· For menstrual cramps
You may be able to reduce your discomfort from dysmenorrhea by
using an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
(NSAID), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or
naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox). Self-care strategies also may help
relieve discomfort. For severe cramping, your doctor might recommend
low-dose oral contraceptives to prevent ovulation, which may reduce
the production of prostaglandins and therefore the severity of
You can also reduce the discomfort of primary dysmenorrhea.
Once the pain begins, soaking in a hot bath or using a heating
pad on your abdomen may ease your cramps. You also can make some
lifestyle changes to improve your overall health and possibly
decrease the severity of your cramps. Try following these tips:
· Exercise regularly.
Exercise results in an increased release of endorphins, your body's
· Get adequate rest.
Your body may be less vulnerable to pain when you're well rested.
For secondary dysmenorrhea, you'll need treatment for the underlying
cause. Sometimes a disease or condition, such as uterine fibroids
or endometriosis, causes the pain. Treatment depends on what is
causing the problem and how severe it is. Depending on the cause,
treatment could include antibiotics to treat infection or surgery
to remove fibroids or polyps.
In recent years, much has been learned about PMS. Lifestyle adjustments
and treatments can help you reduce or manage your signs and symptoms.
Managing your lifestyle can sometimes reduce the symptoms of PMS
by making changes in the way you eat, exercise and approach daily
life. Try these steps:
Change your diet -
· Avoid caffeine.
· Avoid alcohol.
· Eat smaller, more frequent meals each day to reduce bloating
and the sensation of fullness.
· Limit salt and salty foods to reduce bloating and fluid
· Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits,
vegetables and whole grains.
· Choose foods rich in calcium. If you can't tolerate dairy
products or aren't getting adequate calcium in your diet, you
may need a daily calcium supplement or take a daily multivitamin
supplement. See below:
- Calcium. Consuming
1,200 milligrams (mg) of dietary and supplemental calcium, such
as chewable calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids, others), may reduce
the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. Regular, long-term
use of calcium carbonate also reduces your risk of osteoporosis.
- Magnesium. Taking
200 mg of magnesium daily may help to reduce fluid retention,
breast tenderness and bloating in women with PMS.
- Vitamin B-6. A daily
dose of 50 to 100 mg of vitamin B-6 may help some women with troublesome
- Vitamin E. This
vitamin, taken in 400 international units daily, may ease PMS
symptoms by reducing the production of prostaglandin, hormone-like
substances that cause cramps and breast tenderness.
Some women report relief of PMS symptoms with the
use of herbs such as black cohosh, ginger, red raspberry leaf,
dandelion tea, chaste tree berry and evening primrose oil. However,
few scientific studies prove the effectiveness of herbs thought
to help reduce the effects of PMS. Check with your doctor before
taking any herb or dietary supplement.
Regular exercise routine -
Regular daily exercise can help improve your overall health and
alleviate symptoms such as fatigue and a depressed mood. Engage
in activities you may enjoy like brisk walking, cycling, swimming
or other aerobic activity at least 30 to 60 minutes most days
of the week.
Manage stress -
· Get plenty of sleep.
· Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep-breathing
exercises to help reduce headaches, anxiety or trouble sleeping
Some of the more common complementary products and
remedies used to soothe the symptoms of PMS also include:
· Natural progesterone
creams. These are derived from wild yams and soybeans.
Some women report that these creams relieve symptoms. No scientific
studies prove their effectiveness.
Keep a record to identify the triggers and timing
of your symptoms. This will allow you to intervene with strategies
that may help to lessen them.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications for PMS. The
success of medications in relieving symptoms varies from woman
to woman. Commonly prescribed medications for PMS include:
· Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Taken before or at the onset of your period, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen
(Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can ease cramping
and breast discomfort.
· Oral contraceptives
These stop ovulation and stabilize hormonal swings, thereby offering
relief from PMS symptoms.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include
fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline
(Zoloft), have been successful in reducing symptoms such as fatigue,
food cravings and sleep problems. These drugs are generally taken
daily. But for some women with PMS, use of antidepressants may
be limited to the two weeks before menstruation begins.
· Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera)
For severe PMS or PMDD, this injection can be used to temporarily
stop ovulation. However, Depo-Provera may cause an increase in
some signs and symptoms of PMS, such as increased appetite, weight
gain, headache and depressed mood.
Treatment for severe PMS or PMDD is similar to that
of PMS, but may be more intense.