Woman suffers from abdominal cramps before her period - This can be a result of magnesium deficiency. Woman suffers from abdominal cramps before her period - This can be a result of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency as possible cause of pain before periods

Many women experience mood changes just before their period, but they also suffer from other problems such as stomach pain or headaches. The medical term for this is pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). It’s still not clear precisely what causes these distressing symptoms. It’s likely to be affected by female sex hormones, but a lack of magnesium could possibly be another reason for these pre-menstrual symptoms.

Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) – a common female complaint

PMS is actually a combination of mental and physical symptoms that often start shortly after ovulation and only end when menstruation begins. Here are a few examples of typical symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Feeling of tension in the chest
  • Headache
  • Water retention in legs and abdomen
  • Increased irritability

Around 20 to 40 percent of women report that they occasionally experience pre-menstrual symptoms such as these, though they can also vary from individual to individual. In around five percent of cases they are so severe that they require medical treatment.1

PMS sufferers shown to have inadequate supplies of magnesium

Medics are still not certain what causes PMS. One possible explanation is the roller-coaster ride taken by hormones during the female menstrual cycle. Women mostly start to suffer from these unpleasant symptoms ten to fourteen days before menstrual bleeding starts.

Lower levels of magnesium have also been detected in the red blood cells of women who suffer these symptoms before their period month after month.2

So, the causes of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are complex, to say the least. It’s likely that a number of different factors cause these symptoms before periods. As well as low levels of magnesium, stress, lack of exercise, nicotine and alcohol consumption and a genetic predisposition may also be involved, for example.

Pain before your period? Magnesium and other treatment options

Maintaining an adequate magnesium intake can help to alleviate the typical symptoms of PMS. That’s because the uterus, just like any muscle, needs adequate levels of magnesium to function properly. One of the functions of magnesium is to relax the muscles in the uterus, which can help prevent stomach pain before and during periods.

The German Nutrition Society recommends that women aged 25 and over take around 300 mg a day and young women aged between 15 and 25 should even take 310 to 350 mg.3 Ensuring you have a diet that is rich in magnesium is an important part of achieving this. But magnesium products can also help you to get your daily magnesium requirement and prevent a deficiency.

Apart from ensuring an adequate supply of magnesium, the treatment varies according to the specific PMS symptoms. For severe stomach ache, for example, analgesics may be taken. Stress can also be the cause of inadequate magnesium supply, and relaxation techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi or autogenic training are good for helping you cope with stress. Just try them out until you find the technique that works for you. Sports activities often help with symptoms, too. Regular exercise helps you with muscle cramps and stimulates circulation.

Important: consult your doctor quickly at the first signs

You must consult a doctor if your symptoms are severe. He will be able to rule out other causes and prescribe suitable treatment.

1 https://www.tk.de/techniker/service/gesundheit-und-medizin/behandlungen-und-medizin/gynaekologische-und-urologische-erkrankungen/was-versteht-man-unter-dem-praemenstruellen-syndrom-pms-2017314
2 Sherwood RA. et al., Magnesium and the premenstrual syndrome ,Annals of Clinical Biochemistry : An international journal of biochemistry in medicine (1986) 23 (6) : 667-670
3 https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referenzwerte/magnesium/