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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (cont.)

What Treatments Are Available for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

  • Natural and home remedies, medications, and lifestyle changes are used to treat and manage signs and symptoms of PMS and PMDD.
  • The patient and her health-care professional may need to try different medications before one is found works for the patient. Medicines may not completely relieve all symptoms, and they are not always necessary. A woman can often make lifestyle changes that help.

What Natural or Home Remedies Treat Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

Certain herbs have been evaluated for use in PMS. Many over-the-counter herbal preparations combine various herbs with certain vitamins to create a PMS formula. Although preliminary reports have been promising, more scientific research is needed to evaluate herbal treatment of PMS, and none have been proven to be of benefit. Furthermore, since botanical or herbal therapies are not regulated, it is difficult to determine the actual dosage and quality of any dietary supplement. Consult a health-care professional before using any herbal supplement to treat PMS.

  • Black cohosh: Black cohosh has been shown to positively impact the serotonin pathway and may have a beneficial impact for some women, especially those with vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes). Black cohosh does not affect estrogen levels or function.
  • St. John's wort: This herb may help elevate serotonin levels, possibly helping PMS symptoms. Studies do not agree on its effectiveness. St. John's wort interacts with many medications, and should never be used if a person takes prescription antidepressants.
  • Evening primrose oil: Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is the active agent found in evening primrose oil. Much like mefenamic acid, GLA blocks prostaglandin synthesis, resulting in decreased breast tenderness, bloating, and weight gain. The standard dose is 3 grams per day, and it should be started less than one week before the onset of the patient's period. This agent is available without a prescription at health food stores and certain pharmacies. A scientific review of the studies on evening primrose oil showed no proven effect on the symptoms of PMS.
  • Ginkgo biloba: Shown to reduce the symptom of breast pain but not other PMS symptoms.
  • Chasteberry (Vitex; agnus castus fruit extract): Limited studies have shown a benefit for the use of agnus castus fruit extract to help relieve symptoms of PMS. This should not be used in combination with birth control pills.

Natural and home remedies may help reduce many premenstrual symptoms and signs.

Is There a Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Diet?

  • Muscle relaxation techniques and massage therapy may help.
  • Dietary restrictions have not shown to be beneficial in treating PMS, but following a healthy nutrition plan is always sound advice. Certain strategies may help with specific symptoms, and some dietary supplements may be of benefit:
    • To lessen bloating and water retention, avoid foods high in salt (sodium), especially in the week before your period.
    • An adequate vitamin and mineral intake may also help with PMS symptoms.
      • Vitamin E: Studies do not agree about how much vitamin E may be helpful, but 300-400 IU per day is a safe dose that may be of benefit.
      • Calcium: Some women get relief taking at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day, through a combination of normal eating and taking supplements.
      • Magnesium: Most studies that have evaluated magnesium have failed to show overall benefit. Some small studies of magnesium supplementation have shown that 200 to 360 mg of magnesium taken up to three times per day may provide some relief. Food sources of magnesium include nuts, legumes, whole grains, dark green vegetables, seafood (oysters), and meats.
      • Vitamin B6: Some studies have shown doses of vitamin B6 up to 100 mg/day may be helpful, but this has not been proved conclusively.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Premenstrual Syndrome »

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a recurrent luteal phase condition characterized by physical, psychological, and behavioral changes of sufficient severity to result in deterioration of interpersonal relationships and normal activity.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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