Lifestyle Changes to Reduce PMS Symptoms
Stress reduction. Stress reduction is important to reduce symptoms of PMS and PMDD. One study determined that women with significant PMS symptoms had more stress and a poorer quality of life than women with low-grade or no PMS symptoms (Lustyk 2004). Stress has an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis by causing an increase in “stress” hormones with wide-ranging effects throughout the body (Young 2002).
Women who suffer from more severe PMS may benefit from psychotherapy, massage therapy, yoga, and other alternative methods to reduce stress.
Smoking cessation. In a study of behavior and lifestyle factors associated with menstrual symptoms, researchers found that cigarette smoking was the lifestyle factor most highly associated with all types of measured menstrual symptoms and cycle disorders (Kritz-Silverstein 1999). Many strategies are available to aid in smoking cessation, including group therapy, nicotine replacement patches or gums, hypnotism, and support lines.
Exercise. Exercise seems to help reduce PMS symptoms. Both aerobic and other forms of exercise appear to be helpful (Fugh-Berman 2003). Exercise also helps with weight reduction. Although obesity is not consistently associated with menstrual symptoms, endometrial hyperplasia and other gynecological disorders are linked to overweight and obesity. Women who suffer from PMS and other menstrual disorders and who are overweight should seriously consider a weight reduction program. Mineral supplementation with chromium picolinate, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels, has been shown to help women who suffer from PMS reduce sugar cravings. Chromium picolinate has also been found to help with weight reduction (Bell 2002). For more information, see Life Extension’s Obesity and Weight Loss protocol.