Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuidePremenstrual Syndrome Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to PMS Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Premenstrual Syndrome Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to PMS Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Are there herbal or natural remedies for PMS?

The fruit of the chasteberry tree (Vitex agnus castus) was shown in limited studies to relieve some of the symptoms of PMS. However, further studies are needed to clarify this association and to determine the value of chasteberry fruit as a potential therapy for PMS. Since herbal preparations are not regulated by the US FDA, caution is warranted when taking this or any kind of over-the-counter supplement. While evening primrose oil and gingko biloba are plant extracts that have been promoted by some as remedies for PMS, there is no evidence that these products are effective, and they are not recommended.

Vitamin supplementation with calcium, magnesium have been shown in some trials to help alleviate symptoms of PMS, and may have some benefit. Taking calcium and magnesium supplements may help some women. It is always important to recommend guidelines when taking vitamin supplements, since taking excess of some supplements may be harmful.

Can exercise help relieve some of the symptoms of PMS?

Evidence suggests that exercise can help relieve some of the symptoms of PMS in adolescents young women. Physical activity improves general health and helps relieve nervous tension and anxiety. Exercise is believed to release endorphins. Endorphins contribute to euphoric feelings such as the "runner's high" experienced after prolonged exercise. Endorphins are chemical messengers for nerves (neurotransmitters) that affect mood, perception of pain, memory retention and learning.

Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and improves overall fitness by increasing the body's ability to use oxygen. Swimming, walking, and dancing are "low-impact" aerobic activities. They avoid the muscle and joint pounding of more "high-impact" exercises like jogging and jumping rope. Benefits include cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, weight loss or control, decrease in fluid retention, and increase in self-esteem.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2015
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  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - Effective Treatments

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