Tackling PMS

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 20, 2012

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Tackling PMSPre-Menstrual Syndrome is caused by the fluctuating levels of hormones, including estrogen and progesterone that occur in preparation for menstruation, during the two weeks prior to it, around the time of ovulation.

During this phase women suffer from various symptoms like irritability, mood swings, swelling and pain of abdomen/breasts, restlessness, tension, depression, anxiety, decreased concentration and forgetfulness.

Since this is a syndrome that affects women of childbearing age, it can happen anytime between one’s 20s till 40s – and the symptoms get worse with age. For such women then, dealing with day-to-day life can become tedious, and adversely affect their work-life, household chores and especially their partners!

PMS is an actual medical condition, and thus there are ways to reduce the symptoms, if not cure them completely.


Studies on exercise and PMS symptom relief have found that 110 minutes/week of swimming, 70 minutes/week of aerobic dance, or 50 minutes/week of jogging contribute to symptom improvement.

It has also been proven that aerobics is the most effective of all exercises in reducing such symptoms. Therefore, when your body sends a message that it is that time of the month again, you now know what to do.




Cutting back on alcohol, caffeine and salt is usually recommended for lessening the effects of PMS symptoms. And for regular smokers, this is one time when one might want to temporarily quit, if not permanently.

Studies have proven that PMSing women crave carbohydrates and increased carbohydrate intake causes increased release of serotonin, which prompts feelings of improved mood.

However, simple sugars make the body produce excess insulin, so one should have more of complex carbohydrates. For instance, whole grain breads, whole wheat bagel, lentils and low fat cheese can be consumed instead of white bread or chocolate truffle!


Keeping a menstrual diary


Recording the monthly menstrual cycle dates can prepare a woman to deal with her symptoms emotionally. It can also assist in planning ahead for, preventing or reducing, and coping better with such symptoms.


Medication and therapy


Women with severe PMS symptoms can suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), though it is rare. In such cases, calcium, vitamin and magnesium supplements are recommended.

Birth control pills (estrogen-progestin) are widely prescribed for PMS, however recent research has shown that birth control pills are not consistently effective for PMS. Although they may improve certain symptoms for some women, other women report that they have worse symptoms or they develop mood problems.

Estrogen alone may offer some benefit for some women, but when taken without progestin, it increases the risk of uterine cancer. Therefore, if any medication is to be resorted to, it is always advisable to consult your doctor than purchasing over-the-counter pills.

Massage therapy and bright light therapy have also proven to be very effective in lessening PMS effects.

PMS is thus a trying time for women, and it can be as difficult for people around them, especially their partners or spouses. Communication between partners is essential regarding this matter, so as to make the other person understand that the terrible mood swings and irritability are not whims on their part – they are hormonally induced and thus uncontrollable.

PMS is a biological process, and hence must be dealt with as naturally as possible without resorting to anti-depressants and the likes. To look at it from a bright side, such a syndrome is what makes a woman unique from men – her monthly cycle and consequently her power to create life.



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