Are You Making Your PMS Worse?

Follow our pain-busting chart and feel instantly better.

The things you crave to relieve pre-menstrual cramps can actually make you feel worse. ‘During your period, your body releases the hormone prostaglandin, which causes pain,’ says Abubaker Elmardi, a consultant* at Staffordshire General Hospital. ‘But there are ways to cope with cramps without compromising the rest of your life.’

1. Chilling out with a bottle of wine. And six mojitos. Alcohol might relax you, but it’s dehydrating and contains toxins. Also, mixing alcohol with painkillers can damage your liver. One draught of Guinness has enough alcohol to dull pain and it also helps replace any lost iron.
2. Tucking into a whole tub of Gino Ginelli. Eating the equivalent of 1¼ cups of sugar floods acid into your stomach, causing indigestion, which makes PMS more painful. Custard is filling, not too sweet and its heat distracts your pain receptors from the cramps.
3. Ditching your gym session to slouch on the sofa. Lying around thinking about the pain you’re in is guaranteed to make you feel worse. Light exercise, like power walking, will trigger anaesthetising endorphins.
4. Sex. Well, it usually perks you up. The hormonal high you normally get will only happen if you stop worrying about getting your period during sex. Doctor’s orders: foot rubs and massages help you forget PMS. Share the good news with your boyfriend.

* Consultant Abubaker Elmardi runs a clinic for women with heavy periods at Staffordshire General Hospital.

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