Treatments

Diet. To help alleviate the symptoms of PMS, many treatments, both traditional and alternative, are being sought by thousands of women daily. According to some experts, the majority of PMS symptoms are a result of hormonal imbalances where there is too much estrogen in the body in comparison with the amount of progesterone. Studies have shown that a number of foods, such as, soy, vegetables and fruit, and nuts and seeds can actually help with hormonal balance. PMS sufferers are advised to increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and omega-3 fatty acids (mostly found in seafood and nuts). Eating small, frequent meals at the same time each day can help reduce bloating and fullness.

Several clinical trials have shown that supplementation of calcium and magnesium can play a crucial role in the prevention of PMS. Nine hundred to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day was found to be effective in reducing food cravings and mood swings, and 200 to 500 milligrams of magnesium reduced bloating and breast tenderness. Studies of vitamin B6 and vitamin E intake have had varied results. A daily multivitamin-mineral supplement is believed to be beneficial for all PMS sufferers.

Besides additions to the diet, it is suggested that women suffering from PMS should avoid caffeine, in the form of soft drinks, coffee, or chocolate; refined sugars; sodium; and saturated fats. Drinking plenty of water is a complement to cutting back on sodium. The effects of alcohol are usually magnified in premenstrual women, and therefore it is also advised that alcohol consumption be decreased or stopped totally.

Exercise. Scientific studies have shown that any type of physical exercise can help improve mood, decrease anxiety, and reduce stress reactions. As little as twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic type exercise three to five times a week, such as brisk walking, has shown to decrease some PMS symptoms. Some studies have also shown that doing nonaerobic exercises may also work, but to a smaller degree.

Complementary Medicine. Based on some preliminary scientific research, the herb chasteberry, also known as vitex agnus-castus, has been shown to relieve several PMS symptoms. According to a clinical trial, reported in January 2001 in a European scientific journal, more than half the women who received 20-milligram chasteberry tablets had a significant improvement in all their symptoms except bloating. Black cohosh and evening primrose oil are other herbs that are gaining popularity, though studies to date are inconclusive.

Light therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of PMS in some women. The results may be due to the relationship between melatonin, which is produced as a response to changes in visible light, and serotonin, which is a neural transmitter that contributes to a person's emotional outlook. [Najlah Feanny/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]

Light therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of PMS in some women. The results may be due to the relationship between melatonin, which is produced as a response to changes in visible light, and serotonin, which is a neural transmitter that contributes to a person's emotional outlook. [Najlah Feanny/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]

Some studies have shown that women with PMS who are treated with bright-light therapy can have a substantial improvement in their mood. Bright-light therapy consists of sitting under a bright light of predetermined intensity for thirty minutes for one to two weeks before the onset of a menstrual cycle.

Many other alternative treatments are being explored for relieving PMS symptoms. To date, reflexology, massage therapy, and acupuncture are in the forefront of potential alternative treatments; however, future studies are needed to confirm their overall effectiveness.

Pharmacologic. Since premenstrual symptoms are thought to be related to the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone, these hormones were among the first to be tested as a possible treatment. Although some early research reported positive findings, more recent studies have revealed that progesterone, whether natural of artificial, is not successful in the management of PMS.

A form of pharmacologic treatment that has shown positive results is the suppression of ovulation, which eliminates both the cyclic rhythm of hormone production and eliminating cyclic mood symptoms. The most common medications used for ovulation suppression are gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. Currently, the use of GnRH agonists is experimental; however, studies have shown that 75 percent of women treated with GnRH agonists have experienced reductions in tension, depression, mood swings, and breast tenderness.

Evidence from numerous controlled trials has clearly demonstrated that low-dose selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) also have excellent efficacy with minimal side effects in treating women with severe PMS symptoms. SSRIs are a group of medications primarily used in treating depression and anxiety disorders. These medications have been shown to be best taken during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle only.

acupuncture: insertion of needles into the skin at special points to treat disease serotonin: chemical used by nerve cells to communicate with one another efficacy: effectiveness

Sleeping Sanctuary

Sleeping Sanctuary

Salvation For The Sleep Deprived The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping, Napping, Resting And  Restoring Your Energy. Of the many things that we do just instinctively and do not give much  of a thought to, sleep is probably the most prominent one. Most of us sleep only because we have to. We sleep because we cannot stay awake all 24 hours in the day.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment