PMS: Self Help
Most women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) find that they can control their symptoms by making the following changes in diet, exercise, and life-style. Only a few women with PMS need to take medication. Discuss the suggestions listed here with your doctor.
• Eat small meals every 3-4 hours (as many as six per day).
• Choose foods that are high in complex carbohydrates (fruits,vegetables, whole grains) and limit the
amount of fat you eat.
• Try to avoid sugar, even if you crave sweets. Eat foods high in complex carbohydrates instead.
• Avoid caffeine if you have breast pain or feel irritable.
• Avoid salt if you feel bloated.
• Choose nonfat or low-fat dairy products. (You do not need to eliminate dairy foods from your diet.)
• Moderate aerobic exercise has been scientifically proven to help women with PMS.
• Once your doctor has evaluated your health, find an activity you like, and gradually work up to four
20-minute periods of exercise each week.
• PMS symptoms get worse when you are under stress. Talk with your doctor about sources of
stress in your life and how you can relieve some of them.
• Try to schedule stressful events for the week after your period: try to avoid stress when your
symptoms are worst.
• Continue tracking your symptoms to remind yourself when PMS may be making you feel worse.
• Exercise regularly- it relieves tension and may also reduce other symptoms of PMS.
Education and Self-Help
• Learn as much as you can about PMS.
• Encourage family members or roommates to learn about PMS.
• Join a PMS self-help group. The support provided by others with the same problem may elp you to
• Most women with mild-to-moderate PMS can learn to control their symptoms without drugs.
• Discuss all drugs you are taking or want to try with your doctor; even vitamin therapy for PMS can
be toxic or cause severe side effects.
• If your symptoms are mild. an OTC PMS preparation may help. You may have to try several before
you find one that works.