What are some common symptoms of PMS?
Emotional symptoms include the following:
- Angry outbursts
- Crying spells
- Social withdrawal
- Poor concentration
- Increased nap taking
- Changes in sexual desire
Physical symptoms include the following:
- Thirst and appetite changes (food cravings)
- Breast tenderness
- Bloating and weight gain
- Swelling of the hands or feet
- Aches and pains
- Skin problems
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Abdominal pain
Can PMS make other conditions worse?
In addition to depression and anxiety, symptoms of other disorders can get worse right before your period. Examples include seizure disorders, migraines, asthma, and allergies.
What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder?
If PMS symptoms are severe and cause problems with work or personal relationships, you may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a severe type of PMS that affects a small percentage of women. Drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help treat PMDD in some women. These drugs are used to treat depression.
Can exercise help lessen PMS symptoms?
For many women, regular aerobic exercise lessens PMS symptoms. It may reduce fatigue and depression. Aerobic exercise, which includes brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming, increases your heart rate and lung function. Exercise regularly, not just during the days that you have symptoms. A good goal is at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
What dietary changes can be made to help relieve PMS symptoms?
Simple changes in your diet may help relieve the symptoms of PMS:
- Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates. A complex carbohydrate-rich diet may reduce mood symptoms and food cravings. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods made with whole grains, like whole wheat bread, pasta, and cereals. Other examples are barley, brown rice, beans, and lentils.
- Add calcium-rich foods, like yogurt and leafy green vegetables, to your diet.
- Reduce your intake of fat, salt, and sugar.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Change your eating schedule. Eat six small meals a day rather than three large ones, or eat slightly less at your three meals and add three light snacks. Keeping your blood sugar level stable will help with symptoms.
What medications reduce PMS symptoms?
Drugs that prevent ovulation, such as hormonal contraceptives, may lessen physical symptoms. However, not all may relieve the mood symptoms of PMS. It may be necessary to try more than one of these medications before finding one that works.
Antidepressants can be helpful in treating PMS in some women. These drugs can help lessen mood symptoms. They can be used 2 weeks before the onset of symptoms or throughout the menstrual cycle. There are many kinds of antidepressants. If one does not work for you, your health care provider may prescribe another.
If anxiety is a major PMS symptom for you, an anti-anxiety drug can be tried if other treatments do not seem to help. These drugs are taken as needed when you have symptoms.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain. Talk with your health care provider before taking NSAIDs. Long-term use of NSAIDs may cause stomach bleeding or ulcers.
Diuretics (“water pills”) are drugs that help reduce fluid buildup. Your health care provider can prescribe a diuretic if water retention is a major symptom for you. Tell your health care provider what other drugs you are taking, especially NSAIDs. Using NSAIDs and diuretics at the same time may cause kidney problems.