PMS 101

Treatments for PMS

In addition to dietary changes, milder PMS symptoms can be alleviated by simple lifestyle changes, primarily through exercise and reducing stress.

Exercise During a workout, levels of chemicals called beta-endorphins rise. These chemicals positively impact mood and behavior. Experts say that exercising at least three times a week can reduce anger and depression and fight stress during PMS.

Stress Reduction Although stress doesn't cause PMS, it can worsen its symptoms. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga are often effective in relieving stress.

Medications When diet, exercise and stress reduction aren't enough to alleviate symptoms, medications may be needed. Over-the-counter medicines, such as those containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin), can relieve cramping and other minor aches and pains. Some medications are marketed specifically to women experiencing PMS symptoms. These medications, which include Midol and Pamprin, typically include a combination of aspirin or acetaminophen for pain plus diuretics. Diuretics prevent water retention to relieve bloating. For women with PMDD (see below), antidepressant drugs such as sertraline hydrochloride (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) can alleviate depression. In severe cases, birth control pills can be used to stop ovulation completely.

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