The use of a remedy for PMS – premenstrual tension, relives the symptoms, leaving the woman calmer and calmer as time goes by. For it to have the expected effect, it should be taken according to the guidance of a gynaecologist. Examples of these remedies are birth control pills and natural tranquilizers such as passiflora and passion fruit juice.
However, these medications should not be used without consulting with the doctor because they have side effects and contraindications that must always be noted. In addition, the remedies prescribed may vary according to the symptoms experienced by each woman.
The most commonly used remedies for PMS are:
Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed remedy by the physician for the control of PMS. They include serotonin reuptake inhibitors (IRSS) that include fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine. During PMS, chemical changes will occur in the brain and this will reduce the amount of serotonin, a substance that is responsible for regulation of mood, sleep, appetite and the feeling of well being. Antidepressants usually act directly on the brain and they purpose to increase the amount of serotonin hence reducing the symptoms of tiredness, irritability, binge eating and insomnia.
Main side effects: The most common side-effects of these types of anti-depressants include nausea, reduced libido, tremors and anxiety. In general, these effects usually arise at the onset of treatment especially in the first 15 days and they often disappear with time.
Anxiolytics, also called tranquilizers, are prescribed for the control of PMS for a short period of time. These remedies enable the person to relax, reduces anxiety, tension or irritability. The most preferred anxiolytic by the doctor is alprazolam. However, due to its side effects, it not recommended for prolonged use.
Main side effects: Anxiolytics can result to over dependency effect and also tolerance. This is because it is required in higher doses so as to achieve the desired effect. In addition, they can also decrease alertness and affect coordination.
Anxiolytics should not be taken by people who suffer from glaucoma and lactating mothers because it can be passed to the baby via the milk.
3. Oral contraceptives
Birth control pill purpose to stabilize hormonal variations that usually occur between menstrual periods. The most preferred contraceptive pill for PMS is Yaz (etinylestradiol and drosperidone). Drosperidone has the same effectiveness as spironolactone which is diuretic and it reduces swelling that preceded menstruation.
Main side effects: The most common side effects of Yaz are mood swings, depression, migraine, nausea and bleeding in between menstrual period.
Yaz should not be taken by people who have a history of attack by thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or cardiovascular disease.
4. Progesterone Injection
This injection acts by temporarily stopping menstruation. The most preferred injection is Depo-Provera (doxyprogesterone). It should be taken every three months in the buttock muscle.
Main side effects: The most common side effects of this injection are minor bleeding and weight gain that is brought about by fluid retention.
Depo-Provera should not be taken by pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, anyone with suspected or proven breast cancer, or anyone who has liver diseases and women who have a history of thrombosis.
5. Hormonal implants
Hormonal implants are a type of contraceptives method that is used to stabilize hormonal variations that usually occur between menstrual periods and interrupt menstruation. For this reason, they function to reduce the symptoms of PMS. The advantages of using this method is that there is better hormonal control because the women using it will avoid forgetting to take the contraceptive pill and it is also a good alternative for women who cannot use oestrogens.
There are two types of hormonal implants that can be used:
- Subcutaneous implant: Include Implanom or Organom and they are used in the form of a small stick, which is inserted under the skin of the arm. The refore, the hormone etonogestrel is released in small amounts, gradually for up to 3 years. The implants Implanom or Organom ahould be inserted and removed only by a doctor.
- Main side effects: The most common side effects include acne, irregular menstruation, weight gain, tenderness of breast that is often accompanied by pain.
- Intrauterine implant: Mirena is an intrauterine contraceptive implant that is shaped like a T. It contains the hormone levonorgestrel that is usually released gradually in small doses directly into the uterus for a maximum period of 5 years. It should only be inserted and removed by a doctor.
- Main side effects: The most common side effcets include headache, cramps that come especially in the first month of its use, increased or decreased menstruation, depression, nausea, genital infection as well as acne.
