My daughter just turned 11, and while she hasn’t started her period yet, she has learned about it from friends. Frankly, she was a little horrified by the description, and I don’t blame her.
Getting your period is supposed to be a sacred rite of passage, but the monthly reality of it just sucks. Congrats, you’ll get to enjoy bloating, cramps, irritability, and headaches every month for the next 30–40 years!
I struggled with horribly painful periods in my teens, relying heavily on over-the-counter meds like Pamprin. The pills barely managed the pain, and then it all hit me again just as hard the next month.
So how do you stop the cycle of discomfort? I want my daughter to have a more pain-free experience, and the more I can help her prevent PMS, the better.
To regulate your cycle, you have to get your hormones under control. Lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and exercise can have a big impact. Another factor is controlling stress, which then brings down the cortisol levels that keep our body in constant fight-or-flight mode.
One of my favorite stress reducers? Essential oils. And not only do essential oils positively affect our moods [source], but they can also help relieve the physical symptoms of PMS, like cramps and bloating.
Here are 5 essential oils to help you support a healthy menstrual cycle and tackle the pain of PMS:
5 Essential Oils for PMS + Cramps
1. Clary sage
Clary sage oil* is a must if you struggle with PMS. It does a little bit of everything, helping to treat both the physical and emotional symptoms. A deeply relaxing oil, clary sage lifts mood and reduces stress levels [source]. It also acts as an antispasmodic to relax muscles and ease menstrual pain [source].
To use as a PMS remedy, add 10 drops of clary sage essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil. Rub the oil into the lower abdomen, and cover with a warm compress for 2–5 minutes. Or stir the oil into a cup of Epsom salt, and add to a warm bath (do not add essential oils directly to the bath water).
You can also make an aromatherapy roll-on, and apply the oil daily. Aromatherapy with essential oils has been shown in studies to relieve menstrual pain [source]. But there are various ways to use the oils, like with massage or in packs placed over the area. Applying to the inside of the ankles has helped some women [source].
Clary sage has been associated with an increase in the levels of a hormone that causes uterine contractions [source], so consult your physician before using this oil if you are pregnant—although you probably wouldn’t be PMS-ing much then anyway!
PMS Bath Blend
- 4 drops bergamot FCF
- 4 drops clary sage*
- 2 drops geranium
- 1 drop ylang ylang
- 1 tablespoon almond oil
First, combine essential oils with the almond carrier oil and mix well. Then add to a warm bath. Soak for 15–30 minutes.
*Caution: consult your physician before using this oil if you are pregnant.
When in doubt, reach for lavender. The oil is a mood-stabilizing [source], pain-relieving [source], and sleep-inducing wonder. It has been shown to relieve menstrual cramps when inhaled [source], safely and without side effects [source].
It can ease headaches and stress. Add lavender to a bath or keep these baking soda-based aromatherapy bath bombs on hand for when you need to chill.
Sometimes referred to as the “woman’s oil,” geranium is a commonly used remedy to regulate hormone levels and relieve PMS symptoms. The essential oil is a known anti-inflammatory [source], which works to reduce cramps and is a diuretic to help eliminate bloating.
Inhaling geranium’s floral scent is calming and uplifting, and has effects on both mild depression and stress [source]. Enjoy the scent with a PMS-soothing gel air freshener.
Cypress oil is a favorite for easing those annoying menstrual cramps. This warming oil improves circulation, soothes body aches and inflammation [source], and relaxes muscle and joint pain.
Cypress has also been used as an astringent [source] that helps flush out toxins and water retention. Use cypress in a hot compress, bath, massage blend, or as an aromatherapy roll-on for PMS relief.
Bloat Banishing Blend
- 4 drops cypress
- 4 drops grapefruit
- 2 drops fennel
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Combine essential oils with the grapeseed carrier oil. Mix well. Massage the formula into targeted areas.
Often thought of as an aphrodisiac, rose essential oil definitely has a connection to women’s reproductive health. Rose has a toning effect on the uterus that can ease heavy periods and regulate menstrual flow.
When used as aromatherapy, it has been shown to help relieve the pain of labor [source]. Along with soothing physical PMS symptoms [source] and cramps [source], rose is a calming, soothing scent to turn to when PMS irritability and anger strike [source].
It relaxes blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, along with many of the other physical and emotional signs of stress [source].
- 4 drops lavender
- 2 drops clary sage
- 2 drops rose
- 2 teaspoons almond oil
Combine essential oils with the almond carrier oil. Mix well. Massage into the abdominal area.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D., a university-trained obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.694
My teen (has had cycles for 4 years now) has very heavy and irregular periods. Her doctor's recommend birth control but we would like to try non birth control options first. When should she apply some of these blends…every day or just during her period?
These are some really great tips! Especially the one about lavender essential oil!
I have been using a lot of lavender recently for scarring but I will definitely have to keep in mind its pain relieving qualities for when I next need it!
Vicky Ip says
Can you use another carrier oil if you don’t have almond oil, can you substitute with fractionated coconut oil?
Yes, fractionated coconut oil will be just fine, almost all carriers should work for it. I would only caution against light cooking oils since those aren’t healthy and jojoba can stiffen in the cold. Otherwise, coconut is wonderful if it doesn’t irritate your skin