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October 30, 2020 04:00am
By Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
There are many OTC products to keep women healthy.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical, emotional/mood, and/or behavioral symptoms that a woman experiences 1 to 2 weeks before her menstrual cycle begins. An estimated 3 of every 4 menstruating women experience some form of PMS every month; symptoms typically improve significantly or disappear when menses starts. PMS symptoms are likely to peak during your late 20s and early 30s and tend to recur in a predictable pattern every month. For some women, the symptoms are so intense that they negatively impact their overall of quality of life. This type of PMS is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of PMS vary from person to person, but common symptoms include the following:
In PMDD, the symptoms are more severe and include at least 1 emotional or behavioral symptom, such as anxiety, depression, extreme mood swings, or irritability.
The exact cause of PMS is unknown, but research has identified several factors that may cause or contribute to PMS symptoms:
Tests and Diagnosis
To diagnose PMS or PMDD, your doctor will question you about your medical history and your symptoms; to confirm a diagnosis, there must be a pattern to your symptoms. Your doctor may order medical tests to rule out other conditions.
strong>Prevention and Management
The cause of PMS is unknown, so there is no way to prevent it. By incorporating various lifestyle modifications, however, you may be able to alleviate the severity of symptoms you experience:
Treatment and Care
Treatment for PMS is typically tailored to meet your specific needs and may require a combination of therapies. As a first line of therapy, treatment may include implementation of nonpharmacologic measures, including lifestyle and dietary modifications, regular exercise, and stress-reduction techniques. Your doctor may suggest the use of OTC analgesics for headaches, back pain, and cramps. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to manage certain symptoms and will decide the best treatment for you.
Homeopathic and Alternative Remedies
Many individuals elect to use alternative remedies for relief of PMS symptoms, including herbal remedies and homeopathic medicine. Alternative remedies may include the following:
It is important to discuss the use of alternative remedies or supplements with your doctor before using them to ascertain the appropriateness of use.
A variety of OTC products can help manage and treat the common symptoms associated with PMS. These include analgesics, diuretics, vitamins and minerals, and herbal products that contain evening primrose oil, chasteberry, or black cohosh. A pharmacist can guide you in the proper selection of these products. To prevent drug interactions or contraindications, patients should inform the pharmacist of all other medications they are taking.
Resources for Patients
Resources for Health Care Professionals