Health and Beauty
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
(PMS) is one of the oldest and most common afflictions known to women
and, secondarily, to men. "When my wife has PMS, she's not the only one
who suffers!" For most women, symptoms are usually mild -- fatigue,
irritability, anxiety and bloating. But for some, PMS is not mild, it's
debilitating -- causing severe depression, panic attacks, and even
Advice in the past has
been less than helpful because of the large range of symptoms of a
nonspecific nature. Physicians have prescribed progesterone to alleviate
symptoms, but double-blind studies by the NIH show that the hormone is
no better than a placebo. Over-the-counter drugs are also of little
So, what does
The one remedy that seems to help is exercise. When women do moderate
exercise five times a week for at least 30 minutes a session, their
symptoms are significantly reduced. Because long, steady exercise causes
a release of endorphins, it makes sense to keep the level "pumped up,"
so to speak, during the last two weeks of the cycle. Continuous
production of endorphins appears to diminish the PMS symptoms.
It's been shown that occasional small sugar snacks are effective in
relieving the milder symptoms. To avoid fluctuations in blood sugar
levels, don't skip meals. Eat small frequent meals instead. Eat the same
amount of food you normally would, but spread it out. Have three small
meals and mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
sugars and include fiber:
It is better to limit simple sugars than to try to avoid them. It's okay
to have some sugar, but don't have it on an empty stomach, for that
could trigger a binge. Instead, have a dessert with your meal. It sounds
strange, but it's better to eat dessert during the middle of a meal than
at the end. Having something sweet at the end of a meal may lead you to
want more sugar. If you eat the sweet mid meal, the craving is
satisfied. Be sure to include fiber and protein with each meal to slow
the digestion and absorption of the sugar.
Some women experience alcohol intolerance during the last two weeks of
their cycle; they show signs of intoxication with only two drinks when
it usually takes five or six to produce the same effects.
Finally, sodium is not as big an issue as it once was, but if you're
bothered by fluid retention and breast swelling or tenderness, then
limit your sodium and avoid adding salt.
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