Natural Remedies for PMS & Cramps

Natural Remedies for PMS and Cramps that actually work!

I get more hormone and fertility related questions than any other topic, and my post on nine ways to balance hormones naturally has been my most visited post every single day for the last several months!

Hormones have a much bigger impact that many people realize, and women who struggle from hormone related pain and other symptoms realize this acutely. I’ve gotten an especially large influx of questions about PMS, PMDD and menstrual issues like cramps lately, and figured this was an important issue to address. I used to struggle with horrible PMS and cramps myself, and can certainly sympathize with how frustrating these things can be.

What Causes PMS and Menstrual Problems?

PMS, by definition, refers to a wide range of symptoms that start during the second half fo the cycle and which can include headache, dizziness, cramps, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, food cravings or aversions, weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety and fatigue. These symptoms usually occur before menses begins and subside gradually at the onset of the period. Other menstrual symptoms like abdominal cramping and heavy bleeding can occur during menses.

While a variety of factors can influence a woman’s symptoms during this time (including genetics, nutrition, medications, etc), it is largely controlled by hormones, and getting hormones in proper balance can go a long way toward reducing symptoms. The monthly fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone (and other hormones like FSH and LH) largely controls a woman’s cycle and there are theories that these hormones can interact with certain brain chemicals, creating real symptoms during these times.

Optimally, these hormones are in balance and working correctly, and this interaction might cause little to no discomfort or symptoms, but if these hormones are out of balance, a variety of symptoms can occur.

In my own life and in working with others, I have seen how dietary and supplement changes can greatly impact the estrogen/progesterone balance and alleviate many of these symptoms. The effectiveness of each of these individual methods will vary by individual, but a comprehensive plan can often greatly alleviate symptoms across the board.

Nutrition Changes

1. Avoid Polyunsaturated Omega-6 fats in Large Amounts

“I’ve talked about this before, but the body is simply not meant to consume these man-made fats found in vegetable oils. From that article:

About 97% of the fat in the human body is saturated and monounsaturated fat, with only 3 % Polyunsaturated fats. Half of that three percent is Omega-3 fats, (the other half is Omega-6 fats) and that balance needs to be there. Vegetable oils contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fats, and these oils have replaced many of the saturated fats in our diets since the 1950s.

The body needs fats for rebuilding cells and hormone production, but it has to use the building blocks we give it. When we give it a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats instead of the ratios it needs, it has no choice but to incorporate these fats into our cells during cell repair and creation.

The problem is that polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body (if they haven’t already oxidized during processing or by light exposure while sitting on the grocery store shelf). These oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.

In arterial cells, these mutations cause inflammation that can clog arteries. When these fats are incorporated into skin cells, their mutation causes skin cancer. (This is why people often get the most dangerous forms of skin cancer in places where they are never exposed to the sun, but that is a topic for another day!)

When these oils are incorporated into cells in reproductive tissue, some evidence suggests that this can spur problems like endometriosis and PCOS. In short, the body is made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats, and it needs these for optimal health.”

Bottom line: Don’t eat fats like Vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening or other chemically altered fats. Choose fats like coconut oil, real butter, olive oil (don’t heat!) and animal fats (tallow, lard) from healthy sources instead and eat lots of high Omega-3 fish.”

2. Avoid Chemicals in Food and Household

“Toxins found in processed foods, pesticides, plastics, household chemicals and even mattresses can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and keep the body from producing real hormones. Things like hormonal birth control can (obviously) do the same thing.

If you have hormone imbalance or are struggling to get pregnant, avoiding these toxins is very important! Cook in glass or non-coated metal pans (no non-stick or teflon!) and avoid heating or storing foods in plastic. Find organic produce and meat whenever possible and don’t use chemical pesticides or cleaners. There are recipes for natural cleaners on this page.”

3. Eat enough of the right kinds of fats:

Eating fats like quality organic meats, butter, tallow, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, etc can help boost proper hormone production. While the wrong kinds of fats (see above) can interfere with hormone production, eating enough of the proper fats can really help!

Coconut Oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

If you really need hormone help, aim to consume 1/4 cup of added coconut oil a day. My favorite way is to blend into coffee or tea. This is the highest quality one I’ve found.

4. Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Foods like grains, dairy and vegetable oils can create inflammation in the body and can exacerbate hormonal problems. The degree that these foods will affect the body varies by person, but I have seen several cases where severe hormonal symptoms were resolved by just adopting a grain free and dairy free diet.

Especially for the first few months, focusing on foods like homemade bone broths, soups, grass fed meats, and healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, tallow, ghee, etc) will help the body rebuild and reduce inflammation. Check out the recipe index for some simple meal ideas.

Helpful Supplements for PMS

“In a perfect world, we would be rising and sleeping with the sun, getting Vitamin D from the sun and Magnesium from the ocean while relaxing and exercising in great balance each day in a stress-free world. Since I doubt that describes any of us currently, supplements can fill in the gaps. I’ve talked about the basic supplements that I take before, but there are some specific ones that are helpful for hormone support.

