Proven Natural Ways to Treat PMS and PMDD (Science Based)

Proven Natural Ways to Treat PMS and PMDD

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a wide range of emotional, physical, and behavioral conditions that occur 1-2 weeks before menstruation. Hormonal imbalances can cause sore breasts, headaches, mood swings, and abdominal cramping. Natural ways to treat PMS and its more severe form, PMDD, include vitamins and supplements, getting enough rest, and cutting out certain foods.

Many women who suffer from symptoms of PMS use supplements to help balance hormones and calm nerves. Some popular supplements for PMS include chasteberry, evening primrose oil, chamomile, valerian, and St. John’s wort. Other natural PMS or PMDD treatments include vitamin B6 and magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 supplements.


In this article, you will learn about natural remedies for PMS and about the best PMDD treatments. These natural treatments for PMDD and PMS will help to relieve anxiety, mood swings, headaches, and bloating.

What are PMS and PMDD?

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and it affects many women anytime from two weeks to a few days before their period.

Doctors say that the symptoms of PMS can range from mild, where a woman can cope easily, to very severe where PMS greatly affects the quality of life. (1)

PMDD stands for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and is used to describe extremely bad symptoms of PMS.

The medical publication Endotext says that the main difference between PMS and PMDD is the effect on mood. As well as experiencing physical symptoms, a woman with PMDD may have depressive thoughts, severe mood swings, or increased anxiety. For many women, the symptoms of PMDD can be so severe that they interfere with personal relationships. (2)

The symptoms of PMDD usually appear 3 or 4 days before menstruation and go away 3 days after the start of the period. Researchers estimate that up to 5% of women who suffer from PMS also experience the monthly trauma of PMDD. (2)

PMDD Symptoms vs. PMS Symptoms

Natural remedies for PMDD help to relieve many of its symptoms to improve your quality of life.

Researchers say that many PMS symptoms also affect women who experience PMDD. Hormonal changes before menstruation cause PMS symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, bloating, water retention, skin breakouts, sore muscles, and digestion problems. To some degree, most women experience some of the above PMS symptoms. (1)

The journal Current Psychiatry Reports say that PMDD symptoms include many PMS symptoms but are always associated with mood disorders. For example, some of the common symptoms of PMDD include depression, feelings of hopelessness, extreme tension, difficulty sleeping, and food cravings. (3)

To be classed as suffering from PMDD, the severe psychological symptoms should appear 3 or 4 days before menstruation and disappear a week after menstruation. The physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of PMDD shouldn’t be present at other times during the menstrual cycle. (3)


The Role of Estrogen in PMS and PMDD

Estrogen is an important female hormone that is necessary for a woman’s reproductive system. Researchers have identified that estrogen fluctuations can affect many women in different ways. However, studies have found that in women with PMDD symptoms and women with no PMDD symptoms, levels of estrogen are similar. (4)

So what is the link between estrogen and symptoms of PMS or PMDD? Doctors from WebMD explain that women who suffer from PMS or its more severe form PMDD, are more affected by changes in estrogen levels. This can result in severe behavioral changes at the start of menstruation as estrogen is connected with serotonin function that affects mood. (5, 6)

How to Treat PMS and PMDD Naturally According to Scientific Studies

Let’s look at some of the best PMDD treatments that can help alleviate severe PMS symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, headaches, and depression.


One of the most important ways to help treat symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder is to enjoy the right diet.

A PMDD diet excludes foods that are known to exacerbate PMS and PMDD symptoms such as salty snacks and caffeine. As part of dealing with the effects of PMDD, you should also increase your intake of certain foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fiber and PMDD/PMS symptoms

One of the food types to include on a diet for PMDD and PMS is fiber-rich foods. Researchers have found that a diet low in fiber and other nutrients is often associated with symptoms of PMS, irregular cycles, and longer menstrual cycles. (7)

Extra fiber in your diet will also help to combat constipation and other digestive problems that can be associated with PMS or PMDD.

Learn more about the benefits of consuming fiber and complex carbohydrates for your general health.

Increase water intake

Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic also recommend consuming plenty of water to help combat bloating, improve your digestion, and keep your body well hydrated. (8)

Cut out caffeine before your period

As part of your diet to reduce the severity of your PMDD symptoms, it is also important to reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks.

Scientists have found that the consumption of coffee is related to a worsening of premenstrual syndrome symptoms. One study showed that the more caffeinated drinks a woman consumed, the worse her PMS symptoms were. (9)

Cut out sugary and salty snacks to reduce PMS and PMDD symptoms

If you suffer from PMDD, it may be that you crave salty or sugary snacks before your period. However, doctors warn that this can lead to water retention and a worsening of your symptoms. The advice from doctors is to avoid salty, carbohydrate-rich snacks before your period. (2)

Find out about warning signs of consuming too much salt in your diet.

