5 Tips to Help Ease PMS Symptoms




PreMenstrual Syndrome occurs days before menstruation when a woman feels physical or mood changes.


According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no exact cause for premenstrual syndrome, though factors such as changes in hormones, chemical changes in the brain, and even undiagnosed depression may contribute to the condition.


Symptoms of PMS

There is a variety of symptoms for PMS and no two people are exactly the same.  Emotional symptoms can range from depressed mood, irritability, anger, mood swings to crying spells, insomnia and change in libido. And while the physical symptoms usually include bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, there can also be acne flare-ups, joint or muscle pain, headache, and digestive issues.


A more severe type of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD occurs when PMS symptoms are more severe and cause problems with work or personal relationships. PMDD is treated with drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are used to treat depression.


How to ease symptoms of PMS

Symptoms of PMS that are mild to moderate often can be relieved through lifestyle changes but when symptoms disrupt your life, you may want to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. These tips may help ease PMS symptoms:


  1. Exercise

Aerobic exercise has numerous benefits for your overall health and can help reduce the symptoms of PMS, fatigue and depression. Examples of aerobic exercise includes running, brisk walking, swimming and cycling. It’s recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.


  1. Reduce Stress

Stress can negatively affect your health, including PMS symptoms. By reducing stress, you can help improve your health and ease symptoms of PMS. To combat stress, try:

  • Yoga
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Massage
  • Getting enough sleep


  1. Change in Diet

Try the following diet changes to help ease PMS symptoms:

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Reduce your intake of salt, sugar and fat.
  • Include foods high in calcium in your diet along with vitamin D to allow your body to absorb the calcium.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates rather than processed simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Eat frequent small meals rather than three large ones.


  1. Supplements

Some vitamin supplements can help reduce the physical and mood symptoms of PMS. Examples of supplements that may help are:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin E


  1. Medications

If lifestyle changes don’t help ease symptoms enough, your healthcare provider may suggest medication or over the counter meds.

  • Antidepressants: in some women, these drugs can be helpful in treating PMS and lessen mood symptoms. There are many types of antidepressants. If one doesn’t work for you, your doctor may prescribe a different one.
  • Hormonal birth control: may help lessen physical symptoms. Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation, which may help decrease intensity of symptoms and make your menstrual cycle more regular. You may need to try numerous before finding the one that works for you.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): the most common over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen.


County Ob/Gyn offers comprehensive healthcare for women and can help with issues related to your menstrual cycle, including PMS. If after making certain lifestyle changes doesn’t improve your symptoms enough, schedule an appointment with your provider at County Ob/Gyn. You can schedule an appointment through your MyChart Portal or by calling us at (203) 488-8306.


Additional Resources

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) | ACOG