  • Maca– A tuber in the radish family that has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Many women notice less PMS, increased fertility, and improved skin while men notice increased sperm production, libido and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. It is available in powder form (least expensive option) or in capsules. Maca should be discontinued during pregnancy. The effects of Maca are somewhat cumulative, so the best results are seen after 3-5 weeks of taking Maca regularly.
  • Magnesium– Magnesium supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones!). There are several effective forms of Magnesium: In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly,  ionic liquid form  can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly,or  transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency. Magnesium often greatly helps both PMS symptoms and menstrual cramping.
  • Vitamin D– A pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. Best obtained from the sun if possible, or from a D3 supplement or Fermented Cod Liver Oil (what I do in the winter). Make sure not to get too much, and optimally, get Serum Vitamin D levels checked to monitor levels.
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil– Provides many of the necessary building blocks for hormone production including Vitamins A, D, and K. It also is a great source of Omega-3s and beneficial fats.
  • Gelatin is a great source of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. It supports hormone production and digestive health and helps sooth inflammation, especially in joints.
  • Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry– Nourishes the pituitary gland and helps lengthen the luteal phase. It lowers prolactin and raises progesterone. For some women, this alone will improve symptoms.
  • Natural Progesterone Cream– PMS and menstrual troubles are often linked to specific hormone imbalances. Especially for those with short cycles or short second phase of their cycle (ovulation through start of menses), progesterone can be the issue. I’ve seen people add only natural progesterone cream and see symptoms greatly reduce. If you do use progesterone cream, do you own research, make sure you have a good brand that is soy-free and only use for the second half of your cycle (ovulation through menses).
  • Red Raspberry Leaf A well know fertility herb that is also helpful in reducing PMS and cramping. It has a high nutrient profile and is especially high in calcium and is a uterine tonic. It is available in capsule form, but makes an excellent hot or cold tea.

NOTE: Make sure to check with your doctor or health care professional before taking any new supplements, especially if you are on medications or contraceptives.

Lifestyle Factors


I Can’t emphasize this one enough! If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your hormones will not be balanced. Period.

Use these tips to help improve your sleep and just do it! This can singlehandedly improve hormones and is even linked to longer life, less chance of disease and optimizing weight.

2. Natural Menstrual Options

I’ve written about it in detail before, but switching to natural feminine hygiene options like cloth pads or the Diva Cup may really help reduce cramping in some women. Some women do not react well to the chemicals in tampons and pads and these natural options provide a chemical free solution. There is also no risk of Toxic shock syndrome with these options.

3. Exercise

If you have hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term. Sleep is actually more important, at least during the balancing phase, so focus on relaxing exercises like walking or swimming and avoid the extended running, cardio and exercise videos, for now….

Due to its blood sugar balancing and lymph stimulating effects, the T-Tapp system is helpful for some women and is a low-impact exercise that can be very effective.

Have you ever struggled with hormone related symptoms? Were there any things that helped you? Share below!

Hormone imbalance can often cause PMS, menstrual problems and more. These natural and herbal remedies can help reverse these issues.

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Reader Comments

  1. The Diva cup has been a life-saver (and migraine-banisher)! I’ve used it consistently for one year, and I swear by it. I got my period at work a few days ago and had to use a tampon. Within an hour, I felt terrible. It was further proof that there is no placebo effect involved with the Diva Cup and doing away with chemicals.

    • Agreed! I’ve been using the Diva cup for a little over a year now and I will never go back. Headaches and severe cramps are gone, traveling is a breeze (packing a box of tampons is a pain and changing tampons in icky gas station bathrooms always skeeved me out!) and I feel much better about not adding to the landfills each month. It took me a couple of cycles to get the positioning just right to avoid leaks, but it is so, so worth it!

  2. I use traditional Chinese herbs like those found in PMS Relief Herb Pack. Herbs like dang gui and chuangxiong work so well I have virtually no cramps except for the first hour of my period before I drink this tea. Truly a life saver. Chinese medicinal herbs are amazing, no wonder they have been used for thousands of years.

    • Hi cathy. do you stay in canada?where do you buy those herbs?

    • “Herbs like dang gui and chuangxiong work so well.”

      “Dang guy and chewing wrong” made me laugh

  3. I started to make fresh ginger tea and drink that after my evening meals every night. I buy a fresh ginger stem weekly. To make the tea, I cut two or three slivers of the ginger, trim the skin/husk off, add water to the cup to cover and microwave for about 3 minutes. I squeeze a small amount of honey and some fresh lemon juice. It helps with my digestion and during my cycles, it started helping with the cramps too. I try to drink it daily and I think it’s healthier than buying processed ginger tea. Plus, it’s nice to have something warm after a meal.

    • Oh good stuff except do not microwave anything, it kills anything beneficial! Put it in a pot of hot wter on the stove to steep!!

  4. Magnesium, exercise, and cutting out sugar has been a lifesaving combination for me! I used to get horrible cramps – I’m talking so bad that my face would pale, and I would feel nauseous. Although I always look for natural ways to alleviate pain, I was skeptical if I could find something natural would be powerful enough to reduce such an intense pain. I started taking 400mg of magnesium 2x/day, running (not weight lifting or any other types of exercise I usually do – hard cardio helps the most), and have cut sugar out of my diet. I am a completely different woman! As I’m continually reminded, if you treat your body right, it will treat you right in return!

