Many women experience physical and psychological discomfort during the week before menstruation. Changing hormone levels cause shifts in body fluids. Physical symptoms may include headache, sore breasts, backache, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. Mental symptoms include tenseness, irritability, and depression.
Mild physical symptoms may be relieved by aspirin or another analgesic. To reduce fluid retention, cut down on salt, which inhibits fluid discharge.
To feel less irritable, reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol. Cut down on mood swings by avoiding stressful situations and arguments. Postpone demanding tasks to a calmer time of the month. If your symptoms are severe enough to cause you to stay home from work or to cancel engagements, consulting a gynecologist may be the wisest course.