Treating PMS May Be Vital to Your Well-Being
PMS Treatment: What Works
The first step to finding out if you need PMS treatment — whether for emotional or physical symptoms — is keeping a log of your symptoms, from the obvious physical ones to the sometimes less obvious emotional ones. Do this for at least two months so your doctor can get a clear picture of the pattern of symptoms you’re experiencing.
There are many treatment options available for PMS. Some require a prescription, others don’t. For best results, discuss all the options you’re considering with your doctor:
- Antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. For some women, especially those with PMDD, taking the right medication for a few days each month can counter the chemical changes that lead to severe PMS mood swings and depression. One recent study from the University of Pennsylvania found that two-thirds of women given an antidepressant saw a 50 percent improvement in both physical and psychological PMS symptoms.
- Calcium. Taking 600 milligrams twice a day has been shown to reduce PMS symptoms.
- Chasteberry. This herb has been shown to play a role in the successful treatment of PMS symptoms. It is taken as a dietary supplement.
- Cognitive therapy. This style of therapy, focused on talking about and understanding the symptoms you’re facing, has been shown to be an effective PMS treatment.
- Exercise. Any type of exercise you enjoy, from running to yoga to dance, can help ease moodiness and symptoms of depression.
- Fatty acid. A study published in the journal Reproductive Health found that women who took capsules containing a blend of three essential fatty acids experienced fewer symptoms of PMS than other women. Fatty acids are found in eggs, nuts, vegetable oils, and fish.
- Including fish oil supplements in your daily diet can be part of a good PMS treatment plan.
- Folic acid. Getting enough B vitamins, especially folic acid, may ease some PMS symptoms.
- Healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is an important part of keeping PMS symptoms in control.
- Hormone-based contraceptives. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, consider taking birth control pills that suppress ovulation as part of your PMS treatment plan. This helps alleviate premenstrual woes for many women.
- Sleep. In one small study, two out of three women with abnormal sleep patterns, particularly those who stayed awake very late and slept through the morning, reported increased PMS symptoms, including mood swings. If you’re suffering from sleep disturbances that are not relieved by bedtime changes talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
- Soy. Including soy products such as tofu or soybeans in your diet has been shown to help ease PMS symptoms for some women.
- Support groups. There is some evidence to suggest that joining a group of women in making PMS-fighting diet and exercise changes can enhance the other PMS treatments you’re using.
PMS Treatment: What Doesn’t Work
To ease PMS symptoms, experts suggest cutting back on:
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
With so many options available for PMS treatment, by working with your doctor, you should be able to find a combination that lessens or even eliminates troubling physical and emotional symptoms.
Article By: Madeline R. Vann, MPH