Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name for some uncomfortable changes that can happen to women at a certain time of the month. This is the time between when your body releases an egg (ovulation) and the first days of your period.

Doctors don't know why some women have PMS and others don't. They also don't know why some women have worse symptoms than others.

There are different symptoms of PMS. You may have bloating or muscle aches. You may also feel moody or have trouble sleeping. Some women crave certain foods.

Any of these symptoms can get in the way of how well you feel. They may also affect your work or your relationships. Home treatments and medicines can help you feel better.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take anti-inflammatory medicines if your body aches or your breasts are sore. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Some foods and drinks can make symptoms worse. Try to avoid or drink less caffeine or alcohol during the time you have PMS or several days before you expect to have symptoms. You may also want to avoid or eat less chocolate and salt then too.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Include plenty of water, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of physical activity a week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking calcium and magnesium supplements. These may help relieve PMS symptoms.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: February 25, 2016