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Manage Your PMS Symptoms

Tips and remedies to cope with premenstrual syndrome.
While a definitive cure for PMS may not exist for now, there are lifestyle changes and treatments available to help you manage your symptoms so that your daily life will be less affected:

Keep a PMS diary. Take note of changes such as irritability, moodiness, fluid retention, breast tenderness and food cravings and include the details of your menstrual cycle -- e.g. the first and last days of your menstrual period -- and any ovulation symptoms. Keep this diary for at least three menstrual cycles to rule out other possible causes.

Rest up and relax with enjoyable activities, and try to limit stressful situations as far as possible. Manage your stress with activities such as meditation, tai chi or simple stretching exercises.

Share your feelings with family or close friends if you find that your PMS symptoms are getting you down. You may soon realise you're not the only one 'suffering'!

Regular aerobic exercise helps to keep you fit and ease some of the minor symptoms such as lethargy and insomnia. Aim for at least three times a week, and increase the frequency during the premenstrual period.

Dietary changes such as eating smaller meals more frequently, as well as cutting down on caffeine, high fat, sugary and salty foods can help to balance your blood sugar levels and reduce symptoms such as mood swings, fluid retention and bloating.

Stay hydrated with water and fruit or vegetable juices, to help reduce symptoms such as bloating.

Avoid alcohol and smoking, which can aggravate the symptoms of PMS such as breast tenderness, food cravings, mood swings and depression.

Nutritional supplements such as calcium (a dose of 1200 mg/day can reduce PMS symptoms by half) and vitamin B6 (50100 mg/day; toxic at higher doses) have been shown to be beneficial for easing PMS symptoms.

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