Herbal remedies for depression, PMS & hot flashes - Herbal treatments
How to Treat PMS with Herbal Remedies
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is essentially the result of the hormonal changes that occur during a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.These hormonal changes can cause a variety of problems in the body, including depression, mood swings, fatigue, and cramps. These symptoms can vary in severity, from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle, but are often both physical and emotional.In order to treat it, you need to address both the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS.
Assessing Your PMS
Gauge whether you have emotional PMS symptoms.For most women with PMS, the symptoms of appear about 4-5 days before the start of the menstrual period. Emotional problems that can be symptoms of PMS include one or more of the following:
- Depressed mood
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
- Irritability or anger
- Appetite changes
- Food cravings
- Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
- Social withdrawal
- Poor concentration
Assess your physical symptoms of PMS.These can vary greatly from woman to woman, and can even change from month to month. Physical symptoms of PMS include:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Weight gain related to fluid retention
- Abdominal bloating
- Breast pain or tenderness
- Acne flare-ups
- Constipation or diarrhea
Determine whether you might have premenstrual dysphoric disorder.Some PMS symptoms can be so severe that they are disabling. This type of severe PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
- The symptoms of PMDD include depression, mood swings, anger, anxiety, a sense of being overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension.
- If your symptoms are severe enough to limit what you can do at least one day a month, see your physician. You can also try the approaches given here, but if you are under a physician’s treatment make certain you tell them what you are doing.
Using Herbal Remedies to Treat PMS
Consider using herbs to treat your PMS.Recently, many of traditional herbal treatments have been rigorously studied and found to be effective in relieving some of the symptoms of PMS. This is not surprising to some, as these herbs have been used by women for hundreds of years.
- Let your physician know that you are using remedies to treat your PMS.
- If you don’t see any results after 3-4 cycles, make an appointment to see your physician to discuss other alternatives.
- For all these herbs, follow manufacturer’s instructions. Dosages can vary depending on how the herbs are prepared.
Take chasteberry.Chasteberry is also known as Vitex agnus castus. It has been shown to reduce breast tenderness, swelling (edema), mood swings, depression and headache.
Eat maca.Maca is a root plant grown in the Andean mountains and used for centuries to balance hormones during PMS and for menopausal symptoms. Recent studies have indicated that it can help relieve symptoms of PMS possibly by increasing progesterone levels.
Add evening primrose oil to your diet.Evening primrose oil contains a fatty acid, gamma linoleic acid or GLA, that is used by the body to make anti-inflammatory substances. It has been shown to be helpful in treating breast pain is some small studies.
Eat wild yam.Wild yam has traditionally been used for intestinal, labor, and menstrual pain. While it is up to some debate it it helps with PMS, it has been shown to help with high estrogen levels.
Take black cohosh.Black cohosh has been shown to be most helpful to treat PMS symptoms. These include irritability, depression, anxiety, and insomnia in PMS.
Take ginkgo biloba.Ginkgo biloba is one of the most commonly used herbs to treat mental difficulties, such as difficulty in concentrating and memory issues. However, ginkgo has also been shown to be a mild diuretic and relieves symptoms of swelling, breast tenderness, and bloating.
Use St.John's wort. St John’s wort is used to treat the physical and behavioral symptoms of PMS.It does make oral contraceptives less effective as a method of birth control, so if you use St John’s wort, you may want to consider another method of birth control.
Drink dandelion leaf tea.Dandelion leaf has been used for centuries to relieve the swelling and bloating associated with PMS. Dandelion leaf is best taken as a tea.
Take several types of herbs.There are a number of formulations, combinations of herbs, used to treat PMS. These can be beneficial for many symptoms of PMS.
Treating PMS Medically
Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). The NSAIDs are usually taken as needed, starting a few days before the menstrual period begins.
- These medications can relieve cramping and breast discomfort.
Talk with your doctor about further medical treatment.Consult with your physician if your PMS symptoms are overwhelming. For women with disabling or severe PMS, there are a number of medical approaches that have proved useful for some women. Some are taken throughout the month while others are limited to two weeks of the cycle.
Discuss antidepressants with your doctor.These medications can address some of the emotional symptoms of PMS, including mood swings, irritability, insomnia, and depression.If you start taking an antidepressant, it should start to relieve some of your symptoms within a couple days.
- Antidepressants prescribed for PMS include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These include fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) and sertraline (Zoloft). The SSRIs can be taken throughout the month or just 2 weeks during the month.
Take diuretics or water pills.These medications increase urination and can relieve some of the symptoms of swelling, bloating, and weight gain. These can be especially helpful if exercise and limiting salt intake aren't enough.
- Spironolactone (Aldactone) is an example of a diuretic that is often prescribed.
Go on hormonal contraceptives.This form of hormone therapy is used to stop ovulation. Without ovulation, many of the symptoms of PMS will be relieved.
- Discuss with your doctor which type of hormonal contraception is right for you. Tell them that you would like to use the contraception to ease your PMS symptoms.
- If you would like to get pregnant in the near future, then this type of PMS treatment is not right for you.
Video: Women's Health Questions : Treat PMS or PMDD With Natural Progesterone
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