Help and Support for Premenstrual Syndrome

"A guide to alternative treatments for PMS and PMDD and links to latest scientific research."
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    More than 70% of women suffer from premenstrual syndrome and most assume that they should just put up with it. I'm tired of being told that I should suffer though and as a result have become a bit obsessive in my search for a cure!!! I suffer mainly from mood-related PMS symptoms (mood swings, fatigue, irritability, paranoia, headaches, low self esteem, social withdrawal, sensitivity etc….) and painful abdominal cramps during period. These symptoms have lasted for up to 2 and a half weeks on a bad month. I tried many alternative treatments which didn't seem to help before seeing my GP about my PMS. This site is really just a way for me to collate all the information I've found but i hope it will be useful to other women too!

    Be warned, there are a lot of websites who make unfactual claims about the causes of PMS and the efficiacy of treatments. The cause of PMS is still unknown although there are plenty of theories. Most agree that hormone levels are normal in PMS sufferers but their brains are abnormally sensitive to monthly fluctuations in hormone levels and this affects neurtransmitter levels. Doctors don't really understand the condition. Most treatments which claim to be scientifically proven are actually quite controversial so the only option is to try different things and see what works for you.

    The main drug treatments offered in UK for PMS are contraceptive pills and SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Often contraceptive pills will agravate mood-related symptoms rather than curing them. Also contraceptive pills affect absorption of the B vitamins which are essential for stabilising hormone levels, or so i've read.  I started getting tension headaches after a period of time on the combined pill, whereas progestin-only pills made me suicidally depressed and tired all month round. My PMS was worse while on these pills and the symptoms persisted for months after coming off them. However some women say contraceptives help.

    SSRI’s (e.g. Prozac/Sarafem) are a type of anti-depressants and can have very distressing side-effects. SSRI’s will treat PMS symptoms only while you are taking the drug. At age 24, I don’t see SSRI's as a solution for me. Quote "Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine are better than placebo, with improvement occurring in the first month, but symptoms return to baseline after cessation of treatment" from 22nd Annual meeting of the Canadian College of Neurophyschopharmacology. I would only recomend anti-depressants as a last resort, if you really cannot cope as the side-effects might be worse than your PMS!
Here is an article on SSRI treatment for PMS with quote from Eli Lilly (makers of SSRI fluoxetine):

    Your doctor may also suggest counselling. This is offered at PMS clinics and is apparently very helpful for PMS. I haven't tried this yet as I know my PMS is biological in origin and so fail to see the usefulness of counselling but thats just me!

    There are many supplements and herbal remedies which may reduce PMS symptoms. I’ve listed the alternative treatments I’ve found helpful for each symptom, most sites don't specify which symptoms are treated with their product which is annoying since PMS stands for a wide range of symptoms and syndrome means "different causes"! Also I’ve included a section on the latest scientific research on PMS/PMDD, with links.

    *PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is the acronym for the more severe form of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). "Like PMS, PMDD occurs the week before the onset of menstruation and disappears a few days after. PMDD is characterised by severe monthly mood swings and physical symptoms that interfere with everyday life, especially a woman’s relationships with her family and friends. PMDD symptoms go far beyond what are considered manageable or normal premenstrual symptoms."

    Some (US) sites recommend the following tests:
 “A thorough physical exam including gynecological examination is recommended in the assessment of all women being evaluated for PMS. Organic causes of PMS-like symptoms must be ruled out. Marked fatigue may result from anemia, leukemia, hypothyroidism, or diuretic-induced potassium deficiency. Headaches may be due to intracranial lesions. Women attending PMS clinics have been found to have brain tumours, anemia, leukemia, thyroid dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders, pelvic tumours including endometriosis, and other recurrent premenstrual phenomena such as arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, and pneumothorax (20).”
It may be worth enquiring with your GP about these tests.


Advice on supplements and health:
Pharmacology of drugs:

Site on depression:
Office of dietary supplements:
Clinical trials for PMS:
Public Watchdog on health issues:
National Centre for Alternative and Complementary medicine:
Medical Dictionary:

RX-List information on any drug (US):
Information on any drug (UK):
Another health site (not sure of validity):
Ask a dietician:

PubMed Search for research abstracts:

HerbMed Search for information on alternative medicines/herbs:

Food Standards Agency (UK):

OBGYN site:
Books on PMS from Amazon:
American Nutraceutical Association:

If you have any comments or want to chat about PMS! you can post a message on my yahoo pms-resource group which is at:

**The information on this site has been collected from various sources and I have cross checked information across many different websites to try to include only factual information. However I am not a doctor so these are just suggestions which I hope work for you. Also I am a great believer in making dietary changes before turning to drugs as drugs always have side-effects.