    • Hi Sadie, reg. the exercise you mentioned, did you had to cut down the whole body strengthening exercises? I understand cardio def. helps, but I do strengthening exercises too (full body) twice a week, not sure if that is impacting me with these severe PMS symptoms(nausea, cramps etc)

  5. Chaste Tree was the biggest relief for me! I suffered for so long, thinking birth control was my only option to ease my cycles. I was basically tired all the time, unable to achieve focus each day and depressed because my body was failing me. I learned from my chiropractor first that the birth control pills were only suppressing my cycle instead of regulating it and solving the true issues. I also began avoiding hormone disruptors in my environment and soon I was having much more energy and life come back!!

  6. Thanks for the article! I have always had horrendous cramps and very long, super heavy periods. It’s hereditary actually – my mom had such bad cramps as a teenager that her doc put her on codeine, and her mother had it so bad she had a hysterectomy! At age 23 I ended up having to have surgery to remove lesions & scar tissue from endometriosis. The pain is SO much better now. I still have really bad cramps & all that but they’re *cramps*, not a roll of razor-sharp barbed wire being dragged thru my gut 😉

    I always eat really healthy, don’t use chemicals, etc because of some other health challenges. I discovered raspberry leaf a year or so ago (thank you Mtn Rose Herbs!) and make tea with it the day before & first 3 or 4 days of my period. I’m not a tea lover but with a little raw honey it’s easy to get down. If I have a bad headache too, I’ll add some wood betony in with the raspberry. I do take magnesium regularly but I didn’t know it was also good for cramps! I found a plain mag citrate powder that’s just like Natural Calm, just without any flavoring (I mix it with juice). I also like mag baths. I use magnesium chloride flakes (same as the oil). I get both mag products from Swanson Vitamins.

    My wonderful integrative MD just told me my hormones are outta balance so I’m definitely going to bring your article on balancing to my next appt!

    • I have tried everything on this article and nothing seems to work for me, including magnesium baths, teas, ginger, exercise (except during that week because that is impossible with all the pain). 🙁 Anyone have any other suggestions, other than a hysterectomy. I am unable to use the diva cup…it does not fit my compact body for some reason and the leakage is not tolerable, as I have to work.

  7. Thank you so much for this information! My hormones are out of wack and I’m looking for some natural advice to help align them again. Quick question: is taking Maca and Vitex together okay? Or do you recommend doing one or the other?

    • They can be but usually vitex is good on its own

  8. Hi I love your website and it has inspired me in so many ways of taking charge of my health, so a big thank you!
    I am really interested in trying the maca powder and and wanted to know how much do you take?
    Thanks again!

    • I typically take about a teaspoon a day…

  9. I started getting terrible PMS cramps and would even throw up because of the pain. Yarrow tea has been a tremendous help for me. It’s probably the one herb that has helped me the most in that area of health. I’ll have to try the maca, though. That’s sounds interesting.

  10. I bought the vitex by itself, would this still work without the chase tree berry? Are all the products you recommend the cleanest out there? Thanks for your post, I love your website!!!

    • “Vitex agnus-castus” is the botanical name for chaste tree or chasteberry, Vitex for short! It should be sold as the same thing.

      • Chaste tree increases my depression about two days after taking it. The first day I feel great but then I crash a day or two later and it’s horrible. Do you recommend anything else natural I can take for PMS?

  11. I have cystic acne that only shows up around ovulation and subsides during menses. Which one of these remedies would be suggested hormonal induced acne? My family and I eat a real foods diet. We have been transitioning for about 6 months and finally ditched all the bad stuff entirely about a month or so ago. Thanks so much! Love your site. Has been a great inspiration for my family and I through this journey!!

  12. Hi- You talk about “Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry- Nourishes the pituitary gland and helps lengthen the luteal phase. It lowers prolactin and raises progesterone. For some women, this alone will improve symptoms.” Do you have any recommended literature for more info about this. I have high prolactin levels and low progesterone, I have heard of vitex, but never had seen specifically that it helped with that issue. I would love to have some more concrete info to share with my doctor.

  13. My daughter started her period the month after her tenth Birthday, she has been like clockwork since starting. She is past eleven now; She has severe cramps and turns very pale during her period. Is this normal? I was never regular nor did I ever have cramps.
    Thanks for any input…

    • Severe cramps are not normal. Really, cramps aren’t normal – they usually signal one of several possible physiological imbalances (inflammation, toxicity, and/or hormone imbalance). Given the early onset of your daughter’s menarche, hormone imbalance is probable; it’s possible that this is caused by toxicity, given the high exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals (such as are ubiquitous in plastics) in the U.S.

      • My daughter is approaching her 21st birthday,she has dealing with pain before and during her period,her back,down her legs and her abdomen.she can barely walk.Headaches and extream emotions.she is unable to go to work for 3 days every month.we’ve had ultra sounds done which showed ovarian cycsts that cleared on their own, a year ago she started birth control,this regulated her cycle,which made her happy.but she still experenced the emotions and pain.well now the birth contol is not working as well,shes back to experiencing the mood swings and bad cramping about 10 days before her scheduled where do we start? and what suppliments,are best to start with? her whole life revolves around her cycle! Please advise

        • Sounds like PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). I have PMDD- a week before my period I have intense emotions ranging from suicidal thoughts and deep depression, to anger, to uncontrollable crying, and then to debilitating pain. I had to go to a doctor and get on some meds… I drink a lot of herbal tea and set the cup on my belly and take cramp bark- but nothing else has worked for me, other than the anti depressants i was prescribed. I couldnt get out of bed before or during my period at all. it was unbearable.

