Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Home Remedies

Overview

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refer to a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the one to two weeks before women’s period. The symptoms of PMS can be so severe that some women cannot go to work or school as usual.

Severe PMS symptoms may be a sign of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which affects 3%-8% pre-menopausal women. PMS stops after menopause when you no longer get a period. Up to 80% of women report having some symptoms before their periods.

Causes & Risk Factors

The exact cause of PMS is still unknown currently. According to the researchers, PMS may be related to hormone levels. Other related factors may include:

  • Chemical changes in the brain. Fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that’s thought to play a crucial role in mood states, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may cause premenstrual depression, as well as fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.
  • Depression.
  • Under a lot of stress.

Symptoms

Some people may just have mild symptoms, while others may be worse. PMS symptoms may get worse as you approach menopause and are in the transition to menopause (called perimenopause), especially for women who are sensitive to hormone levels change.

The symptoms of PMS can be divided into physical symptoms and emotional symptoms.

Physical symptoms

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst and appetite changes
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating or a gassy feeling
  • Cramps
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Acne
  • Weight gain

Emotional symptoms

  • Tension or anxiety
  • Poor concentration
  • Depressed
  • Crying
  • Mood swings
  • Can’t sleep
  • Don’t want to be with people
  • Irritability
  • Less interests in sex

Diagnosis

There are no physical findings or lab tests to diagnose PMS. Doctors may need you record your period dates, symptoms and their dates for at least two menstrual cycles. A woman’s symptoms of PMS must:

  • Happen in the 5 days before her period for at least three menstrual cycles in a row
  • End within 4 days after her period starts
  • Interfere with some of her normal activities

Treatment

For mild symptoms, lifestyle changes or diet are enough to relieve them. For severe symptoms, doctors may recommend you following medications.

Antidepressants.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), sertraline (Zoloft), can be successful in relieving mood symptoms. SSRIs are the first line treatment for severe PMS or PMDD.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

This kind of medications can be taken before or at the onset of your period. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can relieve cramping and breast discomfort.

Diuretics

Diuretics (water pills) can help your body shed excess fluid through your kidneys and relieve symptoms of bloating and breast tenderness. Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a diuretic that can be helpful to PMS.

Hormonal contraceptives

These prescription medications can stop ovulation, which may relieve PMS symptoms.

Complications

PMS may lead to some conditions, including:

  • Depression and anxiety disorders
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)

Home Remedies

Some tips can relieve the symptoms of PMS efficiently.

  • Have regular exercise
  • Have enough sleep
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as wheat bread, pasta, and cereals
  • Eat calcium-rich foods, like yogurt and leafy green vegetables
  • Reduce the intake of fat, salt, and sugar
  • Avoid drinking coffee and alcohol
  • Reduce stress and learn to relax

Please consult your doctors before you take any medicine.

Keywords: premenstrual syndrome; PMS.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.