There are many jokes and funny renditions in books and movies about PMS or premenstrual stress related mood swings; but it is no laughing matter. PMS is real and affects nearly 80% of young women. Mood swings and depression resulting from premenstrual stress can indeed be formidable. In 8% of women, PMS can even turn into PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Symptoms of PMS include: breast tenderness, bloating, mood changes just before the woman’s menstrual flow begins. PMDD, on the other hand is characterized by marked tension and irritability, increased conflicts with family members/colleagues, loss of interest in activities, marked appetite changes, sleeping too much or too little etc. These symptoms can greatly impact quality of life and can even interfere with school and work.
Today, we will study some easy ways to deal with PMS.
1. Take SSRIs or Antidepressants
This is the easiest way of dealing with severe PMS. Doctors prescribe SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are a form of antidepressants. Women with severe symptoms of PMDD can take these for 2 weeks before their period is due. Zoloft and Paxil are common SSRIs which are known to show good results in helping with anxiety, irritation, anger and other PMS mood changes. In some women, these drugs could cause side effects like nausea, drowsiness, sexual problems etc. So it is best to start with the lowest dose and increase it slightly if needed. Your doctor can guide you further.
2. Take calcium supplements
One of the most important of all PMS supplements is Calcium. Calcium helps reduce symptoms of PMS and apart from helping with mood swings and bloating; can also prevent osteoporosis. You must also take Magnesium along with calcium to facilitate its absorption.
3. Limit alcohol, caffeine and salt
Alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating as well as stimulating. They give a temporary high followed by a crash or low and increase fatigue and tiredness. Foods like salt lead to water retention and bloating. So, for a week leading up to your menstruation, avoid or limit these ingredients. If you want to deal with pms depression, stay away from stimulants and follow a healthy, natural and balanced diet. Drink plenty of herbal, decaffeinated or green teas.
4. Avoid sugar and focus on complex carbs
Sugar cravings are very common in the week leading up to one’s period. But it is best to avoid sugar as it can aggravate PMS mood swings. Sugar also leads to hormonal imbalance. Apart from avoiding sugar, you must also limit simple carbohydrates. Focus on a diet rich in complex carbs instead such as whole grains, brown rice etc. This is very important to reduce pms symptoms naturally.
5. Regular exercise
Exercise is a must for preventing PMS symptoms. Activities like swimming, walking, jogging etc can make you healthier in mind and body and help you cope better with mood swings.
6. Relaxation techniques
Doctors also recommend relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises for combating premenstrual mood swings. These are the best natural remedies for pms hormonal imbalance.
7. Therapy and counseling
For severe PMDD cases, one may consider supportive counseling, interpersonal therapies, cognitive behavior therapy and group therapy for depression. These can, over time, help make pms mood swings go away.
Lifestyle remedies are the best to manage PMS. They include changing the way you live. Follow a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, balanced nutrition and positive emotional outlook. Here are some more ways to deal with PMS depression and mood swings:
- Eat small, frequent meals. Avoid loading yourself up with too much food.
- Opt for whole grains, salads, cereals, oats, popcorn etc. Take at least 5 servings of fruits daily.
- Increase your calcium intake by eating low fat dairy, broccoli, kale, and collard greens.
- Also increase Magnesium intake which helps prevent bloating, tenderness and cramps. Spinach, broccoli, whole grain cereals, seafood are some natural sources of magnesium.
- Do not drink caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, colas as well as foods like chocolate. Caffeine gives you a buzz but follows with a ‘low’. It also increases irritability, anxiety, breast tenderness etc.
- Cut back on salt. Many canned foods are filled with salt like canned soups, vegetables and beans etc.
- Do not let sugar cross your lips. It works like caffeine to give you a temporary high followed by a crash. This leaves you tired and disinterested in activities. Also stay away from artificial sweeteners.
- Do take up regular exercise.
- Meditate and/or take up yoga –they can help control PMS anger.
These are some of the proven ways to stop pms mood swings.