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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Many women have a range of symptoms associated with their monthly periods, including:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Tender breasts
  • Headache and fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Food cravings

Treating PMS

The best way to diagnose PMS is for you to keep a journal of your symptoms for at least three months. Note when you get headaches, how heavy your periods are, and whether you get backache, breast tenderness, or cramps.

The right treatment for you will depend on the nature and severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Vitamin supplements such as iron, calcium, and magnesium to maintain proper nutrition
  • Pain medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, for cramps, headache and backache
  • Antidepressants, if you have serious symptoms of depression
  • Birth control pills, to regulate your hormones and get your cycle on a regular schedule
  • Heating pads, warm baths, and warm beverages, to ease cramps

Maintaining your health

To lessen the symptoms of PMS, it is always a good idea to:

  • Exercise regularly (three to five times a week).
  • Get enough rest.
  • Have a balanced diet, with enough fruits, vegetables and grains, and limited amounts of salt, sugar, alcohol or caffeine.
  • Practice meditation or yoga.

Learn more about Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) from our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website.

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