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Claire asked...

I have recently started suffering from terrible PMS or PMDD which has got persistently worse over the last 6-12 months. Main symptoms are night sweats at ovulation time, extreme fatigue, tender, swollen breasts that become increasingly painful, extreme swollen, bloated abdomen, constipation followed by diarrhoea, mood swings and flashes of anger and aggression which are uncharacteristic. Due to previous high BP and migraine contraceptive pill / traditional hormone tablets are not an option. I have been trying SSRIs reluctantly at my GP's suggestion but after two different types the side effects are worse than the symptoms I am trying to alleviate and I would like to try an alternative therapy approach instead. Could you suggest whether firstly you feel this might offer me some relief and if so, recommend an option? I have previously had experience of reflexology and wondered if this might help. Thank you and regards.

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The Answer

As you are probably aware there is no cure for PMS but there are many different treatment options to try until you find one that helps you manage and relieve the symptoms. Keeping a diary of the symptoms while you try different treatments may help you decide if they are helping or not. There is little scientific evidence that complementary therapies work but that does not mean it is not worth trying them, especially if they have helped you in the past with other conditions. PMS is more common in obese people and smokers, so change your habits if you are one of those people. Exercising regularly and eating a very healthy diet will really help with the symptoms too. The mini pill (progesterone only) can be used as an alternative if you have high blood pressure and could be considered if you we're interested in trying a different hormone treatment. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to help many people and could be a very good option for you to try.

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