Premenstrual Syndrome

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-05-14 (EDT)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a wide range of symptoms that can affect a woman 5 - 11 days before she begins to menstruate. Symptoms can include a wide variety of physical and emotional effects which usually subside with menstruation or shortly after. Approximately 80% of women experience premenstrual changes, but only about 30% are disturbed by these changes.[1]

Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome
Causes Dietary Factors, Smoking, Stress, Environmental Toxins
See Also Women's Health, Adrenal Fatigue, Hypothyroidism, Depression, Anxiety
Books Books on Women's Health
Articles Articles on Women's Health

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. PMS symptoms are often an exaggeration of underlying conditions such as anxiety, depression and digestive disturbances. There are also many factors that contribute to PMS including lifestyle and environmental factors.


  • Regular exercise can help prevent PMS or at least alleviate the intensity of the symptoms.
  • Inadequate sleep increases the likelihood of PMS symptoms.


  • Emotional and physical stress seems to worsen PMS symptoms.
  • PMS can occur when a person is overwhelmed with their life or when they are unhappy with aspects of their life. For many women they can handle of stress of life most of the month, but during PMS the stress or dissatisfaction becomes intensified, sometimes to the point of being unbearable.
  • PMS tends to be worse in those individuals that suffer from anxiety and depression.


  • Women who smoke cigarettes experience greater levels of PMS.

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Some prescription medications may cause or aggravate PMS symptoms.



  • Monozygotic (identical) twins are twice as likely to experience PMS than dizygotic (fraternal) twins, thus indicating a genetic component to PMS.[2]

Diagnostic Tests

The diagnosis of PMS is typically based on a thorough medical history and on the symptoms that a women experiences prior to her period. Although lab tests or other diagnostic testing may be used to determine if there is any other underlying conditions, the diagnosis of PMS does not require blood or other diagnostic testing.

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Conditions associated with PMS include:

  • This is a separate and severe form of PMS including depression, irritability, and severe mood swings.


Several PMS subtypes exist, including the following:

  • PMS-A: Characterized by anxiety. Most common subtype.
  • PMS-C: Characterized by carbohydrate cravings.
  • PMS-D: Characterized by depression. Least common subtype.
  • PMS-H: Characterized by retained water and salt, as a result of increased aldosterone.

The symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome begin before menstruation and subside before or during menstrual flow. The common symptoms include:

  • Emotional symptoms such as:
  • Cognitive symptoms such as:
  • tension
  • poor coordination
  • decreased concentration
  • Physical symptoms such as:

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. The naturopathic approach to PMS is based on prevention of further episodes by identifying and addressing the causal factors. Providing relief during PMS can also be achieved as needed.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Perform a relaxation exercise (deep breathing, meditation, prayer, visualization, etc,) 10 to 15 minutes each day.[3]


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Women who exercise regularly report lower levels of PMS.[4]

Naturopathic Therapies

Article Ginkgo is Effective for Relief of PMS Symptoms, 2010 March Natural Medicine [1]

Naturopathic Therapies for anemia include:

  • Acupuncture can help decrease the symptoms associated with PMS.
  • Bodywork
  • Massage and other forms of bodywork can decrease the symptoms associated with PMS.


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hudson T (2007) Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health. McGraw-Hill.
  2. Dickerson LM, Mazyck PJ, Hunter MH (2003) Premenstrual syndrome Am Fam Physician; Vol67(8):1743-52 PMID: 12725453.
  3. Murray Michael 1996 Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally Prima Publishing
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Pizzorno Joseph, Murray Michael, Joiner-Bey Herb (2008) The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Murray Michael 1996 Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally Prima Publishing
  6. Prousky Jonathan (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition CCNM Press Inc.
  7. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul Richard, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser 2010 Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs, CCNM Press, Toronto
  8. Boon Heather, Smith Michael 2004 The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Robert Rose, Toronto
  9. Hershoff Asa 2000 Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments, Avery Publishing Group, New York
  10. Ullman Robert, Reichenberg-Ullman Judyth 1997, Homeopathic Self-Care, the quick and easy guide for the whole family. Prima Publishing