Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (cont.)
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Most women normally have one or more troubling physical and emotional symptoms between the time they ovulate and the first days of their menstrual period. These are called premenstrual symptoms. When premenstrual symptoms interfere with your relationships or responsibilities, they are called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS.
Although PMS cannot be cured, you do have a number of lifestyle and medication choices that can reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Basic PMS treatment
If you have PMS, keep a menstrual diary(What is a PDF document?), make lifestyle changes, and use home treatment measures. After a few menstrual cycles, you should notice some improvement in symptoms. Whether or not you then decide to add medication treatment, the following home treatment may help you:
Additional treatments for PMS
If you still have moderate to severe symptoms after two or three cycles of healthy lifestyle and home treatment measures, talk your health professional about further treatment options. Consider the following for specific symptoms.
All physical and mood-related symptoms
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants is often the first-choice medicine for moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms, including aggression, depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms. Most women gain relief by taking an SSRI either continuously or only during their premenstrual days. If you try an SSRI but find it ineffective, it's a good idea to try another type of SSRI before moving on to another class of medicine.
The birth control pill with estrogen and drospirenone may help relieve symptoms in women with severe PMS or PMDD. This pill is sold as YAZ (very low-estrogen) or Yasmin (low-estrogen).
Bloating or breast tenderness
Other hormonal, sedative, or surgical treatments for severe PMS
The goal of hormonal and surgical treatments is to stop a part of the hormonal (endocrine) system that is linked to premenstrual symptoms. These treatments are not commonly used to treat PMS symptoms, either because they are now known to be ineffective or because they have severe side effects.
What to think about
No single therapy is effective for all women. You and your health professional may have to try more than one type of treatment before finding the right choice for you.
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