What can I do about my SPM?

Medical examination by
Dr Candice Greenan
OB / GYN McLeod Partners

Oh, those headaches, backaches, fatigue, mood swings, and sleep disturbances that signal a woman’s imminent period. The average woman experiences the monthly ravages of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) for about 40 years.

“While we believe hormonal changes trigger symptoms, we don’t know exactly what causes PMS,” says Dr. Candice Greenan, OB / GYN McLeod. “No magic cure is right for all women, but we have a range of treatments women can try, from relaxation techniques to prescription medication. “

Get 8 hours of sleep a night to help reduce anxiety and mood swings.

Smoking can worsen the symptoms of PMS. Stop, if you can.

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises.

  • Adjusting your diet helps many women with mild to moderate PMS symptoms. Examples include:
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Some research indicates that alcohol affects hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. An open question: Does alcohol lead to more acute PMS or do PMS symptoms lead to increased alcohol consumption?
  • Cut down on your sugar and salt, as well as fat.
  • Look for foods high in calcium, like yogurt or green leafy vegetables.
  • Make sure your diet includes complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, and beans.

Ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – can calm cramps, back pain, and headaches.

An over-the-counter or prescription diuretic will reduce fluid retention. Be careful when using both a diuretic and NSAIDs as this can cause kidney problems.

For women with more severe PMS symptoms or even more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an OB / GYN may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that include Prozac, Sarafem, Zoloft, Celexa and Paxil.

About three-quarters of women with PMDD reported that their symptoms improved when taking SSRIs.

Other women in these categories may have their symptoms reduced if they take hormonal birth control pills, although in some women, birth control pills worsen their symptoms.

If you’re one of the many women with PMS, start with the simple steps. Then talk to your obstetrician / gynecologist about other actions they might recommend to improve your life (and the lives of those who live with you).

Find an OB / GYN near you.
Sources include: McLeod Health, US Department of Health & Human Services, National Library of Medicine, British Medical Journal, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

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