premenstrual Syndrome Misery

Years ago, premenstrual syndrome wasn’t taken seriously. Today that’s all changed. It is now recognized by doctors as an emotional and physical disorder that affects a woman’s ability to function. There are steps women can take to alleviate some of the discomfort.

Brandi Martin has her hands full juggling a family and a career as a nurse. But for a few days each month, things seem out of control. “One minute I’m OK or really happy, and the next minute I’m screaming and yelling,” says Brandi.

Brandi isn’t alone. Eighty percent of all women suffer from premenstrual syndrome – or PMS. PMS occurs during the two weeks before menstruation. Symptoms include mood swings, angry outbursts, crying spells and food cravings… also breast tenderness, bloating, swelling, headache and acne.

Irwin Kerber, M.D., is a gynecologist with the Presbyterian Healthcare System in Dallas, Tex. “I think the biggest thing is women used to be embarrassed about this and think they should be able to control their emotions, but they really can’t,” he says.

But there are some things women can do to help ease the misery. Decrease carbohydrates, spicy foods, sugar, salt and caffeine. Try over the counter remedies, diuretics, herbs and vitamin B-6. And if you’re depressed, mood elevators such as Zoloft and Prozac may offer relief. Doctors may prescribe Xanax to reduce anxiety.

Irwin Kerber, M.D., “Of all the medications that I’ve tried, all the treatments that I’ve tried, I still find exercise to be the best remedy.”

Exercise does work for some, but doctors say it may take trial and error to find the best remedy. Before trying anything new, check with your doctor first.

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