Up to 85 percent of women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome during their childbearing years. While symptoms vary, common ones include:
- Tender breasts
- Swelling in feet, hands and ankles
- Abdominal pain
- Weight gain
- Anxiety and depression.
Despite research efforts, the exact causes of PMS are not known. PMS is a medical condition that should be diagnosed by your doctor or other health-care provider. If PMS is diagnosed or suspected, your health-care provider may ask you to keep a symptom log, in which physical, mental and emotional changes are recorded for two to three months. Keeping a record can help pinpoint a diagnosis and answer questions such as: How long do symptoms last? When do they occur? Do certain foods or lifestyle behaviors trigger them? Does weight gain happen at a certain time in your cycle?
Diet and PMS
Although PMS cannot be prevented, smart food choices may help relieve some of the symptoms.
These strategies may help:
- Eat less salt to help decrease bloating and fluid build-up.
- Cut down on caffeine and alcohol.
- Limit foods high in solid fats and added sugars.
- Eat an overall healthy diet including high-fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables and calcium-rich foods like low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Physical activity may offer benefits. Walk, bike or jog on most days of the week.
Reviewed January 2013