Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Yes, It's Real!

Your breasts feel swollen and tender and may even hurt a little. Your belly is bloated, making it hard to button your favorite jeans. If you are one of the many girls who experience PMS, these are among the symptoms you may experience 7 to 10 days before your monthly period begins.

PMS symptoms generally go away as soon as your menstrual period arrives. Here are some tips to help you manage any symptoms of PMS that you may experience:

  • Get more exercise. Special chemicals in the brain are responsible for increasing pleasure and decreasing pain. These chemicals are called endorphins, and exercise helps increase them.
  • Eat less sugar and caffeine.
  • Eat less salt. If you're careful not to eat too much salt, you can help decrease water retention (bloating).
  • Relieve aches and pains with over-the-counter pills.


They Don't Have to Cramp Your Style (Too Much!)

Cramps are yet another unwelcome symptom of having your period. Some girls never get cramps; others get them only occasionally, and some unlucky gals are bothered by cramps every single period. Cramps usually begin during the first three years of your period. The good news is there are some things you can do to ease the discomfort of cramps during your period:

  • Relieve aches and pains with over-the-counter pills.
  • Try a little light exercise. Activity makes many women feel better.
  • Apply some heat. Warmth can often soothe cramps. Take a long, hot bath or place a hot water bottle or heating pad on your stomach.
  • Give yourself a gentle massage. Gently rubbing or massaging your abdomen can often relieve cramps.
  • Eat less salt. Drink more water. That "huge" feeling you get each month is caused by increased hormones that make you retain water, which in turn makes body tissues swell. So, drink more water and eat less salt. You'll help relieve bloating and headaches and you might even feel more comfy in your favorite jeans!
  • Limit caffeine. As tough as it is to cut back on those grande, extra hot, no whip mochas, taking in less caffeine does help some women feel better.
  • Get enough sleep. It's much easier to deal with discomfort when you're not tired and cranky. Try to catch a few extra z's if you can.

If none of these ideas helps to relieve your cramps, see your doctor. He or she can make sure there aren't other causes for your symptoms, and may prescribe stronger medicine than you can buy over the counter.