Top 5 Picks for Easing PMS

Home Remedies That Can Help PMS

We now know that it's not all in your head—inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) does get worse during your period. Some women reach for over-the-counter pain relief, but NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal bleeding or even set off a flare of IBD. Fortunately there are other ways to find relief, and some of them may even help your guts and your overall health.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea
Chamomile Tea. Photo © Ruxandra Moldoveanu

It's not just an old wives tale -- chamomile really can help to relax smooth muscle. The gut is full of smooth muscle, and relaxing those muscles will not only help alleviate premenstrual syndrome (PMS) pain, but might also help with other pain in the abdomen. Over and above the benefits of the chamomile itself, just the act of holding a cup of tea and inhaling its fragrance is soothing. There are stress relieving benefits even to the simple ritual of making a cup of tea.

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)

Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose. Photo © Steven Foster

EPO is used to treat several conditions, including PMS. Some women find that EPO is helpful in reducing their PMS symptoms. The recommended dosage is typically 1500 mg a day. EPO is generally safe to use, but check with your physician to make sure that it won't interfere with your treatment plan.

Yoga Mat

Yoga Mat
Yoga Mat. Photo ©

Exercise is good for many reasons including helping your bowel to function properly and reducing menstrual cramps. Yoga has the added bonus of being a stress reliever, which everyone with "tummy trouble" can use. Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen (you'll earn some brownie points -- they love to hear that you exercise!).

Remember, you don't have to do an hour of yoga every day to see results. Even a little bit of exercise can have a positive effect on your health. Start small, and work your way up by adding more exercise every few days or every week.

Heating Pad

Heating Pad
Heating Pad. Photo ©

After your workout, you may want to curl up for some rest, and a heating pad is a perfect companion. A little bit of heat can help to relax the abdominal muscles. Heat can not only help with menstrual cramps, but it could also help you with your abdominal pain from IBD, and ease any gas pains you might be having.

Be careful with heat, though -- don't use it with topical muscle pain relievers (Icy Hot or Ben-Gay) or fall asleep with it on. There are a variety of heating pads on the market, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs and your budget.


Calcium. Photo © Paul Bodea

Calcium has been proven to be helpful in reducing PMS symptoms such as cramps. However, the supplements must be taken regularly for a few months before the effects kick in, so be patient while you're waiting to feel some relief from your symptoms.

People with IBD tend to be deficient in calcium, and often need supplementation. Check with your physician about how much calcium you need to meet your needs.

Continue Reading