- Written by Bhaavyaa.

Whether it's time for your phone to rest, or for you to take a 20 minute walk it’s important for everyone to take out time to tackle their menstrual problems and PMS symptoms.

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, produces physical and mental changes which typically begin from mid-cycle onwards, or in the premenstrual week, and clear as soon as the period starts. It’s related to the production of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which control the monthly cycle, and to a woman's sensitivity to changing hormone levels. Symptoms include backache, headache, water retention, cramps, breast tenderness, irrational behaviour, anxiety, depression and poor concentration. It's estimated that as many as 3 out of every 4 menstruating women are going through some form of premenstrual syndrome.

Some may suggest taking vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)- which is involved in the breakdown of oestrogen in the liver - and perhaps evening primrose oil supplements. Sometimes hormones will be prescribed; many women find that their PMS symptoms disappear when they are on their pills.

Looking at it from a different angle, we observe that researchers in both orthodox and  alternative medicine have agreed that PMS symptoms can also be eased by diet.  A diet high in carbohydrate and low in fat is helpful.

Supplements of vitamin B6 may help to counter premenstrual depression, lethargy, and water retention characterised by a bloated stomach, swollen fingers, toes or face, and tender breasts. One should increase the intake of foods which contain useful amounts of this vitamin, such as meat, fish, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Cutting down on salt can also help to reduce water retention. Eating foods high in vitamin E, such as cold pressed oils and wheatgerm, may help to reduce breast tenderness.

Taking caffeine can exacerbate PMS. However, abruptly cutting out caffeine in coffee and tea can make things worse. Intake should be decreased gradually to minimise the likelihood of withdrawal headaches.

Some women who suffer from PMS have food cravings, especially for sweet foods. But after a sugar 'fix', they experience headaches, palpitations or fatigue. If these symptoms sound familiar, you could try eating small meals regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable. Finally, you should avoid alcohol, which exaggerates mood swings and behavioural changes.

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