          • so herbel teas and cramp bark helped? what kind of tea ? Can i get cramp bark at a health food store?

  14. I found taking daily teaspoons of unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses have really reduced how long my cramps last. I love this site by the way. More sleep is my goal for better balance.

  15. One thing I’ve found that also helps (at least with cramping) is making sure you’re well hydrated and you’re electrolytes are in balance.

  16. Thanks a lot! i learned so much!

  17. Thank you for sharing this info! Really helpful.

  18. Thanks a lot for all the info. I’ve been making effort to balance my hormones (i have endometriosis and infertility) with living a natural life and eating organics as much as possible and adding progesterone cream in the last 3 months. I’ve always been timed like a clock for ovulation having a positive test between day 14 to 16 but this month i had a positive test on day 13. Do you thnik that means my efforts are beginning to pay off ?

    • It might… it probably means things are shifting and it might help create a longer luteal phase…

    • Hey Julie! Red clover infusion can be the solution for you, it may take a year even though can make you fertile again and cure endometriosis too, but you have to be very consistent! You have to make and infusion of 1 ounce of dried red clover per 1 quarter of boiling water that you pour on the dried herb in a glass jar and you put the tap on and leave it for at least 4 hours or the whole night, these makes a powerful infusions of the phitonutrients, drink at least 2,or 3 glasses daily per one or two years, of course it will improve your health in the first few months, but to make it permanent you should be stable and consistent for this long period, in any case you try to get pregnant, you should treat the father with the same infusion to help and succeed! Blessings

  19. Which of these supplements would be safe for a 13 year old who deals with severe cramps, sometimes for several days?

    • Hi Delain – I suffered from severe menstrual cramps from my teenage years until my late twenties. They were so bad that I would be incapacitated for one to two days every month. I would be curled up in a ball in bed with a heating pad on my abdomen, in excruciating pain – every single month. Sometimes it would cause me to throw up, it was just horrible. It got worse over the years and over the counter drugs eventually stopped working for me. Then one day my grandmother told me about Mistletoe tea.. I bought it in bulk form and steeped and drank a cup of it every day for about 3 months. The results were amazing – no more cramps (not even mild ones) I was able to make it through work without having to go home. It was truly amazing to have a pain-free period. after that I would just drink the tea occasionally (for maintenance sake) but I have never had any other product (herbal or drug) work so effectively and safely with no side affects. If you research mistletoe herb – you may find some sites that say it is toxic. To the best of my knowledge – I believe the berries are toxic, but NOT the twigs/stems and leaves – they are safe. My mom, myself, and my grandmother (who is turning 95 this year) all used this tea extensively over the years with NO ill effects. We are all healthy and fine. You may want to look into this for your daughter, I would still check with your doctor, but I can sincerely tell you this worked wonders for me and my own daughter just started using the tea for menstrual cramps. You cannot buy it in the health food stores anymore (has been taken off the shelves) but you can order it online. There is a company named Hollow Reed Holistic, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that sells it.Good luck, I hope you find a remedy for your daughter, I encourage you to look into this. God bless.

  20. Hello,

    I am coming off of birth control and experiencing severe PMS symptoms. Can I mix maca, raspberry leaf, AND vitex daily to relieve these symptoms over time? Just making sure there is no negative effects of mixing all three daily.

    • These are all pretty gentle and nutritive herbs that Katie is recommending, so yes, it’s safe to take all 3 of them.

  21. This article was really really useful. Since I am breastfeeding I have been looking for more natural ways to balance my hormones. For some reason since I got married and since I moved to the US I feel like my body, hormones and mentality has changed alot. I think due to my diet here and also lack of exercise and possibly contraceptives I have had lots of issues with libido, and very bad PMS. Now that I am breastfeeding and feel like these issues are really affecting my marriage, what can I take that won’t affect my supply, to help (other than introducing diet changes and exercise which is what I have been attempting recently).

    Thanks in advance!

  22. I have a moon cup and cloth pads, they are my best friends during my period. I had debilitating cramps, they were so bad a would cry and be unable to walk. I would be practically bedridden for a week every month. Now my periods are tolerable, and I don’t dread my periods. The natural options are better for leakage protection too, my underwear has been stain free 🙂 If you are considering switching I urge you to do it! You won’t regret it.

  23. Hi, came across your blog because I’m looking for natural remedies to solve PMS. So far we seem to be in line on a lot of things, which is so encouraging! I have hypothyroidism, take nature-throid (which is a natural form of the medication), and use progesterone cream. Because I am gluten-intolerant/Celiac, I avoid gluten (the last 4 years) and have also taken out sugar (the last 4 years) and dairy (the last year). But still my PMS symptoms are just awful. Long and painful. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and I’ve never been on birth control, we’ve just used natural family planning. The last year we’ve been a lot less careful, both okay if I conceived, but it hasn’t happened yet. I am in the process of taking out all hormone disrupting lotions/body washes and I use a natural foundation. I tried Maca (Now brand and Enzymatic Therapy brand) – the Now brand made me psycho, and other than some increased energy, the ET brand didn’t do much. I’m thinking that’s not the remedy for me. Would you recommend using both Vitex and Magnesium at the same time? Would that be the best combo? Just curious on your opinion. Thanks for any help/advice!

