How to relieve premenstrual syndrome
There are a few lifestyle changes you can make that are thought to help ease the symptoms of PMS. These include:
- Changes to your diet: Regular small meals containing low sugar, wholegrain carbohydrates like wholemeal bread and porridge
- Reducing salt intake: May help with bloating and tender breasts
- Limiting caffeine: This may also improve breast pain
- Regular exercise: try to get in at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise per week
- Quitting smoking - PMS has been shown to be worse in smokers
Some people take vitamins and herbal supplements to help them with symptoms but more research is needed to prove their efficacy. Always seek your GP’s advice if you are considering using a supplement.
You can treat specific symptoms of PMS with over the counter remedies. Painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol may help with any hormonal headaches and backache; ask a pharmacist for advice about which product is suitable for you.
If your symptoms don’t seem to be getting any better or they are starting to affect your life negatively, your GP may prescribe something to help. Options include:
- The combined contraceptive pill will stop ovulation, which stabilises your hormone levels and may help reduce your symptoms.
- Antidepressant drugs can help with the mood/emotional side of PMS and are also thought to be useful in reducing physical symptoms in some people.
One of the most effective ways to cope with PMS is to be aware of any patterns and keep track of your cycle. If you can anticipate symptoms, know when they start, how long they usually last and what relieves them, you’re in a much better position to deal with them when they happen.