Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) cannot be cured, but with the currently available treatment the symptoms can be controlled in most women so that they do not interfere with daily life.
Treatment of PMS includes
Diet and lifestyle changes
These are often preferred in women with mild symptoms as many of the medical treatments may cause side-effects. Dietary changes that can help to improve PMS include eating healthy and balanced diet, which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products. Besides this, avoid foods with high salt content. Exercising regularly for about 30 minutes on most days of a week can help reduce the PMS symptoms. Any exercise, such as walking, swimming and cycling is considered good.
Many medications are used for the treatment of PMS. Some of the commonly prescribed medications include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These are basically antidepressants that have been shown to be successful in improving symptoms, such as fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems in women with severe PMS or PMDD. They are considered as the first line of treatment and may be prescribed to be taken daily or just for two weeks before menstruation begins.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These are given to provide relief from cramping and breast discomfort before or at the onset of period.
Diuretics: If exercise and limiting salt intake, weight gain, swelling and bloating of PMS do not improve, your doctor may prescribe water pills (diuretics). These pills help to remove excess fluid from the body through the kidneys.
Oral contraceptives: They inhibit ovulation and stabilise hormonal changes that help to improve PMS symptoms.
Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera): In women with severe PMS or PMDD, this injection stops ovulation and controls the symptoms of PMS. Some women may experience an increase in some of the same signs and symptoms of PMS.
No one medication has been shown to be helpful in all women with PMS. The success of each medication in providing relief from PMS symptoms is variable from woman to woman.
Many women benefit from taking non-prescribed alternative treatments and supplements for PMS. Some complementary therapies that may improve symptoms of PMS are vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, but before starting any complementary therapy, consult your doctor.
Women with bothersome psychological symptoms, such as feeling depressed or emotional, may benefit from treatment by a mental health specialist. The doctor may recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to deal with problems, such as anxiety and depression.
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