  24. I suffer severe pms and am perimenopausal,i cannot take most supplements due to being on antidepressants for 5 yrs ,I have been off them for 9 months now,but still suffer bad pms 7-10 days before menses and during,i also suffer bad anxiety and am on anti anxiety meds for past 5 yrs too,i am trying to get off them but the process is very slow and hard,any advice would be helpful,i tried vitex agnas cactus some months ago and got what seemed like hot flushes in my legs I could feel the blood getting hot in my legs

  25. I have suffered from horrific cramps since giving birth to my last child. Thru the use of the natural progesterone you suggested, and a little Clary Sage rubbed on my abdomen- I have really noticed a difference. I recently switched from to the Diva cup from the Keeper, and find it much more comfortable!!! Thanks for the tips!

  26. Man, I suffer from bad Period Pains…. I get bloated, fatigue, back and stomach pain, and razor sharp pains in my abdomen/up through my uterus that lasts for a few seconds. When I get my period this usually means that I am bed bound for three-four days….as you can imagine it really sucks that it stops you from doing daily activities. Nothing that I try really works for me… I have tried Ibuprofen, hot water bottles, heating pads, tea, exercise and rubbing some specific aromatherapy oils on my belly to act as a pain reliever..

    I see on this post that there are alot of natural remedies for these kinda cramps, but my questions are; How do I know which remedy is for me? How do I find out what I need to change in my lifestyle to make things better? Where would I even get this stuff??

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am a very stuck woman with a very irritating problem!! Thanks….

    • Did you ever get any suggrstions?

      • Nope :/

    • Rachel I am not a medical doctor, so please know that I am not offering medical advice only personal opinion. I have endometriosis III, and use many of the options reviewed on this site. I suggest trying to up your magnesium and trying the red raspberry leaf tea for your next cycle. You can find these products at who.e foods or online at I suggest these two first because magnesium is a supplement that aids with pain. Raspberry Leaf Tea because it seems to have an overall popularity per my personal rest his online and personal use and results. You will probably still have to use pain killers as you had been while you are trying things out, but you will get a sense, month to month which things help and which seem to worsen symptoms. Note that some herbs and supplements require time to build the system, but magnesium and raspberry leaf tea, for me at least, seemed to give some immediate relief. It takes time though, to try many things and build an arsenal. Best of luck. Also, if you haven’t seen a licensed Medical Doctor for these symptoms, I would do so as soon as possible. It sounds like endometriosis, but you need to see a professional for the appropriate exam,tests, procedures, diagnosis, etc.

      • Improving the quality of your nutritional intake, to reduce your overall level of inflammation (because processed food, and personal food sensitivities even to whole foods, are a huge source of inflammation), would make the biggest difference. This question is fairly old, so who knows if you’re still following this post… but how far along are you in implementing the really good and down-to-earth nutritional guidance available here on Wellness Mama? This is a great resource, and improving your nutrition will make a world of difference.

        Second, reducing or cutting out your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals (of which there are so many!) is also of critical importance.

        It’s harder to get relief if you have endometriosis, as opposed to “regular” dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), but the initial approach is the same (right diet, avoiding chemicals) and most critical.

        • I had endometriosis and after just switching to a whole foods diet, taking a good multi and Ca/Mg, while avoiding gluten and dairy reduced my cramps drastically. Still need ibuprofen but the pain was finally under control. Used to get sharp nauseating pain that led to me throwing up and writhing in bed for hours. The next thing that helped me further was following the ALCAT food sensitivity test results. I could go most periods without any pain meds. And finally what allowed me to get pregnant (in the first cycle!) after 7 years of infertility, was surgically removing my endometriosis by a very successful world-renowned surgeon. (Dr. Hilgers of NaproTech) And still almost 3 years since the (very easy and natural) birth, I have either no cramps or a tiny bit of dull ache on day one. And I no longer avoid, just limit, gluten and dairy or restrict my diet otherwise. Still nourish myself with supplements and a properly prepared whole foods diet. Hope this helps someone out there with similar issues of severe endo pain and infertility.

  27. Hi, so I’ve been waiting for my periods to start back up again as I had been on the depo shot, and I have been experiencing rather painful cramping. I had gone on the depo because my periods have always been very excruciating, I would go so pale that people thought I was dying and had in between medium and heavy flows. I have troubles finding natural remedies for the pain as some of the things you’ve listed here I’m actually allergic to (coconut oil and fish) so I am unable to use/consume them. To top it off, my sugar levels drop very quickly when I have any kind of blood loss, especially when it’s comes to my menstrual cycle. I am just wondering if there’s any other fruits or vegetables that will help, or any supplements that I could possibly add into my daily smoothies to help make my menstrual cycles go, well, a lot smoother? Thank you in advance.

    • Are you using disposable feminine products, or reusable? I know that when I switched to reusable it made a big difference for me.

  28. I wish I had found these types of remedies earlier in life. I am now past that time in my life–Praise God! However, my 13 yo just started menstursting for the first time yesterday. She’s been having cramps off and on over the past few months. Since she is so young, is there a specific regime you would suggest?

