lot of money on an annual basis. Plus, they can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, making them a convenient option for busy days.

The downside: There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to insertion and removal, and they may not be suitable for everyone, especially those uncomfortable with touching their vagina. 

**If you’re trying a menstrual cup for the first time, we suggest also wearing a pad or period panties for the first couple of days to catch any leaks until you’ve mastered inserting the cup properly.

Tampons: These compact, absorbent plugs are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood. They’re discreet, comfortable, and come in a range of sizes and absorbances to suit your flow. Plus, they’re great for active lifestyles and can be worn while swimming or exercising. 

The downside: Tampons can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) if left in for too long, and some people may find them uncomfortable or difficult to insert.

Pads: These absorbent pads are worn in the underwear to catch menstrual blood. They’re easy to use, comfortable, and come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses to suit your needs. Plus, they’re a good option for those who prefer not to insert anything into their vagina. 

The downside: Pads can feel bulky and may shift or leak, especially during heavy flow days.

Period Panties: These specially designed underwear feature built-in absorbent layers to trap menstrual blood and prevent leaks. They’re reusable, eco-friendly, and can be worn alone or as a backup to other menstrual products. Plus, they’re super comfy and come in a range of styles and absorbances to suit your preferences. 

The downside: They can be pricey upfront and may not provide enough protection for heavy flow days without additional support. 

When it comes to choosing the right menstrual product for you, it’s all about finding what works best for your body and lifestyle. Consider factors like your flow intensity, activity level, comfort preferences, and environmental concerns. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different options until you find your perfect match!

Concluding Thoughts

So whether it’s through lifestyle adjustments, choosing healthier snacks, or trying different menstrual products, there is hope for alleviating symptoms and improving your overall well-being during this time of the month. Remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to experiment with various methods until you find what brings you the most comfort and relief. 

We’re all in this together and the Care Net Milwaukee team is here to support women through their health and pregnancy journeys! Feel free to explore our regular class offerings, which cover a wide variety of topics on women’s health, pregnancy and parenting.


Care Net has been serving Milwaukee area women since 1985 and through this blog, we hope to continue sharing with the greater community peace, hope, and information related to pregnancy.