We’ve already discussed how to be supportive when your significant other’s PMS symptoms are at a peak. However, in some relationships, ongoing PMS and PMDD symptoms can cause a severe strain on both partners, and can undermine the very foundation of a marriage or relationship. In cases like this, it’s not enough to simply have better coping skills, or to be more supportive.
So, for partners and spouses who want to help their wife or girlfriend get relief from premenstrual misery, here are our suggestions:
First, read our previous post. You don’t want to say in the middle of a premenstrual episode “Our problem is your PMS”—you’re going to need to be more sensitive, and supportive, than that. This is not to say that it’s OK to feel like a punching bag, but it’s also not OK to dismiss the real suffering your partner is experiencing.
Second, the best approach to PMS and PMDD symptoms is a holistic one. This means it has to address diet, physical activity level, stress, hormones, and (especially) nutrition. Of course, nagging about diet and exercise is not going to help matters. But understanding that skipping breakfasts, and that a pizza-beer-junk food diet and sedentary lifestyle are big contributors to the problem is a crucial first step—especially if you take the lead in helping your partner make the transition to a healthier lifestyle. And remember, don’t make this about her losing weight or take up a “blame the victim” mentality. You’ll both be healthier when you both live well, and it will help you and your relationship.
What does that healthier lifestyle entail? Here’s our guidance for a healthier, hormone-balancing diet. A healthy diet is an essential part of natural PMS relief, and it’s so much easier when both of you eat well. Physical activity is another crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, and this can mean anything from walking to joining a gym. The important thing is to spend more time being active, and less time sitting.
Stress is a little bit harder to get a handle on, because it can come from so many areas in life, and solutions can range from simple to very complex. Some people get a handle on their stress by making incredibly simple decisions: to not sweat the small stuff; to address a destructive friendship or work relationship; or even by eating right and being more active. For many others, stress comes from old patterns that need to be addressed with professional help, whether in individual or couples counseling. Many people swear by meditation or yoga as a way to relieve daily stress. Whatever the path you choose, stress relief is an important component of premenstrual symptom relief.
These basics can make a big difference, and sometimes all the difference. More often, though, they’re the foundation that allows specific PMS and PMDD remedies to work. For many women, and many relationships, more is needed to help balance hormones and mood chemistry fluctuations that cause premenstrual symptoms. Many women choose to take medications for their symptoms: hormonal birth control and antidepressants are doctors presribe for severe PMS and PMDD. Many women, though, prefer natural remedies. Herbs and nutrients can work very well for PMS symptoms, especially when they are used in the proper combinations.
PMS and PMDD don’t need to jeopardize relationships, if you and your partner are willing to make some changes to your communication and your approach to health.