three stepsIn our culture today, “PMS” is a kind of shorthand for the crazy things women do when it's almost “that time of the month.” It's even jokingly used as a verb, i.e., “She's PMS-ing.” But PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, isn't funny. It's a real health issue for many women and it should be treated.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 85 percent of women have experienced at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome, which is the physical and emotional changes that occur in the days before a woman's period.  The symptoms of PMS can range from mood swings, irritability and feeling overwhelmed to sleep problems, anxietyand depression.

While most women experience typical symptoms of PMS, about 5 percent suffer from a more-serious form called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) that can cause major disruptions of work and family life.

So, what's the best way to beat your PMS? Here's a three-step action plan:

Track It
Premenstrual syndrome is hard enough to live with, but it's almost impossible to know how to treat your PMS unless you track it. To help your doctor get a clear picture of what you're experiencing, you should keep a daily log of your PMS symptoms, whether those are physical or emotional. Do this for at least two months.

Treat It
An effective treatment for PMS might be getting more calcium and folic acid as part of a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Taking fish oil supplements may also help to ease the symptoms of PMS. Exercise such as yoga, running or even dancing can help to reduce the moodiness and depression associated with PMS.

Some women find that using hormone-based contraceptives like birth control pills can alleviate premenstrual problems because it suppresses ovulation. More serious symptoms of PMS or PMDD may call for treatment with an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.

Talk About It
One treatment for PMS is cognitive therapy, when you talk with a therapist about the symptoms you're experiencing and learn ways to retrain your thinking to lessen the effects of PMS. It can also be helpful to join a support group with other women who experience PMS. The members encourage each other to make lifestyle changes with diet and exercise that can ease the symptoms of PMS.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax