How to Manage Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms

If you’re dealing with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms, you’re not alone. Many individuals experience discomfort or emotional changes a week or two before their period. As a family doctor, I, Dr. Natalia Hapych, can reassure you that there are several ways to manage these symptoms. Here are some strategies that you can employ.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Incorporating certain foods into your diet and avoiding others may help alleviate PMS symptoms. Here’s what you should do:

  • Increase Calcium and Vitamin D: Foods high in calcium and Vitamin D, like dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods, may help in reducing PMS symptoms.
  • Limit Salt, Sugar, and Caffeine: Try to limit your intake of salt, which can lead to bloating, and avoid excess sugar and caffeine, which can affect your mood and energy levels.
  • Eat Regular, Balanced Meals: Avoid skipping meals to maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent mood swings.

2. Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity can help ease PMS symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and mood swings. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking, jogging, biking, or yoga most days of the week.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Adequate sleep can alleviate fatigue and mood changes associated with PMS. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and also establish a regular sleep schedule.

4. Practice Stress Management Techniques

Stress can exacerbate PMS symptoms. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and massage can help manage stress levels.

5. Over-the-Counter Medication

Over-the-counter medications like pain relievers can help manage physical PMS symptoms such as headaches, breast tenderness, and cramping. Some diuretics (water pills) can help with bloating and water retention.

6. Prescription Medication

If your PMS symptoms are severe and impacting your quality of life. In that case, your healthcare provider may prescribe certain medications, including hormonal birth control, which can help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate PMS symptoms.

7. Psychological Therapy

Therapy or counseling may be beneficial if you’re experiencing severe mood swings, depression, or anxiety associated with PMS.

Always remember, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider if your PMS symptoms are severe or significantly impacting your quality of life. There are many treatment options available, and together, you and your healthcare provider can create a management plan that’s right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to experience severe PMS symptoms?

While mild to moderate PMS symptoms are common, severe symptoms are not. If your PMS symptoms are severe enough to disrupt your daily life, it’s important to seek medical advice. Conditions like Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS, require medical treatment. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you’re unsure about your symptoms.

Can changes in lifestyle and diet completely cure PMS?

While lifestyle and dietary changes can significantly help in managing PMS symptoms, they might not completely eliminate them for everyone. The effectiveness of these methods can vary based on the individual’s body and the severity of their PMS. In cases where symptoms persist despite these changes, it may be necessary to consult with a doctor for further management strategies, including medication.

Are there risks associated with taking birth control pills for managing PMS symptoms?

While birth control pills can help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate PMS symptoms, they do come with potential risks and side effects. These can include slight increases in the risk of certain conditions, like blood clots and certain types of cancer. However, they also provide benefits such as reducing the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.

Further Reading: 10 Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) You Should Know

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