Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
The first step in learning to manage PMS is to keep a menstrual diary (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?). Write down what kind of symptoms you have, how severe they are, when you have your period, and Reference when you ovulate. This can help you identify patterns in your cycle and plan ahead to better cope with the symptoms.
Next, use some self-care measures for PMS. They focus on practicing healthy habits, managing pain, and reducing stress. When you use these tips, it's best to:
- Try one or two at a time, instead of all of them at the same time. This will help you find which measures are most helpful.
- Try a measure for two to three menstrual cycles. If it doesn't seem to be helping, try something else.
Practice healthy habits
- Get at least 2½ hours of Reference moderate exercise Opens New Window a week. Exercise may help relieve tension, pain, and mood-related PMS symptoms.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes whole grains, protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and salt.
- Take daily calcium (up to 1200 mg) and vitamin B6 (50 mg to 100 mg).
- Quit smoking, if you smoke.
- Use a Reference nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce menstrual bleeding. Try to start taking an NSAID 1 or 2 days before you expect pain to start. NSAIDs work best when taken before and at regular intervals throughout the days you have pain.
- Wear a more supportive bra, such as a sports bra, when your breasts are tender.
- Try some relaxation techniques, such as Reference breathing exercises, Reference yoga, or Reference massage therapy.
- Practice better time management, and get enough sleep.
- Create a support system. Join a support group of women who are managing PMS. With your loved ones, plan ways to reduce the demands placed on you when you have PMS.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 26, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology