‘That time of the month’ is a common justification for many women. If you experience any of the 150 possible symptoms before the start of your period you are not alone — some studies suggest that 90 percent of women are in the same boat. Obviously the severity varies between women but most agree that a hormone imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone is the most likely hypothesis.

The reality is that no one needs to experience any discomfort before they menstruate. PMS responds really well to natural remedies. In my experience it takes at least 2 menstrual cycles for appropriate response with 4-6 cycles the ideal to properly address the causes.

In your diet, cut out all caffeine in any form – including chocolate, coffee, cola drinks etc. The xanthines in caffeine have an effect on oestrogen receptors in the breasts contributing to breast tenderness and enlargement. Sugar, white flour and salt are notorious for aggravating fluid retention, causing swelling, bloating and mood changes. Just because you crave it doesn’t mean its good for you.

Nutrients such as B vitamins especially B6 are especially beneficial to reduce PMS symptoms such as moodiness, fluid retention, breast symptoms and acne; Magnesium can help specifically with cramping, fatigue, anxiety, chocolate cravings and weight gain; and Evening primrose oil is wonderfully effective as it helps regulate hormones through prostaglandin synthesis. The herb Vitex agnus castus is the most researched anti-PMS wonder, but remember to take it for at least 2 cycles before you make any changes.