Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Troubling physical and emotional symptoms that occur between the time you ovulate and the first days of your menstrual period are called premenstrual symptoms. When premenstrual symptoms interfere with your relationships or responsibilities, they are called premenstrual syndrome (PMS). When premenstrual emotional symptoms or aggression are severe, they are called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
If you have moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms that continue despite home treatment and lifestyle changes, talk to your health professional about using medicine. Most medicines for PMS affect some part of the hormone-producing endocrine system, with the goal of blocking or increasing a certain chemical process that may be causing symptoms. There is no known medicine that can "cure" PMS.
The most commonly used medicines for PMS are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for mood-related symptoms. There is also a type of birth control pill, sold as YAZ and Yasmin, that may help relieve PMDD symptoms.
Pain relievers (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs])
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat mood-related and physical symptoms
Diuretic to treat water retention and weight gain
Benzodiazepine to treat anxiety
For more information about birth control pills and progestin, see the topic Birth Control.
Additional hormone treatments
What to think about
Using your menstrual diary(What is a PDF document?) or symptom diary, show your health professional which symptoms are the most bothersome to you. He or she can then recommend treatment that focuses on relieving your worst symptoms.
If you are considering medication treatment, it may be helpful to think about and discuss some of the following questions with your health professional:
How well the medicines work
Some medicines and dietary supplements have been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of PMS. Other medicines used to treat PMS have been shown to be no more effective than a "sugar pill" (placebo). Some of these medicines, such as progesterone, may be recommended. But it is better to use medicines, vitamins, or minerals that studies have shown to be effective. You may also want to think about the cost of a medicine that may or may not work.
The side effects of some medicines may be just as unpleasant as your PMS symptoms. For example, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH-a) and danazol have significant adverse side effects. In other cases, the relief from symptoms that a medicine gives may far outweigh any side effects it causes.
How often to take the medicines
Some medicines must be taken every day, but others may only be taken when your symptoms are present. If your symptoms aren't severe and don't last long, you may not think the benefits of medicine treatment are worth taking the medicine every day.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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