Menstrual symptoms may be fodder for comedian’s jokes, but to those who deal with cramping, discomfort, mood swings and bloating every month, it is no laughing matter. The Office of Women’s Health of the National Institutes of Health estimates that three of every four women suffer some menstrual symptoms every month. One in every six suffers symptoms so severe that it interferes with their daily lives. Doctors have prescribed everything from ibuprofen to hormones to meditation to lithium to help relieve these symptoms, but for many women, relief is as simple as taking a multivitamin with menstrual supplements.
While few vitamin products actually bill themselves as ‘menstrual vitamins’, there are several nutritional supplements that can help prevent or relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. The most helpful menstrual supplements include:
Magnesium and vitamin B6 (pyroxidine) which help promote hormone production. If your doctor has prescribed oral contraceptives to help regulate mood swings or control cramping, magnesium and B6 may offer a more natural solution for you.
B complex vitamins are helpful in reducing stress, which can make PMS symptoms worse.
Vitamin E helps increase the blood supply to your muscles, which in turn helps to reduce cramping.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids help reduce inflammation that leads to cramping and pain. (Fish oil, flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil are all excellent menstrual supplements.)
Niacinamide (another form of vitamin B6) is another menstrual vitamin that helps reduce inflammation and pain when taken starting seven days before the start of menstruation.
Black cohosh is an herbal supplement that is approved for use in menopausal women because it contains a substance that mimics estrogen. It can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of PMS as well.
Chamomile and ginger tea can reduce cramping pain.
Other menstrual supplements include wild yam, cramp bark and Jamaica dogwood teas.
If you’re under a doctor’s care for any condition, be sure to talk to him or her about the possibility of using natural menstrual supplements to control your symptoms.