Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

  • Condition occurring prior to a female’s period
  • Symptoms may include cramping pain in the abdomen, irritability, depression, tiredness and abdominal bloating
  • Cause unknown but may be due to hormone changes
  • Cannot be spread from person to person
  • Can affect any female after periods have begun
  • May be mild to severe but more severe during menopause

GENERAL THERAPY

  • Reduce stress
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Practice deep-breathing or muscle relaxation exercises
  • Perform massages or yoga for relaxation
  • Keep diary of triggers and when they occur
  • Wearing sports bra for support if breast is tender

 

Over-the-counter medicines (refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage):

  • NSAIDs
  • Take daily multivitamins
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin E
  • Herbal remedies
    • Black cohosh
    • Ginger
    • Raspberry leaf
    • Dandelion
    • Chasteberry
    • Evening primrose oil
    • Wild yam or soybean cream

 

DIET

  • Eat smaller more frequent meals to reduce bloating
  • Limit salt, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Choose foods high in calcium

 

PRECAUTIONS AND AVOIDANCES

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes day
  • Quit smoking
  • Soak in a warm bath several times a day
  • Practice safe sex

 

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF

  • You have moderate to severe symptoms after 2 or 3 cycles
  • Discomfort interferes with your daily activities
  • You have no response to home treatments
  • PMS symptoms do not improve after a couple of days into menstrual cycle

 

FOR CONSTIPATION

  • Eat more fiber (1 tablespoon of raw bran with plenty of water at each meal)
  • Increase exercise (30 minutes per day)
  • Drink plenty of fluids (especially water)
  • Over-the-counter laxative medicines (refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage):
    • Bulk forming laxatives
    • Stool softeners (emollient laxatives)
    • Lubricant laxatives
    • Stimulant laxatives
    • Saline laxatives
    • Enemas and suppositories

 

FOR DIARRHEA

  • Drink plenty of fluids (especially water)
  • Home oral rehydration solution (ORS):
    • Six (6) level teaspoons of Sugar
    • Half (1/2) level teaspoon of Salt
    • 1 L (5 cupful’s) of clean drinking or boiled water and then cooled
  • Eat the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, Toast)
  • If accompanied by nausea, suck on small pieces of ice (not small enough to choke on!)
  • Avoid strenuous exercise
  • Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medicines (refer to manufacturer’s recommendation for dosage):
    • Loperamide
    • Bismuth subsalicylate

 

FOR PAIN

  • Apply hot or cold packs to the area
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Distraction
  • Over-the-counter medicine (refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage):
    • Acetaminophen
    • Ibuprofen

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