Reducing salt intake – this is also a good way to limit bloating but also prevent fluid retention.
Calcium – during bouts of PMS it is common to experience feelings of low mood. In this instance it can be beneficial to eat calcium rich foods, which can also help relieve the physical symptoms too. Studies have shown calcium to be an effective treatment for PMS. Furthermore, it can also reduce the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis which can develop later in life with the menopause.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol – you should also try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can also have an adverse effect on your mood.
Exercise – this is an important aspect of everyday life as it can improve your complete health. Generally, exercise can ease the symptoms of depression and boost your overall mood. You should aim to do 30 minutes of moderate-intense exercise each day. Types of moderate-intense activities may include:
However, exercise may also include everyday activities such walking to work/school, taking the stairs instead of the lift or even hoovering the house.
There are also other benefits associated with regular exercise such as:
- Lowers risk of heart disease
- Helps to alleviate stress
- Can be good for your social life/mental well-being
Moderate exercise such as yoga and pilates can also be good ways to combat the symptoms of stress, low mood and can help you to get a better nights sleep.
Quitting Smoking – smoking can exacerbate PMS symptoms. Therefore, if you are a smoker it would be beneficial to stop smoking.
Medication – if you suffer from severe PMS or PMDD medical treatment may be a viable option. However, there is no single medication which is suitable for everyone and so you may have to try several different options before finding the best one to suit you. PMS medication can include:
- Combined oral contraceptive pill – to relieve symptoms such as:
- Selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – possibly the most effective treatment for severe PMS. Can relieve:
- SSRIs are antidepressants so may improve mood and relieve depression and anxiety, both generally and related to your PMS
- Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
- Reduces oestrogen and progesterone levels
- Induces a temporary menopause, so it stops PMS
- Vitamin and mineral supplements
Supplements – supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium may be effective in reducing the symptoms of PMS. Studies have shown that having a high intake of calcium and vitamin D can be effective in reducing the severity of the symptoms. Furthermore, a high consumption of milk, due to its calcium content, can lower the risk of PMS. Calcium is also thought to be protective against the development of osteoporosis in later life.
However, there are many cases where complementary medicines have not been trialled and so have yet to be proven effective. For this reason, it is important to consult your doctor before taking supplements. In some cases, complementary medicines may interact adversely with other medications.