By Tracee Cornforth, About.com Guide
Updated May 20, 2011
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects most women to some extent at some time during their reproductive years. Symptoms can range from mild fluid retention to severe mood swings and/ or depression.
1. The most severe form of PMS is called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). An FDA-approved treatment for PMDD is Serafem. Serafem is a renamed and chemically equivalent version of Prozac.
Women who want to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of PMS, but who prefer not to take Serafem, can try some of these other methods which have proved helpful to many women:
2. Research has proven that you can reduce up to almost half of all symptoms (including mood swings, depression, and menstrual cramps) of PMS by simply consuming 1200 mg of calcium daily. Calcium is an important nutrient for women of all ages for the prevention of osteoporosis in later life.
3. One of the best ways to reduce PMS is through regular exercise. Not only does exercise reduce, or sometimes eliminate premenstrual syndrome, it also is an excellent way to reduce stress and lower your risk of diseases including heart disease and cancer. Learn how to make exercise fun.
4. Women who experience premenstrual breast tenderness can reduce or eliminate this symptom by taking 600 IU of Vitamin E daily. Vitamin E also appears to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, and offer other health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic.
5. Dietary changes that may help reduce the symptoms of PMS include following a low-fat vegetarian diet, and/ or reducing your intake of refined sugar, salt, red meat, alcohol, and caffeine. Increasing your consumption of complex carbohydrates, leafy green vegetables, fruit, cereals and whole grains is also helpful for many women.
6. Women who crave sugar during the days they experience premenstrual symptoms often find relief by supplementing their diet with 300 to 500 mg of magnesium. Magnesium also may help reduce breast tenderness.
7. Some women experience a decrease in symptoms by taking 50 to 300 mg of Vitamin B6 daily. Care should be taken not to overdose on Vitamin B6 as side effects such as numbness can occur when too much of this nutrient is consumed.
8. Alternative treatments that may be helpful include taking about 1500 mg of Primrose oil daily, or using natural progesterone cream (amount varies by product).
9. Some women are able to control the symptoms of PMS by using oral contraceptives; however it's important to weigh the pros and cons of hormonal treatment since the side effects are sometimes more bothersome than the original symptoms.Learn more about the non-contraceptive benefits of oral contraceptives.
10. Over-the-counter treatments that may help include ibuprofen, naproxen, and other drugs specifically made for relieving premenstrual symptoms such as Midol. Aspirin may not be a good choice for women during menstruation because of its potential to increase the length and severity of menstrual bleeding.
Ease PMS Symptoms. Healthywomen.gov. http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/birth-control-pills. Accessed 05/20/2011.