How to treat and relieve PMS symptoms

To treat PMS, which is the Premenstrual Tension syndrome, there are medications that help to relieve both symptoms of irritability and sadness, such as fluoxetine and sertraline, and symptoms of pain and malaise, such as ibuprofen or mefenamic acid, better known as ponstan, for example.

Women who seek permanent relief from symptoms, in addition to medications, should also have healthy habits, by improving their diet and avoiding foods that worsen swelling and irritability, with too much salt or fried foods, in addition to physical activities.

There are also natural alternatives to combat the symptoms of this syndrome, such as the use of teas and acupuncture, which can be great ways to help treatment with drugs and prevent the appearance of discomfort during this period.

Treatment with medicines

The drugs used to treat PMS seek to relieve the main symptoms, which are irritability, sadness, swelling in the body and headaches, and appear between 5 and 10 days before menstruation. They must be prescribed by the general practitioner or gynecologist, and can be of various types, such as:

  • Hormonal pills, such as oral contraceptives, inhibit ovulation and hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle, and consequently alleviate the symptoms of this period;
  • Anti inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and Ponstan, act to relieve headaches and stomach cramps, pain in the breasts or legs, very common in this phase of the menstrual cycle;
  • Antiemetics, such as Dimenhydrinate or Bromopride, can be useful in controlling nausea, which many women may experience at this stage;
  • Antidepressants, such as Sertraline and Fluoxetine, treat the emotional symptoms of PMS, which are mostly sadness, irritability, insomnia and anxiety. They can be used continuously or for 12 to 14 days before menstruation;
  • Anxiolytics, such as Alprazolam, Lorazepam, have calming properties, which relieve symptoms of tension, anxiety and irritability. They should be used in cases that have not improved with antidepressants, and should not be used daily, as they will not cause addiction.

There are women who have very intense symptoms, and have a more severe form of PMS, which is Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder and, in these cases, treatment is done in the same way, but higher doses of medication and monitoring by a psychiatrist may be necessary, who will adjust the medications and do therapy to control the symptoms.

Natural treatment

Natural or home treatments of PMS may be sufficient to relieve milder symptoms, but they can also be great as a complement to treatment with drugs for women with more severe symptoms. Some examples are:

  • Physical exercises, such as walking or cycling, decrease symptoms of tension and anxiety due to the release of serotonin and endorphins and also improve circulation, which combats the swelling of this period;
  • Vitamin supplementation of calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6, through polyvitamins bought in pharmacies or processed, or foods such as vegetables, dried fruits or whole grains, which help to restore the levels of vitamins and minerals that are low in this period;
  • Medicinal plants, such as evening primrose oil, dong quai, kava kava, ginkgo biloba and agno casto extract are used to relieve many PMS symptoms, such as irritability and breast pain;
  • A diet rich in fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and greens helps to balance the body's levels of vitamins and minerals and reduces fluid retention, fighting swelling and malaise. There are also foods that should be avoided, such as canned, sausage and rich in salt, as they worsen symptoms. Learn about foods that are excellent home remedies for PMS;
  • Acupuncture can be used because it helps to reduce hormonal fluctuations and anxiety, by the ability to balance the body's vital energy;
  • Massage, reflexology and herbal medicine are effective relaxation techniques to relieve tension and anxiety;
  • Homeopathy, which is done using homeopathic remedies, can help balance the functioning of the circulation and liver and prevent the appearance of swelling and tension.

See more tips on how to fight the main symptoms of PMS.