Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Here's what's known about the effectiveness of complementary remedies used to soothe the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome:

  • Calcium. Consuming 1,200 milligrams (mg) in your diet or with supplemental calcium daily, such as chewable calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids, others), may reduce the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS.
  • Magnesium. Taking 360 mg of supplemental magnesium daily may help reduce fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating in women with premenstrual syndrome.
  • Vitamin E. This vitamin, taken in 400 international units daily, may ease PMS symptoms by reducing the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that cause cramps and breast tenderness.
  • Herbal remedies. Some women report relief of PMS symptoms with the use of herbs, such as ginkgo, ginger, chasteberry, evening primrose oil and St. John's wort. However, few scientific studies have found that any herbs are effective for relief of PMS symptoms.

    Herbal remedies also aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so there's no record of product safety or effectiveness. Talk with your doctor before taking any herbal products, as they may have side effects or interact with other medications you're taking. St. John's wort, for example, reduces the effectiveness of birth control pills.

  • Acupuncture. A practitioner of acupuncture inserts sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some women experience symptom relief after acupuncture treatment.
Dec. 16, 2014

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