joyDo you struggle with premenstrual symptoms, such as anger, the blues, anxiety, aches, fatigue and migraine–and you haven’t found a way to relieve them?

Don’t give up trying to find a remedy. Or remedies.

I’ve reported on dozens of different treatments for premenstrual symptoms. But, it’s important to bear in mind three key factors:

1. What works for one–or many or even most–women may not necessarily work you.

2. You might need to combine a few different types of treatments to get the relief you want. 

3. It can take patience for some premenstrual remedies to kick in–for instance, when using supplements (such as calcium), it can take three full cycles to feel the full symptom-alleviating effect.

I know–because I have adopted this same approach for migraines.

See, I get “menstrual migraines”–the kind that kick in when hormones fluctuate. Mine usually hit me right before and/or right after my period when estrogen rises, then falls. But, they can also strike when high estrogen suddenly dips mid-cycle.

I have a particularly stubborn problem with migraines. One reason is because both of my parents had them, so I’m already genetically predisposed to them. But, on top of that, I’ve had a couple of significant head injuries from accidents. (I may have mentioned how clumsy I am, right? It’s one reason you’ll rarely see me in high heels.)

So, keeping these major head-throbbers under control takes a lot of patience. And experimentation.

I’ve spent years trying various pharmaceutical, natural and lifestyle remedies. And I discovered first-hand that what works for many migraine sufferers doesn’t always work for me.

And that what works for my migraines may not work for someone else’s.

So, I kept trying remedies until I hit on my own personal constellation of treatments that finally reduced my migraine frequency, reduced their intensity and helps, sometimes, cut them off at the pass. Which compared to how debilitating and frequent they used to be is like a dream come true.

You can use the same approach to thwart your premenstrual symptoms.

If you’re ready to start getting serious about getting your premenstrual problems under control, I’d like you to try this 4-step plan:

1. Keep a daily journal. Carefully detail your moods and health every day of your cycle. Knowing these details during the first three weeks of your cycle will give you a baseline so you can carefully examine how your moods and health change when your premenstrual week comes around–and how they are impacted by premenstrual remedies you try.

2. Research premenstrual treatments. I’ve made some of this easy by reporting on dozens of study-proven natural and lifestyle approaches on my Hormonology blog here. But, don’t stop there. Also ask your health care provider about pharmaceutical approaches, your dietitian about dietary changes, your therapist about cognitive behavioral and stress-reducing techniques and other folks on your health team about their favorite recommendations. Then, talk with your friends and family members and ask them what treatments they use or have heard about. Become a sponge for finding out all you can about premenstrual remedies.

3. Try them! Try them all and try them in combination with one another and try them for more than one cycle. These treatments only work if you give them a fair shot.

4. Don’t give up. There may be times when you feel like throwing in the towel because the treatment or treatments you’ve tried haven’t worked. Try to remember that every “failure” is an important part of the process of elimination that will eventually bring you closer to finding the treatment or combination that finally helps you. So, if one treatment doesn’t work, try another. If one combination isn’t enough, try two. If one health care provider’s suggestions aren’t working, ask another.

Throughout your process, try to remember that you’re not alone in this. There are many women who struggle with difficult premenstrual symptoms. And there are many health care providers, health journalists (like me), friends and/or family members who want to help you find relief.

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[Photo: m a n d o l i n]