PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a disorder consisting of physical and/or psychological symptoms during the 10-14 days before a woman’s period. The symptoms tend to improve the week of menses and completely resolve the week after.
- Mild psychological discomfort
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Aches and pains
- Poor concentration
- Sleep disturbance
- Appetite changes
- A diagnosis of PMS requires that only one of these symptoms be present the week before most of your periods.
PMS symptoms can often be treated without prescription medication. Many will benefit from regular exercise; a low-fat vegetarian diet; and avoiding sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Discuss the benefits of vitamin B6, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and vitamin E with your physician. For symptoms that do not respond to these therapies, oral contraceptive pills and serotonergic drugs have been proven to be effective.