Women's Health

PMS: Why Everything is Worse Before that Time of the Month and How to Combat it

You know Aunt Flo is on her way when your whole body aches and creaks (more than usual). When PMS hits, chronic pain gets worse. But why does this happen and what can we do to help ease the symptoms?

PMS can be a nuisance for all women. But when you have a chronic illness, this time of the month can exacerbate your pain and make everything 100 times worse.

How does PMS work?

Well doctors don’t really know. According to NHS online ‘it’s not fully understood why women experience PMS. It may be because of changes in your hormone levels during the menstrual cycle’.

This change in hormone levels can cause the following symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Feeling upset and irritable
  • Bloating and stomach pain
  • Tiredness or trouble sleeping
  • Headaches

So as well as your existing aches and pains, you can also throw these into the mix too! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Chronic illness blogger, ‘Laura Spoonie’ sums it up perfectly.

Why is our pain worse when we are PMSing?

A study shows that women are more sensitive to pain during the menstrual cycle, due to lower levels of beta-endorphins, the body’s natural painkilling hormones.

What can we do to help manage our symptoms?

A heat pad or hot water bottle is always great for soothing sore muscles and joints. Add in an extra few piping hot baths to your week and have a long soak. Have you tried Epsom salts? Find out which ones we love and why.

yuyu long hot water bottles for chronic pain

It’s also important to keep stress levels under control (this is easier said than done). Try practising meditation and yoga in the lead up to your period, with the following poses.
Therapy Directory Member Marianne Hayes says

“Regular Yoga practice helps prevent PMS symptoms in three ways: it releases endorphins, it calms the central nervous system and increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the reproductive organs, and finally it eases stress and encourages deep relaxation.”

Easy Pose

Start with a few minutes quiet meditation in the cross legged Easy Pose. Concentrate on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep you hands relaxed on your knees, with your fingers curled upwards. To get in an even deeper state of relaxation, listen to mindful music. Try Meditation Relax Music on YouTube.

easy yoga pose for meditation
EASY POSE

Child’s Pose

The Child’s Pose is a Spoonie Stuff favourite! It gently stretches the hips and thighs by relaxing the muscles, as well as calming the mind.

Start on your hands and knees, then sit backwards with your tailbone resting on your heels with your knees wide. Then stretch your arms forward until your stomach is resting on the floor. Keep your arms by your side to relax into the pose more, or stretch them out in front of you to lengthen your upper body.

child pose for relaxation during PMS
CHILD’S POSE

Pigeon

Known as the ‘hip opener’, the Pigeon helps to open up the hips and soften any tightness. Start on all fours and bring one of your knees forward, just behind your wrist. Then rest your back leg on to the floor, keeping your hips straight and facing forwards. With your hands in prayer position, stretch them above your head and look in the same direction.

Please note, this pose can put stress on the knees. Pop a pillow under your front leg and a blanket underneath your back leg to take the added pressure away.

pigeon yoga pose for chronic pain
PIGEON

Upward Facing Dog

Everyone’s familiar with the classic Downward Dog yoga pose, but the Upward Facing Dog has some great benefits too. It helps to improve posture by strengthening the spine and arms and also relieves stress and fatigue.

Lie on your stomach with your hands either side of your chest. On an in breath, push your upper body and thighs off the floor. Keep your arms straight and gently lean backwards with your head looking up towards the sky.

If you have wrist pain, then you can make a few changes. Either prop a few yoga blocks underneath your wrists or try the Cobra pose instead.

upward dog pose benefits for chronic illness
UPWARD FACING DOG
All Yoga Photos: Matthew Henry/Burst
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