Premenstrual Syndrome

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects up to 50% of menstruating women and peaks among women in their 30’s and 40’s.

  • Hormonal imbalance is thought to be the main contributing factor
  • It usually occurs in the second half of the menstrual cycle, when oestrogen and prolactin levels are high.
  • It normally disappears once the period begins and levels of these two hormones subside.

How to manage PMS

Your lifestyle can have a significant bearing on the severity of symptoms. Regular exercise and relaxation techniques like meditation can relieve nervousness and agitation.

Diet is equally as important. Limiting consumption of saturated and polyunsaturated fats and sugar, caffeine, chocolate and alcohol can all help reduce symptoms.

Increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains nuts and seeds, soy foods and essential fatty acids can also minimise the symptoms of PMS.

Evening primrose oil

The oil of the evening primrose seed is rich in gamma linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is essential for the body to make hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins.

Fish oils

These are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Among other things, they help regulate metabolism, distribute nutrients and regulate stress relief and sex hormone levels. This is especially important for PMS.

The body also uses omega-3 to create prostaglandins that support hormonal balance and various PMS symptoms.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Vitamin B6 supports several neurotransmitters (hormones) needed to make serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. This supports mood swings, irritability, tiredness and fatigue.


This mineral can help relieve the stress, tension and irritability associated with PMS. It plays an important role in creating nerve impulses and muscle relaxation.


Taking calcium supplements (1,200 milligrams a day) has been found to lessen the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS, and also to support fluid balance.

Always check with your health care professional before taking supplements with other medications.

If symptoms persist, seek advice from your healthcare professional.

Published November 26, 2012
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