10 Ways to Reduce PMS
1. While not every woman gets premenstrual syndrome—the cramping, bloating,
and general crabbiness that can strike around period time—about 85% of
women report having at least one symptom each month.
though there’s no real "cure" for PMS, many treatments and lifestyle
changes are available to help you cut down on the discomfort. Read on to
find out how.
2. Improve your diet
A salt-heavy diet can cause bloating, caffeine can aggravate
irritability or anxiety, alcohol may worsen depression, and too much
sugar can destabilize your blood sugar and mood.
Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains the week before your period.
it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat. Aim to eat at regular
intervals to avoid dips and spikes in blood sugar, says Joanne
Piscitelli, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and
gynecology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
"It is worth
changing your diet habits before moving on to medical therapies, because
you are less likely to have side effects," she says.
3. Exercise more
Exercise can fight both physical and emotional PMS symptoms, says Dr. Piscitelli.
"Even though women say they don’t have energy, this is probably when it is most important to exercise," she says.
Pick an exercise routine that gets your heart rate up and that you enjoy. For PMS, The National Women’s Health Information Center
recommends two and a half hours of moderately intense activity, one
hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of
the two each week, plus two muscle-strengthening sessions.
4. Try vitamins
Vitamins may be beneficial for PMS, particularly B6 and E, says Petra
Casey, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
There’s not much hard evidence to prove that these supplements work. Still, they are worth trying.
Here are some suggested daily doses from the Mayo Clinic:
• Calcium: 1,200 milligrams
• Magnesium: 400 mg.
• Vitamin B6: 50 to 100 mg.
• Vitamin E: 400 international units (IU)
5. Check out herbal remedies
Herbal remedies are understudied (and unregulated when compared to
prescription drugs), but there are some that may be effective in
relieving PMS symptoms like cramping and mood swings.
consider using black cohosh, chasteberry, evening primrose oil, ginger,
raspberry leaf, dandelion, or natural progesterone creams.
ob/gyn may be up-to-date on the best research regarding supplements; see
if he or she has advice on which ones you can take and when.
6.Focus on your stress
First of all, it is important that you get adequate rest and plenty
of sleep. Try to get as much sleep as you think you need so that sleep
deprivation doesn’t ratchet up symptoms.
Then make a conscious
effort to reduce your stress level. You can try deep breathing, massage,
meditation, or yoga, which can soothe the mind and body.
skip the meditation if you know your best stress buster is a girls’
night out or writing in your journal. Find what works for you and stick
7. Take pain relievers
For women who have PMS-related pain such as cramping, breast
tenderness, backaches, or headaches, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain
relievers (NSAIDs) can provide some relief.
These include ibuprofen (Advil and similar drugs) and naproxen (Aleve).
Or you can try over-the-counter remedies specifically aimed at PMS like
Pamprin and Midol. These often combine some sort of pain reliever with
8.Consider birth control
If you’re not already using a form of birth control that you’re happy
with, you might consider trying low-dose oral contraceptives, which may
reduce PMS symptoms.
The medications work to even out hormones over the course of a woman’s cycle. Dr. Piscitelli says.
Some women use them continuously instead of in the typical cycle to
avoid getting their period, which can also reduce PMS symptoms, though
it can lead to breakthrough bleeding.
9. Ask your doctor about antidepressants
Antidepressants aren’t the first choice for PMS-related mood
problems. Still, they are an option if symptoms are severe and affecting
your daily life (and nothing else is helping).
serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft and Prozac are often
prescribed, says Dr. Piscitelli. They can be taken just for a week or
two before your period or all of the time.
PMS can also
aggravate underlying depression. Some women may think depression is
cyclic and mistakenly attribute it to PMS, but they don’t realize it
doesn’t really follow the patterns of their periods until they track it,
says Dr. Piscitelli. Treating the underlying depression can help PMS
symptoms, she adds.
10. Look into diuretics
Many women experience bloating in their hands, feet, face, or stomach
with PMS. One way to combat this—if exercise and cutting back on salt
don’t work—is a diuretic.
These prescription drugs help the body get rid of excess water by boosting urine output.
commonly prescribed diuretic is spironolactone (Aldactone). But
diuretics aren’t for everyone. They can exacerbate urinary incontinence,
constipation, lower blood pressure, raise potassium levels, and
interact with other medications.