WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical, emotional, and mental changes that occur before your monthly periods. These symptoms may begin 1 or 2 weeks before your period starts.
- Ibuprofen: This medicine decreases pain and swelling. Ibuprofen is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage if not taken correctly.
- Diuretics: This medicine helps your body get rid of extra fluid.
- Antidepressants: This medicine may be given to help improve your mood or behavior. Sometimes it is given only during the last 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle. Some vitamins, herbal supplements, or food supplements may interact with this medicine. Ask your primary healthcare provider before you take any supplements.
- Birth control pills: If your PMS is severe, you may be given birth control pills. Birth control pills contain hormones that can help to improve your PMS symptoms.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Your primary healthcare provider may suggest that you take calcium, magnesium, or other vitamins. These supplements may help to relieve your PMS symptoms. Talk to your primary healthcare provider before you take any supplements for PMS.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Lifestyle changes that may help to relieve PMS:
- Exercise: Exercise may decrease stress and PMS symptoms and help you feel better. Get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes or more of physical activity each week, such as walking. Get 1 hour and 15 minutes of physical activity each week if the activity requires a higher level of effort, such as running. Do muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Spread physical activity throughout the week. Talk to your caregiver about the best exercise plan for you.
- Get enough sleep: Most people need 6 to 8 hours. Ask your caregiver how many hours of sleep you should have. To help you sleep better, avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. Avoid nicotine (tobacco products). Do not exercise within 3 hours of going to bed.
- Do not drink alcohol: Do not have drinks that contain alcohol for 1 week before your period.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods may help you feel better and have more energy. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods (meat, beans, and fish).
- Limit sodium: Too much sodium (salt) can cause you to retain water and increase swelling. Read labels on food and drink packages to find out how much sodium is in the food or drink. Do not eat or drink more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day.
- Limit caffeine: Too much caffeine can make you feel nervous or moody. Foods and drinks such as chocolate, coffee, some teas, and soda have caffeine.
- Eat less sugar: Read package labels to find out how much carbohydrates (sugars) are in the foods you eat. Sugar may be called sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You feel pain in your abdomen and are shaking or have chills and a fever.
- You have symptoms that last longer than 2 weeks each month.
- You feel depressed most or all of the time.
- Your PMS symptoms cause problems in your life or relationships.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.