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Nutrition Noteworthy

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Dietary Modifications Can Help Alleviate Symptoms of PMS

  • Author(s): Luecha, Angsumarn
  • et al.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a recurring cyclical disorder that encompasses a variety of emotional and physical symptoms that appear in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Overall, approximately 75% of the women with regular cycles complain of some premenstrual symptoms. Emotional symptoms include emotional hypersensitivity, depression, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, tension, fear of loss of control, and confusion. Somatic complaints include feelings of bloating, body aches, breast tenderness, headaches, food cravings, and poor coordination. The etiology of PMS is still largely unknown, but current research suggests that serotonin may be important in its pathogenesis. Although the underlying cause remains unclear, significant progress has been made in treatment of symptoms. If presenting symptoms are mild, infrequent, or of short duration, use of nonpharmacologic approaches such as dietary modification, exercise, support, and stress reduction are suggested. This paper examines the dietary modifications that have recently been studied, some of which may offer relief from certain premenstrual symptoms. The current literature indicates that increased carbohydrate, calcium, manganese, and magnesium intake can decrease certain symptoms of PMS. However, recent studies do not indicate a clear role for sodium, caffeine, or vitamin B6 in alleviating symptoms.

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