Regular Exercise to Reduce PMS and PMDD Symptoms

One way to get relief from extreme PMS symptoms and to help prevent mood swings is to exercise regularly.


It is a well-known fact that regular physical activity is necessary for good health and to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape. However, if you suffer from PMS or PMDD every month, regular workouts are even more important.

One study on 40 women found that working out 3 times a week for 60 minutes helped to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. In fact, aerobic exercise was so effective that researchers recommended this as a natural PMS treatment. (10)

Vitamins and Supplements for PMS and PMDD

Enjoying a healthy, well-balanced nutritious diet helps you get many of the nutrients that benefit your reproductive health. However, if you suffer from severe PMS or regularly have PMDD, taking extra vitamins or supplements can benefit your symptoms.

Researchers found that women who have PMS usually have vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium deficiencies. (11)

Let’s look in more detail at scientific research on some of the best natural remedies for PMS and PMDD.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus) for PMDD relief

One of the best PMDD supplements to take is chasteberry because it helps to balance hormones and mimics the effects of dopamine in the brain.

One study involving over 100 women found that regularly taking chasteberry helped to treat the symptoms of PMDD. (12)

Also, chasteberry was more effective than traditional medication in providing help to women suffering from PMDD with the physical symptoms of the condition. (13)

Learn more about the positive effects of taking chasteberry supplements to regulate your menstrual cycle.

Chamomile for alleviating symptoms of PMS and PMDD

Chamomile is a soothing herb that can help relieve anxiety, stress, and other emotional symptoms of premenstrual conditions.

One clinical trial involving 90 women found that taking chamomile supplements helped to alleviate symptoms of PMS. The participants in the trial took 100 mg of chamomile pills 3 times a day. When compared to mefenamic acid (an anti-inflammatory drug for pain relief), chamomile was more effective for PMS symptoms. (14)

Other studies have shown that chamomile supplements can help to relieve breast pain that is associated with menstruation. (15)

You could also try regularly drinking chamomile tea as PMS remedy to help relax and relieve anxiety associated with PMS or PMDD,

Valerian to help get premenstrual relief

One natural PMDD treatment to help cope with anxiety, depression, pain, and disrupted sleep is valerian supplements.

Researchers found that taking valerian can help to give women relief from many PMS symptoms. In the study, women took valerian capsules 2 times a day for 3 months. At the end of the trial period, most women reported fewer PMS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and period pain. (16)

Ginkgo biloba for PMS symptoms

Taking ginkgo biloba supplements can help to treat many of the psychological and physical symptoms associated with PMS.


One study involving 165 women found that regularly taking ginkgo biloba helped to treat PMS. Women experienced less bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, and acne breakouts associated with PMS. Researchers also noted that PMS symptoms related to mood and behavior were also improved. (17)

Learn more about the therapeutic effects of taking gingko biloba to help boost your mood and feel better emotionally.

St. John’s Wort

Many people take St. John’s wort to help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. There are also some reasons why St. John’s Wort may act as a natural remedy for PMDD.

The results of one randomized controlled study found that taking St. John’s wort tablets of 900 mg per day was good for PMS symptoms. The herbal supplement had a positive effect on behavioral and physical symptoms associated with PMS. (18)

Evening primrose oil for PMDD

Natural remedies for PMDD that include evening primrose oil can help to provide relief from symptoms before menstruation.

A randomized controlled trial found that PMS pills containing evening primrose oil, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 helped to treat PMS naturally. (19)

Magnesium and Vitamin B6 Supplements for PMS and PMDD

One way to control PMDD naturally is to take magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements.

Some studies indicate that women who suffer from PMS often have deficiencies in magnesium and vitamin B6.

One study found that supplements with a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 can provide relief from PMS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and food cravings. The vitamin and mineral combination was more effective than just magnesium alone for PMS. (20)

Other studies have found that vitamin B6 supplementation can help to relieve depression and other symptoms of PMS. (21)

Calcium supplementation for PMS

Calcium is one of the natural remedies for PMS mood swings and may help to lessen the severity of PMDD symptoms.

A clinical trial from 2017 found that PMS calcium supplements were effective in reducing the frequency of mood disorders. Women taking 500 mg of calcium daily reported fewer instances of anxiety, depression, bloating, and emotional turmoil. Scientists found that calcium positively affects levels of serotonin and tryptophan which are connected with mood and behavior. (22)

Omega-3 for PMS and PMDD relief

Omega-3 supplements can help to relieve severe PMS symptoms including anxiety, mood swings, depression, and bloating.

