Depending on its symptoms and severity, PMS or premenstrual syndrome can be treated in several ways. Lifestyle changes are an important starting point for most women. Regular exercise, at least four to five days a week for 30 minutes or more, can help maintain weight, improve energy levels, enhance one’s sense of well-being, and reduce pain sensitivity. Exercise can also help reduce food cravings. A balanced diet, rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, can also help maintain weight and reduce food cravings. Reducing caffeine and stopping smoking can also help ease PMS symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
Other lifestyle changes and relaxation methods, such as yoga, meditation, and massage, can help reduce stress and anxiety. Adequate sleep can reduce tiredness and irritability. Wearing loose-fitting clothes can reduce discomfort if bloating is present; a supportive bra can relieve some breast tenderness and discomfort. Some research suggests that exposure to bright light in the mornings and evenings and temporary sleep deprivation may improve PMS symptoms.
A number of over-the-counter supplements and medications are available to ease PMS symptoms. Calcium supplements and possibly vitamin B6 supplements offer relief by acting on the endocrine system that regulates hormone production. Breast pain, pelvic cramps, back pain, joint aches and pains, and headaches are very common in women suffering from PMS. These can usually be treated with over-the counter pain relievers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. While a number of alternative treatments, such as St. Johnï¿½s wort and yam extract, have been tried to alleviate PMS symptoms, these have not been scientifically proven to be effective.
For more severe symptoms that cannot be managed by lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, a physician may recommend certain prescription medications. Bloating can be treated a diuretic such as spironolactone. Women with emotional symptoms such as depression may benefit from antidepressant medication, such as Zoloft or Paxil. Medication to reduce anxiety is also available.