A woman treats her PMS

PMS Treatments

More than 80% of women are estimated to deal with at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Although the emotional tension of PMS is widely discussed, physical symptoms are also a large part of this condition. Aches and pains, sleeplessness, gastrointestinal upset, acne, depression, anxiety, and mood swings may be present; although this is a far from exhaustive list. While there is no cure for PMS, it is possible to manage it through lifestyle changes, but the help of prescription medications may be useful and sometimes necessary. 


Tailoring your diet to ease PMS can be accomplished fairly simply. Avoid salty foods, which can induce bloating that may already be present. Small meals eaten more frequently throughout the day may also help. Avoid alcohol, as well as caffeine, which stimulates muscle contractions, making cramps worse, as well as increasing anxious feelings by speeding up the heart rate.

Getting plenty of fruits and vegetables can alleviate gastrointestinal issues due to their fiber content, as well as providing the body with essential nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E that may alleviate symptoms. Insufficient calcium may also play a factor; diets with too little naturally achieved calcium may benefit from a calcium supplement. 


Exercise also seems to provide significant benefits for those who suffer from PMS. A half an hour of moderate activity not only improves health overall, but may release particular hormones and chemicals (such as serotonin) that alleviate mental symptoms. Practice stress reduction techniques, such as mediation or yoga, which combines the relaxation of meditation with the benefits of exercise. Activity and stress control may also help improve sleep, which is itself a protection against PMS. Since PMS generally begins after ovulation but before the first day of the next menstrual cycle, even if you don’t exercise regularly all the time, it may be helpful to institute a workout regimen halfway between cycles.  


An over the counter anti-inflammatory like naproxen or ibuprofen may help ease the aches, pains, and cramps associated with PMS. Many doctors prescribe birth control for women who have trouble managing the symptoms of PMS; by temporarily stopping ovulation, symptoms often disappear. However, oral contraceptives can themselves cause of the symptoms they are intended to stop. Some women also benefit from the use of an antidepressant. For some, it may be taken daily, while others will find it sufficient to utilize the medication for two weeks before their period starts. Diuretics, which encourage fluid release, may also help with more extreme cases of bloating or weight gain. On the whole, every woman is different, every woman’s case of PMS is different, and every woman may find relief in different ways.

Last Updated: January 13, 2017