How can you manage premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?


It’s common for women to experience physical and emotional changes during one or two weeks to their menstrual periods. Some would have mood swings and bad temper, feel depressed, anxious, or upset. Others would have a hard time sleeping, headaches, and many more.

But, as much as some of the symptoms may be milder, sometimes premenstrual symptoms may be severe and may force you to miss work, school, or lose interest in your daily activities. In other words, the short time may change your everyday life. 

But don’t worry because there are always ways to manage your premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But first, lets’ find out more about what PMS entails.

Understanding premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome refers to the physical and emotional symptoms that most women experiences in the lead-up to their menses or periods. The symptoms usually take about 1-2 weeks. 

What causes PMS?

Doctors have not been able to attribute the symptoms to any lab findings. But, it’s tied to hormonal and chemical body changes in the weeks to and during women’s menstruation.  During this time, your body’s hormones level changes, and most women are susceptible to the changes, leading to some of the feelings. 

What are some of the signs and symptoms of PMS?

PMS can affect both your physical and mental capabilities. 

Some of the emotional symptoms include:

  • Depression, anxiety, and confusion
  • Irritation and poor concentration
  • Lower self-esteem leading to social withdrawal
  • Change in sexual desires- drop or increase
  • Insomnia- having trouble sleeping
  • Being paranoid or feeling lonely

Physical changes include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Having headaches
  • Food cravings or change in appetite
  • Swelling on the hands and feet
  • General fatigue- Aches and pains
  • Tenderness of breasts
  • Weight gain and bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin or hair change

Diagnosis of PMS

There are no laid down diagnostics procedures or tests for PMS. In most cases, doctors would rely on your medical history of symptoms. So it would help if you kept daily signs and symptoms dairy. This will help identify if you’re having PMS, especially when the symptoms repeat the last time. 

So, what must include in your daily dairy? Apart from the symptoms, ensure you record your menstrual periods: your first and the last day. Suppose you keep these details and your symptoms are not resolve after the periods. In that case, doctors may suspect other causes of your symptoms. 

So how can you manage premenstrual syndrome?

For most women, some lifestyle changes would help them manage their condition. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms, your doctor may prescribe you some medications.

Here are some of the lifestyle changes that you have to consider:

Practice regular exercises– For most women, exercise like aerobics would help lessen their PMS conditions. How? Exercise is known to be a stress reliever. But, the exercise by releasing the feel-good hormones would help improve your moods, thus reducing the amount of pain you experience. 

So, ensure you do some cycling, brisk walking, running, or swimming, amongst others. Better still, you can also find relaxation methods like massage therapy, breathing in and out exercises, and self-hypnosis or meditation. Such ways would also help manage your pains and keep your mind off the pain for some time. 

Chose a healthy diet– you become what you eat,  and some food and drinks that would only worsen your condition. Therefore, take food rich in carbohydrates to help reduce your food cravings-related symptoms. You should also reduce too much intake of salt, sugar, and caffeine.

Include dietary supplements in your meals– supplements like calcium and magnesium in your meals would help reduce or manage the physical and moods of PMS conditions. Some studies have shown that taking magnesium help manage bloating- water retention, breast tenderness.

Here are commonly prescribed medications that help manage PMS:

Antidepressants– your doctor may prescribe you selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSTIs)- a combination of drugs such as Prozac, Sarafem, sertraline, among others. These drugs are proven to reduce mood symptoms significantly. You may take them two weeks before you begin your periods. 

Over-the-counter– your doctor may also give some pain relievers to help lessen your cramps, headache, and backaches, among other pain symptoms of PMS. So you may take naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, among others. 

Hormonal contraceptives– these are drugs that prevent or stop ovulation and lessen PMS symptoms.

Diuretics– also known as water pills, diuretics like spironolactone can help ease PMS symptoms like swelling and bloating. Finally, you may take some antianxiety and anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce pain, among other PMS symptoms. 


Premenstrual syndrome is a common condition for almost all women. The worst is that it presents irritating emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms and disturbances. But, you can always manage the symptoms by taking antidepressants, hormonal contraceptives, and adopting some lifestyle changes.