Just like oral contraceptives, hormonal implants should not be used by women who are suspected to be pregnant or those who are pregnant. Moreover, women who have a history of thrombosis and suspected or proven breast cancer should also not use it.
Natural Remedies Options for PMS
There are herbal medicines and vitamin supplements that are a great option for women who have milder symptoms of PMS or those who prefer to treat themselves with natural alternatives.
Valerian functions as a natural anxiolytic, and it reduces the anxiety caused by PMS, without causing any sleep. It can be purchased from pharmacies and drug stores in form of tablets. Valerian should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women.
Although it can be consumed in the form of tea, it is best to take valerian in form of tablets. In this case, 2 to 3 coated tablets should be taken 1 to 3 times a day.
Passiflora, just like valerian, it reduces anxiety, which is a common symptom during PMS, without causing any sleep. Passiflora can be purchased from pharmacies and drugstores in the form of tablets or oral solution. The tablets contain lactose as part of their composition and they are not recommended for people with lactose intolerance.
The recommended dose is usually 2 tablets, taken one to three times a day or a 5ml oral solution taken one to three times a day.
Also known as Hypericum perforatum or St. John’s Wort, this remedy acts as an anti-depressant, reduces anxiety, relieves fatigue and insomnia, which are the common symptoms of PMS. The hypericão can be taken in the form of tea or coated tablets and it should not be taken by pregnant women or nursing women.
It can be consumed in the form of tea, therefore the best option for PMS is to take it in form of tablets. Therefore, the recommended dose is 1 tablet taken 1 to 3 times a day.
4. Vitex agnus-castus
Vitex agnus-castus is used as a dry extract, and it has anti-inflammatory and ant-microbial activity. It functions by increasing progesterone levels in the body which regulates hormonal variations that occur during PMS. It therefore reduces the symptoms of PMS such as anxiety, nervous tension and colic and it also regulates the menstrual cycle.
Dry extract of Vitex agnus-castus can be purchased from pharmacies and drug stores in form of tablets. It should not be taken by women who are breastfeeding.
The recommended dose is usually one 40mg tablet per day, first thing in the morning before breakfast.
5. Cimicifuga racemosa
Cimicifuga racemosa is used to reduce the symptoms of PMS such as anxiety, tension and depression. Phytoestrogen is used as it acts as a natural control of PMS by reducing the changes that occur due to hormones. Cemicifuga racemosa should not be taken by pregnant and lactating mothers or women who are suspected or who have breast cancer. It can be purchased in form of tablets from pharmacies or drug stores.
The recommended dose of Cimicifuga racemosa is 1 tablet twice daily.
6. Gamaline V (Borago officinallis)
Gamaline V is a herbal medicine that has isaxic acid (GLA) as part of its composition. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which aid in the improvement of the regulation of the immune system, hence reducing the symptoms of PMS such as pain and swelling of the breasts. Gamaline V is sold in form of capsules and some its side effects include diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal discomfort.
The recommended dose of Gamaline V is 1 capsule per day.
7. Onagra oil
Onagra oil, also known as primrose oil, is a remedy rich in gamma linoleic acid that acts on the female hormone leaving the woman calmer during PMS. Onagra oil can be purchased from pharmacies and drug stores in the form of capsules and it has no contraindications or adverse side effects.
The recommended dose is 1 capsule taken at lunch time and another at dinner time.
In addition to onagra oil, borage oil can also be used to relieve the symptoms of PMS.
8. Vitamin supplements
For mild symptoms of PMS, vitamin supplements such as Vitamin B (40 to 100 mg per day), calcium carbonate (1,200 to 1,600 mg per day), vitamin E (400 to 60 IU aodia) and magnesium (200 to 360 mg up to 3 times a day) can be used.
Vitamins function to reduce the symptoms of PMS by keeping the body well nourished and balanced. Vitamin supplements can be bought from pharmacies and drug stores in form of capsules or tablets.
Another natural source of vitamins is found in food.