Health Information

Health Corner
Beating Premenstrual Syndrome


PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome is often linked with "that time of the month", when a woman discharges blood and tissue not needed by her body to nurture an embryo. Interestingly, the syndrome hits most of us hardest long before menstruation actually starts. 
PMS generally begins 7-10 days prior to the onset of menses, increasing in severity as the menses approaches. The most common symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, swelling, breast pain, cramps and backache. 
There is a tremendous amount of research on the hormonal changes that take place in a woman's body before, during and after menstruation. Hormones are responsible for a lot of what goes on in our minds and bodies, and a disruption in this delicate balance can cause real physical discomfort and genuine mental distress among PMS sufferers.
From this research we now know that the effects of premenstrual syndrome are not something women must survive and endure in pain and discomfort. There are many things we can do to alleviate the distress of menstruation.
ParkwayHealth Registered Dietitian in Shanghai, Winnie Niou, encourages women to recognize the changes felt physically and mentally. Further, Niou recommends sufferers of PMS to "really try and maintain some level of exercise." Physical exercise is proven to help improve a person's mood by stimulating brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.


Niou's dietary suggestions include:


  1. Vitamin B6: found in meat, whole grain products (especially wheat), vegetables and nuts;
  2. Evening Primrose Oil: 1 to 2 grams of Evening Primrose Oil can significantly reduce symptoms related to PMS and has also shown to have the greatest capacity to relieve breast pain;
  3. Calcium: Women getting 1200mg of calcium daily are reported to have a significantly lower incidence of PMS. 1200mg is equivalent to about 4 servings of low fat dairy products a day;
  4. Stay away from refined carbohydrates: Carbohydrates like white rice and pasta, refined sugar and sodium, reportedly have a closer relationship with PMS.
  5. Avoid Alcohol: Prior to menstruation, alcohol can cause increased breast tenderness. Further, it can lower blood sugar, which may exacerbate ordinary PMS mood changes.


For most women Premenstrual Syndrome is an inconvenience. For some it can be disabling. The good news is that relief can be found in exercise, and paying more attention to what we choose to put in our mouths.


Copyright © 2017 Parkway HealthCare (Hong Kong) Limited. All rights reserved