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12 Tips On How to Fight PMS Fatigue

If you tend to feel unusually tired in the few days leading up to your period, you’re not alone! This is one of the many symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). In this blog, we discuss all-things PMS fatigue, including how to deal with it and when to see a doctor.

PMS Fatigue


PMS fatigue is caused by hormonal changes that happen as you approach your period.

Regular exercise, balanced diet, and adequate sleep help fight PMS-related tiredness.

If the fatigue is accompanied by severe anxiety or depression, see a doctor. 

Did you know?
PMS has been nicknamed “Pre-Madonna Syndrome” due to the stereotype of women becoming irritable before their periods.

Picture this: it’s that time of the month again, and you find yourself battling fatigue, mood swings, and an inexplicable craving for chocolate chip cookies. These are simply symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). In this blog, we delve into the science behind PMS fatigue and we share tips on how to get rid of these feelings of tiredness.

Let’s dive in!

What Is PMS?

PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome. This refers to a mix of physical and emotional symptoms that many women experience in the days leading up to their menstrual period. These symptoms usually sneak up on you during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, starting after ovulation and ending when menstruation begins.

What Causes PMS?

The exact cause of PMS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve hormonal and psychological factors. Here’s are potential contributing reasons:

1. Hormonal Fluctuations: Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, especially fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, are believed to play a key role in PMS. These hormonal changes affect how the chemical messengers in your brain work, leading to mood swings, fatigue, and other PMS symptoms.

2. Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, and depression could worsen PMS symptoms or make you more susceptible to experiencing fatigue. Chronic stress, especially, contributes to hormonal imbalances and interferes with the activity of your brain’s chemical messengers (neurotransmitters).

3. Lifestyle and Environmental Factors: Certain elements like poor diet and lack of exercise contribute to the development or worsening of PMS symptoms. Environmental factors, including exposure to pollutants and toxins, also play a role in disrupting hormonal balance and contributing to PMS symptoms.

4. Genetic Predisposition: There is a genetic component to PMS, as it tends to run in families. Women with a family history of PMS are more likely to experience symptoms themselves.

5. Underlying Health Conditions: Certain underlying health conditions, like thyroid disorders, endocrine disorders, and mood disorders, contribute to or exacerbate PMS symptoms.

The specific mix of factors contributing to PMS will vary from one person to another, and the exact mechanisms underlying the condition are still being studied.

PMS symptoms also vary in severity and duration from one menstrual cycle to another, so it’s important to track what symptoms are persistent and severe for you. One such symptom is fatigue, so let’s look at it more closely in the next section.

Is Fatigue Really A Symptom Of PMS?

Is Fatigue Really A Symptom Of PMS?

Yes – fatigue is a common symptom of PMS. Many women experience feelings of tiredness or exhaustion in the days leading up to their menstrual period. This fatigue ranges from mild to severe and is accompanied by other PMS symptoms including the ones we discuss next.

Other Symptoms of PMS

Here’s a detailed look at common symptoms of PMS:

1. Mood Swings: Fluctuations in hormone levels contribute to changes in mood, leading to feelings of irritability, sadness, anxiety, or mood swings.

2. Anxiety and Tension: Many women experience increased feelings of being on edge and anxious during the premenstrual period.

3. Bloating: Some women experience abdominal bloating, water retention, or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen due to hormonal fluctuations

4. Breast Tenderness: Hormonal changes also cause breast tenderness or swelling, making the breasts feel sore or sensitive to touch.

5. Food Cravings and Changes in Appetite: PMS is accompanied by cravings for specific types of food, particularly those high in carbohydrates or sugar. Some women also experience changes in appetite, like increased hunger or decreased interest in food.

6. Headaches: Hormonal fluctuations trigger headaches or migraines in some women during the premenstrual period.

7. Trouble Sleeping: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep occur due to hormonal changes and increased levels of stress or anxiety.

8. Acne Flare-ups: Some women notice an increase in acne breakouts or skin blemishes before menstruation

9. Joint or Muscle Pain: PMS has also been associated with muscle aches, joint pain, or general body discomfort.

10. Changes in Libido: Fluctuations in hormone levels affect libido or sexual desire in some women, leading to changes in sexual interest or arousal.

11. Anxiety or Depressive Symptoms: PMS exacerbate symptoms of anxiety or depression in women who are predisposed to these conditions.

12. Difficulty Concentrating: Some women experience difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, or mental fog during the premenstrual period.

13. Abdominal Cramps: Mild to moderate abdominal cramping or discomfort occur before the onset of menstruation, due to uterine contractions.

Not all women will experience every one of these symptoms, and some experience symptoms that are not even included here. If you tend to feel unusually tired right before your period or even during your period, let’s discuss whether or not there’s a cure for this in the next section.

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Is There Treatment For PMS Fatigue?

Yes! There are various options available to help manage fatigue associated with PMS. The most suitable treatment approach for you will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and also your personal preferences. Here are some strategies that have been helpful for most women:

Lifestyle Modifications:

Simple changes in your daily habits can help your body transition smoothly as you get closer to your period. These changes include:

1. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity, like walking, jogging, yoga, or swimming, helps boost energy levels, improves mood, and alleviates fatigue. Exercising regularly improves your sleep quality, ensuring that PMS-related Insomnia doesn’t leave you feeling groggy.

2. Balanced Diet: Consuming a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provide essential nutrients to fuel your body. Avoiding excessive caffeine, sugar, and processed foods also helps regulate energy levels.

3. Adequate Sleep: Prioritizing good sleep hygiene practices ensures you rest well and are not tired when you wake up. If you struggle to fall asleep, consider using sleep aids like weighted blankets. Our Cotton Napper, for instance, provides deep pressure stimulation, calming your nervous system and promoting the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone).

