PMS Relief: Lifestyle Changes

July 18, 2010

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of unpleasant symptoms that arrive in the days just prior to menstruation. If your symptoms of PMS are only mild or moderate, you may be able to obtain relief through various lifestyle changes. These same steps can help to reduce the symptoms of severe PMS, as well.

Reduce Stress

*Relax—look for ways to reduce the stress in your life. Stress may not cause PMS but it can exacerbate your symptoms. Relaxation therapy is often very useful in relieving the symptoms of PMS and may include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and sometimes massage therapy. Other good therapies that can help include self-hypnosis and biofeedback.

*Sleep—make sure to stick to regular hours of sleep. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Make sure you get enough sleep, too. Good sleep habits can relieve fatigue and moodiness.

*Aerobic Exercise—this type of physical activity has proven benefits in relieving PMS symptoms like depression and fatigue. Examples of aerobic exercise include power-walking, running, bicycling, and swimming. All of these activities increase lung function and your heart rate. Don’t just exercise when you experience symptoms. Exercise for a minimum of half an hour on most days of the week.

*Diet—include a wealth of complex carbohydrates in your diet to eliminate food cravings and moodiness. Make sure you also include high-calcium foods. Cut back on sugar, salt, and fat. Cut out alcohol and caffeine.

Some physicians say that it's helpful to have six smaller meals rather than the traditional three square meals. You can achieve this by making your meals a bit smaller and adding three healthy snacks.

*Supplements—some women swear by dietary supplements for their PMS symptoms. Taking 1,200 mg. of calcium each day may help alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS.

There is some slight evidence to suggest that taking magnesium supplements helps with moodiness, breast tenderness, and water retention. Some studies also state that vitamin E can reduce PMS symptoms.

More Information

*Information—many women feel that just by learning about PMS and the symptoms that come with this syndrome they experience an improvement in their symptoms. They believe that having more information reduces the anxiety about their symptoms.

*Self-Awareness—some women feel that once they understand they suffer from PMS and can predict when their symptoms will recur, they are able to prevent personal conflicts with their families and friends. It's also important to share your feelings about your difficult symptoms so that others will step up to give you love and emotional support.

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