How to manage the downs of her menstrual cycle

What is it?

She’s hot one minute and cold the next, crying then laughing. You’ve learnt to expect the mixed emotions, but, let’s face it “that time of the month” is still more baffling than Jordan’s ever-changing boob size.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to the physical and psychological changes experienced by women in the days before their period. As if you hadn’t realised, the most common symptoms include mood swings, loss of confidence, crying for no particular reason and aggression, mainly towards their nearest and dearest, which, I’m afraid, is you.

What treatments are available?

The bad news is that there is no quick-fix solution to the PMS blues. But before you resign yourself to being a human punch bag every month for the foreseeable future, follow these tips for hormonal-free heaven.

Drug dosage

Mr Peter Bowen-Simpkins, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the London Women’s Clinic, says, “For cases where symptoms include severe depression, mood swings and irritability, antidepressants like Prozac work very effectively if given cyclically for the 14 days before menstruation.” But while keeping your gloomy girlfriend in a euphoric drug-induced state may seem tempting, Bowen-Simpkins suggests that for most cases a dose of evening primrose oil capsules will do the trick.

Cigarettes and booze

Although your missus may want to ply herself with cigarettes and a bottle or three of wine, Bowen-Simpkins suggests that cutting down on life’s simple pleasures could have beneficial effects on PMS. He says, “Most men perceive that women get uptight before their period, and alcohol, with it’s ability to release inhibitions, can make women even more emotional and aggressive.”

Food for thought

A study performed at Columbia University has confirmed that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can worsen the symptoms of PMS. Up her dose of mood-swing banishing vitamin B6, found in potatoes, brown rice, salmon and chicken, and stock up the house with vitamin D and calcium.

Exercise her demons

“Mild exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good. Even if she doesn’t feel like it, it will have a positive effect,” says Bowen-Simpkins. So while you may think you should be keeping your dismal damsel at arms length during PMS, research put forward by the University of Iowa hailing the benefits of exercise suggests that some between the sheets action may be more beneficial than she thinks.

Words by Maria Kaski


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