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Over-the-Counter Treatments for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)


By Staff Writer

Treatmens for PMSPremenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the term used to describe the symptoms some women experience about seven to ten days before their menstrual periods start. A variety of symptoms have been associated with PMS, including headaches, backaches, weight gain, breast tenderness, water retention, food cravings, acne and stomach upset. Other symptoms include emotional changes such as irritability, mood swings, anxiety, sadness and reduced sex drive. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective in treating menstrual cramps associated with PMS. Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (brand names Advil® and Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®). Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) also reduces the pain of cramps. Over-the-counter diuretics (water pills) can help reduce water retention caused by PMS. You shouldn't use any of these products for more than a few days in a row. Some over-the-counter products contain several ingredients for treating multiple symptoms of PMS. Some examples are Midol® and Pamprin®. These products contain a combination of a pain reliever (acetaminophen or magnesium salicylate) and a diuretic (pamabrom). Midol contains an extra ingredient, pyrilamine, for its antihistamine effects. If over-the-counter remedies don't treat your symptoms, talk with your doctor about prescription medicines.

Sources:The Merck Manual of Medical Information: Home Edition. Merck & Co., 1997.Micromedex® Healthcare Series. Thomson Micromedex, 2006.Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999.Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach. Appleton & Lange, 1999.Integrative Medicine Access. Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000.Drug Facts and Comparisons. Facts & Comparisons, 2006.This answer prepared 12/26/2000. This information updated 2/2/2007.

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