Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. It is one of the most common conditions affecting women of childbearing age. Approximately 85 percent of women have one or more symptoms of PMS.
Years ago, the symptoms of PMS were dismissed as being psychological. Today, however, it is recognized there are a number of factors involved in causing the notorious symptoms, including hormonal and biochemical imbalances, diet, and environment. Today’s woman is now looking for natural ways to relieve her PMS symptoms and these can include hormone vitamins, minerals and herbs.
The symptoms of PMS often start a few days to a week before the menstrual cycle and then disappear after menstruation. They vary greatly among women in both severity and the number of symptoms experienced.
Common signs and symptoms include:
• Breast swelling and tenderness
• Changes in appetite and/or food cravings
• Crying spells
• Depression and anxiety
• Lower abdominal bloating and pain
• Mood swings and irritability
• Weight gain from fluid retention
While the symptoms of PMS can be distressing, there are a number of lifestyle measures and hormone vitamins, minerals and herbs that can greatly improve both the physical and emotional symptoms.
Calcium: Studies have found that calcium can significantly reduce mood swings, pain, bloating, depression, back pain, and food cravings. Dosage: 1,000–1,500 mg daily.
Magnesium: Some research suggests that it may help emotional symptoms and headaches. Combining magnesium with vitamin B6 may improve results. Dosage: 250 mg twice daily.
Vitamin B6: Has been widely used for PMS, although studies have yielded mixed results. It may work best in those with a deficiency of B6 or when used along with magnesium. Dos- age: Take 50–100 mg as part of a B-complex product.
Chasteberry: An herb that is widely used in Europe. It helps balance hormone levels and reduces symptoms of irritability, depression, headaches, and breast tenderness. Dosage: 150–300 mg daily.