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Premenstrual Syndrome


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.



  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. 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.
  • 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 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. 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 other vitamins. These supplements may help to relieve your PMS symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any supplements for PMS.

Follow up with your 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 healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Get enough sleep: Most people need 6 to 8 hours. 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).
  • 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.

For more information:

  • The National Women's Health Information Center
    8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
    Fairfax , VA 22031
    Phone: 1- 800 - 994-9662
    Web Address:
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    P.O. Box 70620
    Washington , DC 20024-9998
    Phone: 1- 202 - 638-5577
    Phone: 1- 800 - 673-8444
    Web Address:

Contact your healthcare provider 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.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

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

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

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

Learn more about Premenstrual Syndrome (Discharge Care)

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