Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a collection of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. The most severe form of PMS is called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) which symptoms can include severe depression, irritability, and tension. If taking medication such as Serafem, an FDA approved drug that fights the symptoms of PMS/PMDD, isn’t for you, here are some tips that have proved helpful to many women:

-       Research has proven that you can reduce approximately half of all symptoms (including mood swings, depression, and menstrual cramps) of PMS by simply consuming 1200 mg of calcium daily. Calcium, which helps to prevent osteoporosis, is an important nutrient for women of all ages.

-       Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to reduce, or sometimes eliminate, PMS.  Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.

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-       Dietary changes may also help to reduce the symptoms of PMS.  Try following a low-fat vegetarian diet or reducing your intake of refined sugar, salt, red meat, alcohol, and caffeine.  Increasing your consumption of green vegetables, fruit, and whole grains has proven helpful for many women.

-       Over-the-counter treatments such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and Midol may help to relieve premenstrual symptoms.  Try to stay away from Aspirin because of its potential to increase the length and severity of menstrual bleeding.

PMS affects many women to some extent during their reproductive years and it’s estimated that severe PMS affects about 5% of women. The exact symptoms and severity vary from person to person and from month to month.