It is estimated that 90% of adult females are familiar with at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). An additional 5-10% experience a very severe form of PMS. There are, however, many natural approaches available for easing symptoms of PMS. The recommendations provided below may help to reduce breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, mood swings, and many other symptoms.
- Keep a symptoms diary. This helps to rule out other more serious problems.
- Supplement with calcium (and magnesium). This can help in the reduction of mood swings, water retention, food cravings and pain. For PMS relief, 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium together with half that dose of magnesium is recommended.
- Say no to caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate. Caffeine exacerbates PMS symptoms. Alcohol directly affects hormone levels, and chocolate can be addictive and contribute to mood swings.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day. This will help to stabilize energy levels during the premenstrual stage. Also, these meals should be high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat and protein.
- Try evening-primrose oil. One 500-mg capsule twice a day will provide results in six to eight weeks.
- Experiment with herbs. Two capsules twice a day of either dong quai or chaste tree for a few months may improve symptoms.
- Get regular aerobic exercise. Brisk exercise five times a week will cause an increased in production of mood-elevating, pain-relieving endorphins.
- Relax. Stress-reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation practiced over several months may help lessen symptoms.
- If serious symptoms persist, see your health care practitioner. If all of the above steps fail, you may have a severe form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Information from the article in “Self Healing” May 1999 by Andrew Weil, MD.