Natural ways to beat PMT 1260x542

Natural ways to beat PMT

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Continuing in her series on PMT, naturopath Siobhan Jordan offers some back-to-basic strategies for dealing with pesky PMT.

PMT 101 – the basics

Premenstrual tension (PMT), sometimes referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), is a diverse group of physical and emotional/psychological signs and symptoms that occur before our periods (in the luteal phase of the cycle). They usually resolve with our period, onset or soon after.

PMT might only last a few days (although it can be up to two weeks), but for the three out of four menstruating women estimated to suffer from it, PMT can be a nightmare!

A staggering 150 symptoms have been associated with PMT. Although most women generally experience only a few, these can wreak havoc.

PMT signs and symptoms


  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Fluid retention
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Skin break-outs
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

Emotional and mental

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Tearfulness
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Insomnia
  • Poor concentration

The exact cause of PMT is unknown. It is possible that several factors may be at work, including cyclical hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies and brain chemistry alterations. Despite this lack of certainty, there are many treatments that may offer relief – including a few natural ones.

3 natural ways to beat PMT

1. Vitex
The herb Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), also known as chasteberry, has a long history of use in women's health and has recently come under the research spotlight. Studies have confirmed that Vitex is helpful in managing PMT symptoms including breast tenderness, mood changes, headaches and irritability.

2. Calcium
Research suggests that low calcium levels may be a factor in PMT. Calcium supplementation may reduce PMT signs and symptoms, such as premenstrual pain, fluid retention and mood changes. Aim for 1200 mg or more per day.

3. Magnesium
Inadequate magnesium has also been implicated in PMT. Magnesium supplementation may assist with PMT symptoms such as fluid retention, breast tenderness, bloating and mood changes.

If you're still suffering from PMT, ask your health care professional for more advice.