Various clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of using omega-3 supplements for PMS. For example, in 2013, scientists found that taking 2,000 mg omega-3 capsules helped to address psychological symptoms of PMS such as low mood, lack of concentration, anxiety, and depression. They also noted improvements in symptoms such as breast tenderness and headaches. (23)

Other studies have shown that omega-3 helps to improve the overall symptoms of PMS when taken on a long-term basis. (24)

Learn more about the many benefits of taking omega-3 supplements to help keep your heart healthy and improve your mood.


Take a Warm Bath to Cope with PMS and PMDD

If you are taking natural treatments for PMDD or other premenstrual conditions, you may also find it useful to relax in a warm bath.

Doctors recommend a warm bath to get relief from some of the painful and psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Warmth around your abdominal area is a natural pain reliever and doesn’t have any of the side effects of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Also, a warm bath can help to relax your mind and lower levels of anxiety. (25)

You can also boost the effectiveness of taking a bath for PMDD relief by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil. Research into lavender has found that its pleasant aromas help to improve mood, boost concentration, reduce anxiety, and address depressive symptoms. (26)

Please see my article about the best baths to remove aches and pains for more ideas on how to soothe abdominal cramping.

Relaxation and Mindfulness to Relieve PMS and PMDD Symptoms

Taking some time out to relax is sometimes enough to deal with PMS anxiety, mood swings, and other physiological symptoms.

The Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research reported that progressive muscle relaxation techniques help remedy many PMS symptoms. These techniques can alleviate feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression associated with PMS. Scientists have also seen the potential of relaxation techniques to treat PMDD. (27)

Practicing mindfulness has also helped many women who suffer from severe PMS or PMDD. Scientists have found that mindfulness can be as effective as common medical treatments for the symptoms of PMDD but without the side effects. (28)

Get Plenty of Sleep if You have PMS or PMDD

If you suffer from severe PMS, then getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. However, getting enough sleep can also help to relieve many of your premenstrual symptoms.

Researchers have found that most women with PMDD report many sleep disturbances before their periods and in the few days after their period has started. This lack of sleep can greatly affect daytime mood, lead to depression, and impact on quality of life. (29)

The reason for poor sleep quality if you have PMDD seems to be a decrease in the sleep hormone melatonin. (30)

In this case you may want to try some of these foods that can make you sleepy.

Essential Oils for PMS and PMDD

You can help boost the effectiveness of natural remedies for PMDD by using essential oils in your diffuser or as part of an aromatherapy massage. Research published in 2018 found that aromatherapy with essential oils is good for helping to cope with PMS issues. (31)

Here are some essential oils that have scientific backing for use in treating PMS and severe PMS naturally.

Lavender essential oil. A small clinical trial found that inhaling lavender oil could provide relief from many emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. (32)

Damask rose oil. A trial in 2017 found that massaging damask rose oil for 5 minutes a day during the few days before menstruation helped to improve “multiple symptoms of PMS.” (33)

Essential oil blend for PMS. One clinical trial found that using an essential oil blend consisting of cinnamon oil, rose oil, lavender oil, and clove oil for an abdominal massage helped to alleviate abdominal cramping and excessive menstrual bleeding. (34)

To ease mood disorders please read my article about proven essential oils for anxiety based on science and how to use them. If headache is one of the symptoms of your PMS or PMDD, then these essential oils for headache might be useful too.

Acupuncture and acupressure for Relief from PMS and PMDD Distress

If you want to treat PMS naturally, you can use acupuncture or acupressure to help improve your PMS symptoms.

A review of 10 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture has the potential to improve many of the symptoms associated with PMS. (35)

According to a study published on 2017 in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, simple acupressure at the acupressure points LIV3 and LI4 in is an effective method to decrease the severity of PMS symptoms, anxiety and depression. (38)

Massage Therapy

A small study on 24 women suffering from PMDD which was published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology discovered that massage helps to decrease anxiety, depression and pain. It was suggested that massage therapy may be an effective additional therapy for treating severe premenstrual symptoms.

You can add essential oils diluted in a carrier oil to boost the effect of the massage.

PMDD Medication

In cases of PMDD, doctors may prescribe medication to help address the severe symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Some PMDD treatments include antidepressants, oral contraceptives, hormone therapy, and anti-anxiety drugs. (36)

Even if your doctor prescribes medication for PMDD, research has shown that non-pharmacologic treatments such as stress reduction techniques and cognitive therapies may also be helpful in conjunction with medication. (37)

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