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Premenstrual Syndrome


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical, emotional, and mental changes that begin 1 to 2 weeks before your monthly periods.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else.

Call your doctor or gynecologist if:

  • You feel pain in your abdomen and shaking or have chills and a fever.
  • You have symptoms that last longer than 2 weeks each month.
  • You feel very 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.


You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Diuretics This medicine helps your body get rid of extra fluid.
  • Birth control pills may be given if your PMS is severe. Birth control pills contain hormones that can help to improve your PMS symptoms.
  • Antidepressants may be given to help improve your mood. 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. Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any supplements.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.

Nutrition supplements:

Your healthcare provider may suggest that you take calcium, magnesium, or vitamins. These supplements may help to relieve your PMS symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any supplements for PMS.

Lifestyle changes that may help to relieve PMS:

  • Exercise as directed. Exercise may decrease stress and PMS symptoms and help you feel better. Get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of physical activity each week, such as walking. Do muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Spread physical activity throughout the week. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
    Black Family Walking for Exercise
  • Get enough sleep. Most people need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Ask your healthcare provider 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).
    Healthy Foods
  • 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.

Follow up with your doctor or gynecologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about Premenstrual Syndrome (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.