10 Ways to Get Rid of PMS
To learn clever tips for quelling your PMS, watch this video to learn five ways to ditch your symptoms, naturally.
Improve your diet
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Check out herbal remedies
Herbal remedies are understudied (and unregulated when compared to prescription drugs), but there are some that may be effective in relieving PMS symptoms like cramping and mood swings.
You might consider using black cohosh, chasteberry, evening primrose oil, ginger, raspberry leaf, dandelion, or natural progesterone creams.
Your ob/gyn may be up-to-date on the best research regarding supplements; see if he or she has advice on which ones you can take and when.
Focus on your stress
Help yourself relax almost anywhere.
Take pain relievers
- For women who have PMS-related pain such as cramping, breast tenderness, backaches, or headaches, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) can provide some relief.
- These include ibuprofen (Advil and similar drugs) and naproxen (Aleve).
- Or you can try over-the-counter remedies specifically aimed at PMS like Pamprin and Midol. These often combine some sort of pain reliever with caffeine.
Consider birth control
If you’re not already using a form of birth control that you’re happy with, you might consider trying low-dose oral contraceptives, which may reduce PMS symptoms.
The medications work to even out hormones over the course of a woman’s cycle. Dr. Piscitelli says.
Some women use them continuously instead of in the typical cycle to avoid getting their period, which can also reduce PMS symptoms, though it can lead to breakthrough bleeding.
Ask your doctor about antidepressants
Antidepressants aren’t the first choice for PMS-related mood problems. Still, they are an option if symptoms are severe and affecting your daily life (and nothing else is helping).
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft and Prozac are often prescribed, says Dr. Piscitelli. They can be taken just for a week or two before your period or all of the time.
PMS can also aggravate underlying depression. Some women may think depression is cyclic and mistakenly attribute it to PMS, but they don’t realize it doesn’t really follow the patterns of their periods until they track it, says Dr. Piscitelli. Treating the underlying depression can help PMS symptoms, she adds.
Look into diuretics
Many women experience bloating in their hands, feet, face, or stomach with PMS. One way to combat this—if exercise and cutting back on salt don’t work—is a diuretic.
These prescription drugs help the body get rid of excess water by boosting urine output.
One commonly prescribed diuretic is spironolactone (Aldactone). But diuretics aren’t for everyone. They can exacerbate urinary incontinence, constipation, lower blood pressure, raise potassium levels, and interact with other medications.
Chart your symptoms
PMS is real. But first you may need to chart your symptoms for several months to be sure that you are experiencing PMS and not another condition like depression, says Dr. Casey. An estimated 12 to 25 million women in the U.S. suffer from debilitating PMS. It includes both physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms are varied and so are the treatments to relieve them, Dr. Casey says, so different treatments may need to be tried.
Dr. Casey advises women not to get discouraged or expect "a magic bullet" from the first treatment they try.