Yoga in premenstrual syndrome

Dr Aparna Singh
PG Scholar, Department of Homoeopathic Pharmacy, Bakson Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Greater Noida, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.

Premenstrual syndrome is the most common reproductive disorder that affects both the mental and physical plains of females. There is no specific treatment for PMS. It can be well managed by healthy diet and lifestyle changes. YOGA is considered a Holistic approach that builds strength, and stamina and creates a sense of spiritual awakening. This article deals with an overview of the usefulness of YOGA in female disorders i.e., Premenstrual syndrome. This article also highlights some effective YOGA postures which are helpful in managing PMS and lead toward a healthy body with a relaxed state of mind.

Keywords: YOGA, Asanas/ Poses, Premenstrual syndrome, Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder,


“YOGA is the journey of the self, through the self to the self.”  –  The Bhagwat Gita.

The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’, meaning “to yoke,” or “to unite”.  It is a practice where the individual aims to create a union between body, mind, and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness. If the person practices such acts, they tend to neutralize ego-driven thoughts and behaviours and create a sense of spiritual awakening.

Today Modern yoga is mostly associated with the physical practice of Asana, a series of postures. If a person practices Asana it builds strength, and stamina and improves the body’s flexibility with increases in coordination and balance. This in the end leads to a healthy and relaxed body. (2)

With the increasing stress of daily work, one forgets to relax and gets inclined towards ignoring mental and physical health, especially true for women. If we talk about females, stress along with many other factors causes various female illnesses. Among the various female disorders, the most underrated one is Premenstrual syndrome.

Almost 80% of women experience mood and physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Premenstrual ailments are some of the most common disorders suffered by women today. It has been shown that women can have radical behavioral, emotional, and physical reactions to the hormonal changes occurring in the para menstruum that can impact all aspects of their lives.

Hippocrates was the first one who introduced the association between menstrual periods and behavioral changes. In 1931, Dr. Robert T Frank an American physician at the New York Academy of Medicine first identified and attributed these changes to ovarian dysfunction and used the term “premenstrual tension” in his paper called “Hormonal Causes of Premenstrual Tension”. In the same year, Karen Horney believed that this syndrome can be caused by sexual desire and so-called “premenstrual syndrome” (1)(3)

What does Premenstrual Syndrome stand for?
In the reproductive age of women, it is the most common health problem. Premenstrual syndrome is a recurrent luteal phase condition characterized by physical, psychological, and behavioral changes of sufficient severity to result in deterioration of the interpersonal relationship and normal activity. Premenstrual syndrome is most common in women in their 20’s and 30’s and ceases entirely at menopause.

PMS etiology is still unknown. As PMS is a physiological problem, not a wholly psychological one. There may be many different causes of symptoms in women suffering from PMS.

One of the reasons can be hormonal disturbance/ imbalance. It can be due to excessive levels of oestrogen and inadequate levels of progesterone hormone in the body of a female. Whereas diet may also be an important factor in contributing to the disturbance in some women. (11) (7)

The onset of symptoms:
Symptoms of PMS occur 2 weeks prior to the menstrual cycle and become intense in nature 2-3 days before periods. It subsides within one or two days after the period starts. There is a variation of symptoms from woman to woman.

Symptoms can be divided into the following forms

  • Emotional symptoms

depression, anger outbursts, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, crying spells confusion of thoughts, social withdrawal, poor concentration, insomnia, increase nap-taking, and changes in sexual desire.

  • Physical symptoms

headaches, fatigue, palpitations, vertigo, paraesthesia of extremities, and easy bruising. Nausea, gastrointestinal symptoms, a change in thirst and appetite, cravings, bloating, weight gain, backaches, acne, breast tenderness, pelvic pressure or heaviness, sensitivity to noise, and change in alcohol tolerance. (5)

The most common symptoms are:

Breast tenderness, weight gain, abdominal pain, abdominal fullness, nausea, bloating, acne aggravation, decreased coordination, irritability, aggressive behaviour, increased guilt feelings, fatigue, slow sluggish, lethargic movements, decreased self-image and paranoia or increased low self-esteem. (6)

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe form of PMS where mood symptoms are similar in form and may or may not be present with physical symptoms. PMDD is listed as a mental Psychiatric Disorder and is mentioned in DSM 5.

Diagnosis –

One can diagnose by conforming to the following pattern of symptoms which are –

  • Symptoms must be present 4-5 days before the period and for at least 3 menstrual cycles in a row.
  • These symptoms must end or subside within 1-2 days before the period starts.
  • Symptoms should interfere with some normal activities. (5)

As there is no laboratory test for premenstrual syndrome that confirms the diagnosis. So, keeping a record of symptoms each day for at least 2-3 months helps to understand the disease.

PMS is a chronic female disorder that is clinically recognized and is capable of impairing relationships, work productivity, and social activities. There are many changes in mood along with physical symptoms relating to the menstrual cycle which significantly affects the quality of life.

Treatment/Management –
Treatment that is mostly preferred is serotonin inhibitors, which work as mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. These inhibitors boost the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and improve premenstrual symptoms.

Mild to moderate symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome can be relieved by slight changes in diet and lifestyle.

Eating small meals with complex carbohydrates, avoiding excessive caffeine intake, and refined sugar, and avoiding alcohol are helpful in living a healthy life.  Lifestyle changes involve a bit of exercise and practicing YOGA, as it develops self-awareness and discipline. (11)

“You cannot always control what goes on outside but can always control what goes on inside.”

According to the book, “YOGA for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle”, yoga practice helps by releasing endorphins, the mood-elevating compounds of the body.

It also boosts blood circulation to reproductive organs, eases stress, and encourages deep relaxation. (6)

“With Yoga not only your body should become flexible, your mind and above all your consciousness will become flexible.”   –  Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Yoga itself is a divine practice with the ability to balance the different systems of the body, mainly the endocrine system. It also regulates neurotransmitters and balances metabolism. (7)

Discussion & Conclusion:
Premenstrual syndrome is something every woman deals with in their reproductive phase of life. Premenstrual syndrome is a physiological disorder, that deals with various different physical and mental symptoms which may vary from woman to woman. There is various factor that causes PMS including stress, psychological state, and poor physical health.

There are various studies and articles which confirm the effect of YOGA on PMS. According to the Journal of Alternative and complementary medicine, YOGA may provide relief from common menstrual complaints. (9)

A similar article was published by the International Journal of environmental research and public health; Effect of YOGA exercises on PMS among Female employees also revealed that yoga not only relieves the symptoms but also increases mind and body stability. Regular practice of YOGA exercises along with a healthy diet and lifestyle has been shown to reduce symptoms of PMS. (10)

YOGA is a Holistic approach that not only reduces pain, and cramps but also eases emotional symptoms and leads to the divine connection between mind and body.

It is not about being good at something. It’s about being good to yourself, It’s all about healing ourselves and getting stronger!!


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  9. Tsai SY. Effect of Yoga Exercise on Premenstrual Symptoms among Female Employees in Taiwan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 Jul 2016, 13(7): E721
  10. Jolanda. Premenstrual Syndrome- Relief PMS symptoms with YOGA.

Download the full paper with Yoga Positions 

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