Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Tips to Help Ease Symptoms – includes a free patient information PDF!

Download the free patient handout PDF near the end of this article!

hot water bottlePremenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a natural part of the menstrual cycle (your period). PMS symptoms vary greatly from woman to woman, or even from cycle to cycle. PMS usually starts 7 to 14 days before your period and stops shortly after you begin your period.

Symptoms of PMS

  • Acne
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Bloating, water retention or weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Crying spells or depression
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling hungry
  • Feeling irritable, tense or anxious
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Mood swings
  • Not feeling as interested in sex
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Feeling tired or trouble sleeping

Tips to Lessen PMS

    You can print copies of this PDF handout for your patients, to reinforce what you have told them.
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  • Eat healthy foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Cut back on sugar and fat.
  • Cut down on salt and foods high in salt for the few days before your period.
  • Cut back on caffeine to help with tension, irritability, and breast soreness.
  • Cut out alcohol before your period as it can make you feel more depressed.
  • Take a multivitamin that has 400 micrograms of folic acid.
  • Get plenty of sleep -- about 8 hours a night.
  • Keep to a regular schedule of meals, bedtime, and exercise.
  • Try to schedule stressful events for the week after your period.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen can help ease cramps, headaches, backaches and breast tenderness. For more severe PMS talk to your health care provider about other medication.

Used with permission from the Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS)