What can I do to help with my PMS long-term?
The list above includes strategies which may help to relieve the immediate symptoms or onset of PMS. However, there are several long term steps you can take to help relieve and reduce the symptoms of PMS, including:
Diet – maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can help to control the symptoms associated with PMS. Beneficial foods may include:
Complex carbohydrates – such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains are good for your digestion as they also contain a lot of fibre. Eating plenty of these foods as well as eating smaller meals more frequently can reduce bloating.
Water intake – It is good to drink plenty of water to reduce dehydration which can make headaches and tiredness more severe.
Reducing salt intake – this is also a good way to limit bloating and 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 – as these can lower your mood.
Exercise – as with the immediate benefit on PMS symptoms, exercise is an important aspect of everyday life as it can improve your overall health. It also helps to improve low mood. Advice is to do 30 minutes of moderate-intense exercise each day.
There are also other benefits associated with regular exercise such as:
- lower risk of heart disease
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.
- helps to alleviate stress
Quitting Smoking – smoking can worsen PMS symptoms, and so stopping can help.
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 several different options may have to be tried before finding the best one to suit you.
Medications which can help with PMS include:
- Combined oral contraceptive pill helps relieve symptoms such as:
- Selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Can relieve:
- Gonadotrophin-releasing hormones (GnRH)
- Reduces oestrogen and progesterone levels
- Induces a temporary menopause, so stops PMS
- Vitamin and mineral supplements
- a high intake of calcium and vitamin D can reduce symptoms
- milk consumption can lower the PMS risk
- calcium protects against osteoporosis