25 July 2010

Exercise helps to improve PMS-PMDD symptoms

A number of studies recommend exercise as a way to relieve PMS symptoms.

Exercise is a great way to not only increase aerobic conditioning of the body (especially the lungs) and improve muscle tone, it is also a beneficial technique to use to help alleviate PMS symptoms, prevent worsening of symptoms and reduce likelihood of severe symptoms in the future.

Studies evaluated whether strength training (or resistance training) vs aerobic training exercises for women with PMS and while both types of exercise are very beneficial and improve symptoms of PMS, it seems that aerobic exercise helps to improve symptoms a lot more than strength training alone.

One study also evaluated whether a high intensity training regime or lower intensity one was more beneficial for reducing PMS and managing mood and other symptoms of PMS. The study found that low impact training was better for managing the mood problems of PMS, whereas high intensity training made mood problems associated with PMS worse.

One study which reviewed previous studies on the efficacy of exercise on PMS symptoms found that while exercise did help to reduce PMS symptoms, more stringent and larger studies needed to be done in order to confirm the studies results. While this is a good idea, it does seem, from the studies conducted so far, that exercise, especially regular aerobic is necessary to ensure PMS symptoms are reduced.

  • Cockerill IM, Nevill AM, Byrne NC. Mood, mileage and the menstrual cycle. Br J Sports Med. 1992 Sep;26(3):145-50. Accessed 26 July 2010
  • Daley A. Exercise and premenstrual symptomatology: a comprehensive review. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Jun;18(6):895-9
  • Daley A. The role of exercise in the treatment of menstrual disorders: the evidence. Br J Gen Pract. 2009 Apr;59(561):241-2. Accessed 26 July 2010
  • Dickerson LM, Mazyck PJ, Hunter MH. Premenstrual syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Apr 15;67(8):1743-52. Accessed 26 July 2010
  • Steege JF, Blumenthal JA. The effects of aerobic exercise on premenstrual symptoms in middle-aged women: A preliminary study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 37, Issue 2, February 1993, Pages 127-133

Have some mild PMS symptoms at the moment

I am at day 26 of my cycle.

This means PMS is back!

This month, it is again, not too severe. The only aspect which is more pronounced is the fluid retention and weight gain, especially in my stomach and breasts (as usual). But at least I don't have major pain.

The other major symptoms I have had this month are: food cravings for sweet foods (especially my favourite chocolate) and some emotional lows.

I haven't done much about the food cravings (I give into them), but I have been able to prevent my emotions from escalating, by telling myself, "It's only PMS and not a real emotion" a few times, after which my mental status comes back to normal. It just takes a few seconds of repeating this to myself to stop the false mood swing to negativity. Thank goodness!

I have found that the more I exercise, the more fluid I pass through my urine and the better my fluid retention symptoms get. Exercise increases circulation and also helps the lymphatic system remove any excess fluids.

I'll keep doing the exercises every day (about 35-45 minutes) and that should help a lot.