Midwife's Guide to Easing Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
What is PMS?
PreMenstrual Syndrome refers to a wide variety of physical and mental symptoms which occur in a cyclic fashion. Symptoms often start about a week before the menstrual period is expected. Symptoms can be mild to severe and last anywhere from a few days to over a week. Symptoms may include bloating, cramping, acne, anxiety, asthma, back pain, breast pain or tenderness, bruising, confusion, depression, coordination difficulties, swelling, moodiness, fatigue, headache, food cravings, visual changes and sinus problems. PMS may be responsible for worsening of arthritis symptoms, herpes or ulcers. DIfferent remedies work for different people. You will need to experiment to find which combination of recommendations listed below work for you.
1. Eat a high fiber, low fat diet.
2. Eliminate caffeine, chocolate, refined sugars and carbohydrates such as candy, cake, pastries, ice cream, white bread, crackers and chips.
3. Use essentail fatty acids such as raw nuts and seeds, salmon, sardines, sesame, sunflower and safflower oils. Flaxseed or Fish Oil 500 mg. 4 times a day.
4. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times a week, outside if possible.
5. Consider a light therapy lamp during the winter months.
6. Stress reduction such as Yoga, relaxation techniques, music therapy or massage.
7. Good quality multivitamin with minerals daily. This should contain a minimum of 400mg Magnesium.
8. Calcium 1000mg-1500mg daily. Take with Vitamin D3.
9. Vitamin B6 25 mg 2 times daily
10. Evening Primrose Oil 500mg daily
11. Vitex (vitex agnus castus) 650 mg capsule 3 times daily or 15-40 drops of tincture as recommended by manufacturer
12. Ibuprofen 400mg every 4 hours as needed for aches and pains.
Final word and gentle warning
Generally, improvement in diet and regular exercise will go far in improving symptoms. Severe symptoms may require prescription medication such as an antidepressant for adequate relief. Even then the recommendations above will be beneficial. As always if you have any health issues or take prescription medications check with your health care provider or pharmacist to make sure there is not a risk for interactions with supplements or herbs. Be wiser, ask.