  29. I get really bad cramps what is gud for the crampin sometimes feels like bad labor pains ugh hurt

  30. Great advice on supplements etc., however I do not recommend the Diva cup. As convenient and comfortable as it can, unfortunately it can easily throw off the ph balance of your vagina causing bacterial vaginosis . This happened to myself and a friend and it was not very convenient in the long run! Really sad cause I thought the Diva cup had changed my life for the better during my cycle : (

    • Sarah, were you using soap or a cleansing product to clean your diva cup? Using soap will alter the ph levels and is not recommended. I use a Mooncup in the uk and only ever use water to clean it, water is ph neutral and won’t alter the ph balance at all. Not sure what the diva cup is made from, but Mooncup is medical grade silicone and I have had no issues for nearly 5 years using it.

  31. Hi, Would Avocado oil be considered one of the good guys? Where would you place amongst the natural oils/fats?

    Thanks again, love this article!

  32. Thanks for this! Nothing major going on as I have always had a clockwork cycle with regular periods and normal ovulation. I’m fortunate to have avoided hormonal birth control methods opting instead for a Natural Family Planning – based device called Lady Comp. I also switched to a menstrual cup a little over a year ago (I use Lunette). Despite all of that I have always had cystic hormonal acne and have had some pretty bad hirsutism in my chin that tells me my hormones are NOT completely balanced. Trying to figure out where to start and this is all very useful information!

    • Hi Hannah,
      I noticed on your post you mentioned hirsutism on your chin. I too have had that for over ten years (I’m in my mid thirties). I wonder if you’ve found any helpful information about that? I’m currently working on finding natural remedies for severe monthly cramps that started about a year ago. I’m hoping as my hormones balance that the chin hair issue will resolve itself:)

  33. I don’t have cramps but I am irritable and have a short cycle. Has anyone tried the YL progessence plus oil from day 14 on… it contains progesterone and vitex. Did it work? Is it no dairy or is raw fine?

    • Yes this technique is called”oil therapy” ,is very helpful for balancing hormones and used by many naturopaths.You take flax or fish oil for the first half of your cycle and on day 14 you take borage or evening primrose oil ( to raise progesterone and balance hormones) This is helpful for women of all ages with hormonal problems from menarche through menopause. Be patient,your hormones will take afew months to balance…..and follow all the healthy lifestyle recommendations on this website ?

  34. Is maca safe while breastfeeding?

  35. Cutting out sugar, chemicals and exercising were my life changers. have no more terrible PMS symptoms – no moodiness, no breast tenderness, a little bit of bloating the day before and a little sensitivity but the hormones are shifting (drop off in progesterone to trigger mentruation) so that’s to be expected.

    The one thing I have NOT been successful at getting rid of is period cramps. I’ve tried all the herbs – red raspberry leaf, vitex, dong quai, etc plus magnesium, 2 homeopathics, yoni herbal steam baths, energy healing, maca, I3C, plus super super clean holistic diet – lots of healthy fats, paleo, organic, spring water in glass, black out windows at night, blue light glasses on computer during the day, 15-30 minutes of sun time, Cod liver oil, no use of soaps, etc. What I do see though is 1-2 months of only mild cramps when I initially make a change (add a supplement, eliminate a certain food) and then even if I continue with that change they return 2 months later and I go back to the drawing board. Nothing is wrong physically so I’m wondering if this really could just be “normal”.

    I’m thinking it could have something to do with a very hidden allergy or it’s sub-conscious creation.

    We shall see…

    • Hi Laura, sounds like you are doing some amazing things to support your health! I’m inspired:) Thought I would share this with you since I didn’t see you mention it and maybe it could be a resource for you? In my search for understanding my super intensely painful periods I’ve started physical therapy to address my tight pelvic floor muscles. My therapist (a woman) works intravaginally to release tight muscles. She also works externally on my abdomen, as that has been a source of restriction. I’m only about a month into it, but also started a daily yoga practice to help stretch and open the muscles of my pelvis. I’m hoping that it will help…

    • Hi Laura,
      You are taking such good care of your body.
      I’m in a similar situation. I live a holistic, sugarfree, grain free lifestyle with lots of organic veg & meats.
      I don’t get any symptoms before my period but during I can suffer extreme cramping. I can be almost cramp free for a few months & then there’ll be 1 or 2 months when it is terrible. It was like this when I was a teenager before starting the contraceptive pill. Been off the pill now for 4 years.
      Everything else is very regular so I guessing it is maybe genetic.
      One thing I have noticed is that I take a potent nutritional supplement but I will have some gap days as I’m not keen to supplement all the time. Interestingly, my cramps do seem to be more present in the months following the gap days. I’m going to test it out by not doing the gap days. A friend of mine just started the same supplement & the first thing she said is her period cramps have gone.
      Vitamin B1, B6, B12, E, C & D all seem to be very important for period support. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce ‘good’ prostaglandins that help relax muscle rather than the other prostaglandin that causes contrations & pain. Hoping this is the key.

      Hihi & in the end, as just take it as the Universe’s way of saying I really need a rest day & to be uber gentle with myself (challenging sometimes when the cramps kick in).

