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There are numerous symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, known more commonly as PMS. Between one and two weeks before the monthly cycle, cravings for carbohydrates, headaches, backaches, joint and muscle aches, abdominal bloating, swelling of the hands and fingers, tenderness in the breast, mood swings, anxiety, depression and irritability will strike. Although all these symptoms of PMS may not be present, many of them are to one degree or another. With all these symptoms affecting the body and emotions, this condition is often difficult to diagnose. Doctors have found that the one sure sign of this condition is that it appears before each cycle and then totally disappears.

Recent studies have researchers believing that there may be certain positive effects related to PMS. According to these studies women who have PMS are extremely attuned to their surroundings and have sharper memories. According to research, this will last for the remainder of the month. Although no one knows why some women suffer from this condition while others do not, it is believed that PMS stems from an imbalance of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones limit the production of the brain chemicals that control pain and moods. When imbalanced they can also trigger an increase in prolactin which creates tenderness in the breast and prevents the liver from working as it should. Another theory concerning PMS is related to serotonin. This is a brain chemical that sends signals from nerve cell to nerve cell.

Certain nutrients taken before the cycle can greatly relieve PMS symptoms. Be sure to check with your doctor before adding these natural remedies to your regimen. Unlike in other countries, Americans have been slow to use herbal remedies to aid with PMS symptoms. In European countries, herbal remedies are in wide use and have withstood the test of time. Taking 225 milligrams per day of Chasteberry herb can relieve PMS. Chasteberry acts on the pituitary gland which controls the production of estrogen and progesterone. Vitamin B6, taken in 50 milligram doses twice a day, will assist the liver in processing estrogen. This vitamin also increases progesterone levels and enables the brain to make serotonin. Magnesium taken twice a day in 250 milligram doses is necessary when dealing with PMS since women with this condition have been found deficient in this mineral. Evening primrose oil taken three times a day in 1000 milligram doses has been found to aid with breast tenderness and to control carbohydrate cravings. For depression, taking 300 milligrams of St. Johns Wort has been very effective.

If you find that you do not have a given symptom that fits a certain herb, vitamin or mineral, simply omit that supplement from your regimen. It is also important during this time to exercise to help release fluids from your body. Trying to omit or cut back on caffeine drinks, alcohol and salt is also beneficial during bouts of PMS.