Your choices for PMS symptom relief
If you have a period, you've likely experienced some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome - or PMS. PMS affects women in many ways. And there are dozens of symptoms associated with the days leading up to your monthly period. Some of the most common symptoms include breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, acne, mood changes, and more.
It's common for women to want to know how to manage PMS symptoms better. If PMS is getting in the way of your daily life, talk to your OB GYN about your options. Here are a few of the ways your OB GYN can help you take action to ease the monthly effects of PMS.
Regular exercise may help reduce both physical pain and symptoms like anxiety. In fact, a study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine reported that any type of regular exercise was effective in helping relieve symptoms. If you have questions about the best type of exercise for your health, talk with your doctor.
There may be a link between smoking and your risk for more severe PMS symptoms. As a result, making a plan to quit may help you find some relief. According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, cigarette smoking, especially in young adults and teenagers, showed an increased risk of moderate and severe PMS.
Focusing on certain nutrients in food can help ease your symptoms. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says to choose food high in calcium, like low-fat dairy, almonds, or kale, and food high in vitamin B6, like turkey, pistachios, bananas, or fortified cereal. Many women also find it helpful to cut back on salt, caffeine, or alcohol.
Especially for symptoms that affect mood or sleep, focus on simple techniques for relaxation. The U.S. Library of Medicine suggests trying massage, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. Activities like journaling or meditation may also help women better cope with emotional symptoms of PMS.
You have many options for pain relief available over the counter, including naproxen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. You may also see numerous supplements that claim to help with PMS. But many of these haven't been evaluated by the FDA or well-studied. Always talk with your OB GYN before you try any medication, vitamin, herb, or mineral to treat your symptoms. The Office on Women's Health says studies have shown calcium and B6 are helpful, but the results for supplements like magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids are mixed.
Some women see fewer symptoms when they use hormonal birth control methods. Different hormones affect women in different ways. Your OB GYN can help you find the right birth control option for you. If you have a worsening of anxiety or depression during the week before your period, you may talk with your doctor about antidepressants or antianxiety medications. Prescription diuretics are also an option for those who have water retention due to PMS.
Managing other conditions
If you have certain other medical conditions, you may notice PMS makes your symptoms worse. For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says you may have increased symptoms related to depression, migraines, asthma and allergies, or seizures. Talk to your doctor about managing these conditions together.
It's also important to remember that many conditions cause symptoms similar to PMS. If you're having a lot of symptoms or they've suddenly gotten worse, visit your OB GYN. From perimenopause to thyroid disease, you may have another condition contributing to your concerns. Together, you can get to the source of the problem and talk through the best ways to get relief.