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Medications For PMS Relief May Be Disappointing — an article on the Smart Living Network
August 29, 2008 at 1:42 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Medications For PMS Relief May Be Disappointing


There exists a vast array of medications available for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome symptoms. However, as with all medications, there are certain side effects and increased risk factors associated with the majority of these medications. All decisions about medication use should be discussed with your physician.


The antidepressants most typically utilized are known as SSRI"s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). These antidepressants are commonly successful in the reduction of certain signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome including insomnia, food cravings, and fatigue. Antidepressant medications must be prescribed by a physician and are commonly associated with several side effects. It should be noted that this list is not complete.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of libido
  • Nausea
  • Sexual problems


Premenstrual syndrome is associated with the symptoms of bloating and swelling. Certain dietary changes are usually enough to aid in the decrease of these symptoms, including a decrease in salt intake and increasing exercise. However, this is not always enough. The use of diuretics, also known as water pills, is capable of aiding the body to shed excess water leading to an overall decrease in bloating and swelling. Diuretics are also associated with certain side effects.
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Impotence
  • Increased urination
  • Weakness

Medroxyprogesterone Acetate

Medroxyprogesterone acetate, commonly known as Depo Provera, is an injection given to temporarily terminate ovulation. While this injection does usually decrease or eliminate symptoms of premenstrual symptoms, the drug itself is associated with many common side effects. These side effects include:
  • Bone density reduction
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Headache
  • Increased appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Weight gain

Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID"s)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are typically used to decrease cramping and breast tenderness near the beginning and throughout the menstrual cycle. Some examples of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs include Naproxen, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen. NSAID"s are commonly used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, swelling, inflammation and fever. It should also be noted that NSAID"s commonly interact with other medications, and therefore all medications should be discussed with your physician. There are also more serious side effects including kidney and liver failure.
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Fluid retention

Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives are commonly prescribed to decrease signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Oral contraceptives stop ovulation, causing hormones to stabilize, serving to decrease overall premenstrual syndrome symptoms. However, oral contraceptives are also have certain side effects.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
Overall, your options for the best way to treat your premenstrual symptoms should be discussed with your physician. It is necessary to weigh the costs and benefits of each option before a good decision can be made. Take time to research your options and don't be afraid to ask questions. Education is the first step to symptom relief.

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