The first step in learning to manage PMS is to keep a menstrual diary(What is a PDF document?). Write down what kind of symptoms you have, how severe they are, when you have your period, and when you ovulate. This can help you identify patterns in your cycle and plan ahead to better cope with the symptoms.
- Try one or two at a time, instead of all of them at the same time. This will help you find which measures are most helpful.
- Try a measure for two to three menstrual cycles. If it doesn't seem to be helping, try something else.
Practice healthy habits
- Get at least 2½ hours of moderate exercise a week. Exercise may help relieve tension, pain, and mood-related PMS symptoms.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods, especially foods rich in calcium. Include whole grains, protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and salt.
- Quit smoking, if you smoke.
- Use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce menstrual bleeding. Try to start taking an NSAID 1 or 2 days before you expect pain to start. NSAIDs work best when taken before and at regular intervals throughout the days you have pain.
- Wear a more supportive bra, such as a sports bra, when your breasts are tender.
- Try some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, or massage therapy.
- Practice better time management, and get enough sleep.
- Create a support system. Join a support group of women who are managing PMS. With your loved ones, plan ways to reduce the demands placed on you when you have PMS.