  36. My period has been wacky for about a year and a half. While it seems to come at about the 28 mark every month, what happens is I spot the first day and then it takes 3-4 days of barely any spotting before I really start. It is very frustrating, and I don’t understand why I am doing this. When I asked my OG/GYN, her response was that I take birth control pills to regulate it. No thanks, I just want an answer.

  37. I’m just a man, but I’ve been blessed to work with a couple options that are natural protocols that help women with these issues. I don’t want to violate the comment policy, so let me just say thank you for raising awareness that there are options besides the terrible therapies offered thru traditional western medicine. God bless you.

  38. I felt compelled to write a comment and to say thanks. I read your blog looking for ways to help deal with female issues. You wrote about fats. I use all the good fats. I never thought of putting coconut oil in coffee before. It is quite good and an easy way to take coconut oil. I added 2 teaspoons to my coffee which I also add organic sugar and raw milk, it gave is a very nice texture and I really didn’t even taste the coconut oil. Plus I have read elsewhere that coconut oil is good for oral health. Thanks again, keep up the good work!

  39. I’m in my army 40’s and I’m have heavy long period. It last for weeks and I’ve been in and out of the hospital. No relief. I eat healthy but I don’t want to put any more meds in my body. I am in bed all the time. I am not sleeping. I have bad cramps also. I really want the pain, and bleeding to stop.

    How can Maca Roots help me? An where do I find Maca Root?

    I want to use National remedies to make this stop.

  40. I’ve been taking notes on all these great ideas for alleviating menstrual discomfort. I’ve relied on pain relievers for far too long and I actually think the pain reliever is making some of the symptoms worse. In the last year or so I’ve experienced severe indigestion during my cycle do you have any suggestions for that? Also what is the best way to be sure you aren’t mixing the wrong supplements together? I’m really hopeful some of these ideas will change my life! I dread my cycle each month, its just so painful and miserable!

  41. Why shouldn’t coconut oil be heated? We often deep fry with it. I guess that’s a bad thing? What oil would you use to deep fry? Thanks!

  42. I am currently laying on my back at 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. There is Christmas shopping to be done and crafts and cookies to be made….Memories to be formed and moments to be savored… But here I am. Day 1 of my period. Coming off of 5 days of wanting to leave my husband, screaming in my car behind the Home Depot, and literally waking up to have tears come welling up before I even have a chance to think of something sad. This last bout of PMDD has brought me to my knees, praying to God to please help me get past this hormonal agony every month.

    My symptoms are so clear and present, like a cheesecake drizzled in chocolate sauce, you can cut them with a knife, categorize, and recognize them. These symptoms have created a serious conflict in my life. Now my husband has no clue if I have psychotic ramblings or true feelings that need validation.

    My hormonal shifts are ruining my life and affecting my relationships. Psychiatrists are there to prescribe a myriad of pills with haneous side effects that can actually exacerbate mental symptoms or create new negative symptoms while diluting other symptoms. Trust me, I know this because I’ve just spent a year on a roller coaster of meds which I eventually and abruptly ended 3 months ago and honestly never felt better!

    Now, don’t get me wrong, the psychiatrist has value. They have pills to treat symptoms in their Arsenal and rarely dig under the surface of symptoms for solutions like nutrition and biology. Sometimes a pill is an answer and many times it’s better as a temporary answer not a maintenance medication. I want to know this….

    WHY ARE WE NOT EVALUATED BY AN ENDOCRINOLOGIST? Why are we not studied more on this textbook moodswings and just thrown anti depressants and antipsychotic medications that have negative effects on our lives and make big pharma rich?

    Remember, you are reading the ramblings of a very crampy, very tired, chocolate fiending carb junkie at the moment. I may sound cuckoo. But at this point in my life, I’m tired, drained, and just plain angry I have to go through this garbage. Do I have to go to medical school myself to get some answers? I just want HELP!

    • This is the comment I was waiting to read. In the 5 days before my period I want to leave my husband and my children, I can’t cope with everyday things. I lash out, angry, mean. I used to take vitex and it helped a lot.

      I don’t get severe cramps anymore and the solution I found was high doses of calcium at the start of my period. About 1000mg a couple of times. Works really well.

  43. Katie, You saved me this month. Ive been using Natural Progesterone cream for the past 9 months. I’m getting my period on time every month, but the cramps are not not normal. i used to have cramps for days, but since i started this cream the cramps are worse, but it’s only for 2 days… I told my Chiropractor i feel like i’m in labor. I get very pale, extreme nausea, super weak and cramps so bad i can’t breath. i take 3 motrin every 3 and a half hours. This month even that was not working, i read this post and drank red raspberry leaf tea. It worked! i was able to breath. So thank you so much!

  44. Thank you for your awesome site, it has changed our likes. I was hoping you could provide some insights for those of us heading into the next phase of life. I’ve turned fifty and am having difficulty with night sweats.

  45. KELP / IODINE!!!

  46. Hi there,

    I’ve suffered with painful periods ever since I’ve had them and have been taking Evening Primrose oil for years. This was really helping and stopped the very painful breast tenderness, menstrual cramps for sometimes 3 weeks of the month and helped the pain during the period to reduce. For a few years I was ok on 1000mg a day but I know find I can only get relief by taking 2000mg. I’m very aware that EPO is an Omega 6 so could be causing all sorts of inflammation in my body and possibly not helping the histamine reactions I’ve developed to a lot of food. Although this, I’m pretty sure is directly linked to my Methylation issues which are exacerbated by the Epilepsy meds I have to take which make me deficient in Glutathione and B vitamins.

