10 Dietary Changes That Can Help Thwart PMS

If you suffer from bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, irritability, moodiness, and other symptoms that come with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), you're far from alone. While two out of three women have typical levels of discomfort, one third suffer to the point where they seek medical help.

Here at Shelnutt Gynecology in Athens, Georgia, Dr. Judson Shelnutt and our highly trained staff provide comprehensive care to women at all stages of their lives. Whether you're looking for a well-woman exam or dealing with an issue such as PMS, heavy periods, or menopause, we combine state-of-the-art techniques and technology with a caring family atmosphere to provide you with the best possible experience. 

If you're suffering from PMS, we can help you explore a variety of treatment options, which may include medication or hormonal birth control. However, you can also make dietary changes to help relieve your symptoms. Here are 10 changes you can make to ease your discomfort. 

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables — the more types and colors, the better. In particular, leafy greens such as kale and Swiss chard may help with fatigue, due to their iron and B vitamins.
  2. Excess salt can lead to bloating and breast tenderness, so try to avoid processed food and other dishes with a high sodium content.
  3. Whether it's milk, low fat yogurt, or another source — like cooked spinach or sardines with bones — make sure you're getting 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day to help with your PMS symptoms. Vitamin D, which is in foods such as salmon, sardines, and oysters, can also play a role in relief.
  4. It may sound ironic, but drinking lots of water can help reduce bloating, as well as aid digestion. Aim for at least 64 ounces each day.
  5. Make sure you're getting enough iron in your diet from lean meats (or a supplement if you're a vegan) in order to avoid anemia.
  6. With their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, nuts can help with PMS discomfort. Researchers also found that consuming 25 grams of flaxseed each day for six months led to a decrease in breast pain.
  7. A diet that includes complex carbohydrates like potatoes (sweet and regular), squash, lentils, and unprocessed oats can help keep blood sugar levels steady, which in turn can improve your mood and reduce your cravings.
  8. Changing hormone levels can cause a decrease in serotonin in the brain, which may lead to mood issues and sugar cravings. Pass on the cookie and choose whole grains instead.
  9. Both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your sleep. Try to limit both.
  10. Maintaining steady blood sugar levels can help stabilize your mood and increase your energy. In addition to making healthy food choices, don't skip meals.

If you're suffering from PMS symptoms and need more guidance, Dr. Shelnutt and our team can help. Call our office or book an appointment online today.

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