FOR as long as you have a menstrual cycle and ovulate, your hormone-producing endocrine system has powerful, cyclic effects on your body. If you have symptoms that are or may be premenstrual syndrome (PMS), use the following home treatment measures as initial and ongoing treatment.
• Keep a menstrual diary. By recording your symptoms, their severity, and the days when you have your period and ovulate. You can also use your menstrual diary to plan ahead for, prevent or reduce, and better cope with your premenstrual symptoms.
Whenever possible, plan to take extra good physical and emotional care of yourself during your premenstrual days. It's also useful to let people close to you know when your more trying days will be.
• Begin or maintain a moderate exercise schedule (at least 2½ hours a week). Exercise is proven to reduce depression. Women often report that exercise helps relieve tension, pain, and mood-related PMS symptoms.
• Take daily calcium (1200 mg) and vitamin B6 (50 mg to 100 mg). Calcium is strongly linked to PMS symptoms and relief. Although research and expert opinions are mixed, daily vitamin B6 is thought to improve PMS depression and physical symptoms.8
• Follow a sensible and balanced diet that provides the recommended levels of vitamins and nutrients.
• Use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce PMS pain. NSAIDs relieve premenstrual and menstrual pain and reduce menstrual bleeding.
They reduce inflammation, which is from increased prostaglandin production during the premenstrual period.
NSAIDs work best when taken before and continued at regular dosage intervals throughout the premenstrual pain period. For some women, this continues into the first days of menstrual bleeding, to relieve painful cramps.
• Avoid or eliminate unhealthy habits, such as smoking or having too much caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, or salt.
• Reduce stress in your life.
• Wear a more supportive bra, such as a sports bra, if your breasts are tender during your premenstrual days.
Try one or two techniques at a time, instead of all of them at once. This will allow you to identify the most helpful techniques.
Try the technique for two to three menstrual cycles. Some techniques may require more than one cycle to be helpful. Stop using a technique if you have tried it for 2 or 3 months and it doesn't seem to be helping