4. Stress Management: Practicing stress-reduction techniques, like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or journaling, help alleviate stress and promote relaxation, which in turn reduces fatigue.

5. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help alleviate bloating and maintain overall bodily function, contributing to reducing fatigue.

Medical Changes:

With careful medical guidance, certain medical practices have been shown to help get rid of PMS fatigue. These include:

6. Acupuncture or Acupressure: Studies from the National institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that you can find relief from PMS symptoms, including fatigue, through acupuncture or acupressure treatments. These practices may help balance energy flow in the body and alleviate various symptoms associated with PMS.

7. Heat Therapy: Applying heat to the abdomen or lower back, such as with a weighted lap pad or warm towel, can help alleviate cramps and discomfort associated with PMS. If period cramps are keeping you awake and tense, heat therapy can help you relax better so that you’re not tired all the time.

8. Over-the-counter (OTC) Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or naproxen, help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with PMS, contributing to fatigue. If pain is keeping you awake at night, taking an OTC pain reliever can help you get the rest you need.

9. Hormonal Birth Control: For some women, hormonal birth control methods, like contraceptive pills, patches, or hormonal Intrauterine devices (IUDs), help regulate hormone levels and reduce PMS symptoms, including fatigue. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor before taking contraceptives.

Mental Health Support:

Since psychological factors also play a role in PMS Fatigue, it helps to seek mental health support, including:

10. Counseling: Talking to a therapist or counselor can provide emotional support and coping strategies for managing stress, anxiety, and mood changes associated with PMS.

11. Support Groups: Joining a support group or online community for women with PMS could offer a sense of validation, connection, and understanding from others who are experiencing similar symptoms.

12. Tracking Symptoms: Keeping a journal or using a mobile app to track PMS symptoms, including fatigue, can help identify patterns and triggers, allowing for more targeted management strategies.

It helps to take a trial-and-error approach with all of these tips so that you find what works best for you.

Another way some women have gone about dealing with PMS Fatigue is through vitamins and supplements. In the next section, let’s look at the role nutrients play in your experience of PMS fatigue.

Is There Treatment For PMS Fatigue?

Nutrients And Supplements To Help With PMS

Because your personal response may vary, speak to your doctor before taking these supplements. Here are some commonly used supplements and vitamins that have shown promise in managing symptoms like PMS fatigue:

1. Calcium: Supplementing with Calcium has been shown to reduce symptoms of PMS, particularly mood swings, irritability, and fluid retention. It helps to get this from natural sources of calcium like seeds, cheese, and yogurt but you can also aim for 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium per day.

2. Magnesium: Magnesium helps with PMS symptoms, like fatigue, bloating, and breast tenderness. Aim for 200-400 mg of magnesium per day, preferably in the form of magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate.

3. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 supplementation helps alleviate symptoms of PMS, including premenstrual depression and fatigue. Aim for 50-100 mg of vitamin B6 per day, but be cautious not to exceed 100 mg daily, as higher doses cause nerve damage over time.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and improve mood in women with PMS. Aim for 1,000-2,000 mg of combined EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) per day, preferably from fish oil supplements or algae-based supplements for vegetarians and vegans.

5. Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps alleviate symptoms of PMS, including fatigue and muscle pain. Aim for 600-800 IU (International Units) of vitamin D per day, or higher doses as recommended by a healthcare provider based on your needs and blood levels.

6. Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus): Chasteberry, also known as Vitex, is a popular herbal remedy used to alleviate symptoms of PMS, including mood swings, breast tenderness, and bloating. It is believed to help balance hormone levels, particularly by increasing progesterone levels. Follow dosage recommendations provided by the manufacturer or healthcare provider.

7. Black Cohosh: This is an herbal supplement that helps alleviate symptoms of PMS, including mood swings, anxiety, and hot flashes. It is believed to have estrogen-like effects on the body. Again, it is important to stick with the dosage recommendations from your doctor or the manufacturer.

Next, let’s look at some tell-tale signs to look out for to know that there is more to your PMS fatigue, warranting medical attention.

When To See A Doctor

Here are some indications that it is time to see a doctor about your PMS fatigue:

1. Severe Accompanying Symptoms: If you experience intense physical or emotional symptoms of PMS, like recurring mood swings, severe depression or anxiety, debilitating fatigue, or severe abdominal pain, seek medical evaluation.

2. Impact on Daily Functioning: If your PMS fatigue significantly interferes with your ability to carry out daily activities, like work, school, relationships, or household responsibilities, consult with a healthcare provider.

3. Fatigue Persistence: If the tiredness persists or worsens over time, despite attempting self-care strategies or lifestyle modifications, seek medical attention for further evaluation and management.

4. New or Unusual Symptoms: If you experience new or unusual symptoms that you haven’t experienced before during your menstrual cycle, discuss them with a healthcare provider to rule out other potential underlying causes.

5. Impact on Mental Health: If your PMS fatigue significantly affects your mental health and well-being, leading to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts, seek immediate medical attention for psychological evaluation and support.

6. Concerns About Hormonal Imbalance: If you suspect that hormonal imbalances are contributing to your PMS fatigue, or if you have a history of hormonal disorders or reproductive health issues, discuss your concerns with a healthcare provider.


PMS is a common experience for many women. While it’s normal to feel some degree of fatigue during the first few days leading up to your period, some accompanying symptoms require medical attention. Understanding the potential causes of PMS, including hormonal fluctuations, neurotransmitter imbalances, and psychological factors, helps you better manage your symptoms.