    I’m not sure what to do about this situation as the pains are very intense if I don’t take the EPO and I don’t like to take too many painkillers.

    I would really appreciate your advice.

    Many thanks,


    • Nat, I hope it’s helpful to learn that while EPO is high in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which is in fact an omega-6 fatty acid, GLA is an omega-6 that behaves more like an omega-3. Meaning, it’s anti-inflammatory. I hope that eases your mind.

      And you’ve brought up so many things (methylation, glutathione, etc.), that I’m hoping you have local access to a good naturopathic doctor, to help you optimize function in the context of your personal challenges.

      If you’re getting histamine reactions to food, are you aware of how to eat to account for that? You might check out

      Many blessings and best wishes,
      Dr. Deborah Epstein, ND

      • Dear Deborah,

        Many thanks for your reply. That is reassuring to hear about the EPO although I’ve decided to come off it and up my Agnus Castus/Chasteberry tincture. I’ve yet to have a full cycle so I will see how this goes!

        Thank you I’ve researched low histamine foods and stick to a low histamine diet but may try Quercetin and see if that can help a bit.

        All the best,


  47. Hello, I’ve been reading this post with great interest. I came off yasminelle birth control almost a year ago now and I’m still not back to myself. The thing I found so difficult was chest pains and joint pains. I also got severe bouts of anxiety in the first few months off of it. I’m coping with the anxiety side of it but the joint pains and chest pains are really getting me down to the point where I have considered going back on birth control. I’ve had all the heart tests done and MRI on brain because I was dizzy etc and everything came back fine. I had hormone blood test last month which said my progesterone was at 4.2 but the nurse said they like it around 17 I think but when I spoke to the doctor she said it was fine unless I’m trying to conceive……. I bought maca yesterday but I’m not sure how I’m doing on it- I feel a few slight headaches, is this a normal thing??? I also have Angus castus but I’ve been scared to try it. Can anybody relate to the joint pain??? My doctor wants me to get checked for fibromyalgia but I was perfectly fine until I stopped birth control so I think it’s hormone related. But they said the pill leaves your system in a matter of days. I’m doing a lot better than I was 6 months ago but I just want to feel great again. I don’t get excited about anything anymore. I got a new car last week (by new I mean newer than my old 16 year old car) and my sister said I wasn’t one bit excited looking getting it. I’m a single mom and I just want to get back to enjoying life again. I feel like I’ve aged into an old women… I’m only 33 but my mom has more energy than me!!!! I’m rambling on here a bit….. Sorry!!! I have tried multivitamins and stress b complex, taking osteocare tablets and vitamin D and magnesium. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • When I had low progesterone, I used a natural progesterone cream for the second half of my cycle and it made a huge difference for me… Hope you find answers and feel better soon!

  48. I have heard progesterone levels should be between 18 to 25. I have started using young living progessence oil. It is sweet yam oil and vitex chaste berry oil. I also bought the mighty maca greens and vital protein collagen. I really hope they help me and I hope they help you!

  49. Thank you Wellness Mama. Can you get that from your doctor or natural health shop? How did you know how much to use?

  50. A few things to keep in mind when trying natural remedies: everybody is different, so what works for one person unbelievably well may not work for you. So there may be some trial and error to find what works best for you. If you are on any medication, always check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure there won’t be any interaction between a supplement and your medication. There are also online resources to check for this. And remember that natural remedies take longer to work than drugs. Usually I will try things for at least 2-6 weeks, sometimes up to 3-4 months, before seeing results. Over time, you can fine tune what you take for best results. What’s really nice about going the natural route is that many times, other problems fade away, too. One last thing – it’s always a good idea to cycle herbs (5 days on, 2 days off; or 6 days on, 1 day off; 3weeks on, 1 week off) – they work better that way and give your body a break. I personally use different cycles for different supplements. Hope this helps.

  51. The healthy/unhealthy fats were new information for me, but most of the herbs I knew in the back of my mind and forgot. Thanks so much for the reminder! I have tried a Diva Cup, but my flow is so heavy the first two days or so, I wind up changing the cup as often as every hour or even 45 minutes. I liked the cup, and I am wondering if the flow will slow down a bit with the use of some of the herbs? Days 1-2 are spotty, days 2-4 are heavy and crampy, days 4-9 are spotty again, with occasional heavy bursts. It would be nice to level out the flow some, reduce or get rid of cramping altogether, and have a more manageable cycle. Thanks so much for the information, and keep up the good work!

  52. Maca has helped my pms symptoms. I’m stil quite emotional and cry a day or two before my period. I think it helps with cramps and heavy bleeding by balancing hormones.
    Be warned, maca may make you horny! Not kidding here folks. Add that to being single and mid 30s and in good shape (lots of energy) and it makes me kinda crazy. Maybe a little insight of what it’s like to be a hormone-charged man.
    Really though. Maca is awesome for energy. I stop taking every other month for a week or two as I was worried about too much building up. I am a moderation girl. Although I eat a half an avocado almost everyday!