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Menstrual Mood Swings Causing Marital Difficulties

Q. I am 32 years old and suffering from PMS. Two weeks before my period starts, I get irritable and sensitive. I find myself picking fights with my husband. This situation is affecting my marriage.
I talked to my doctor, who prescribed Prozac. I am reluctant to take it, because I am not depressed. Is there a natural way to ease this situation?

A. You may want to give the Prozac a try, even though you don’t feel depressed. Studies have shown that this and similar medications can alleviate the mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome or, as it is sometimes termed, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Then, when your relationship feels more stable, you may be able to experiment with some natural approaches.
Some women report that supplements of calcium (500 mg twice daily) or magnesium (360 mg three times daily) are helpful for this problem. At that dose, though, magnesium may cause diarrhea.
Others have had success with vitamin B6 (25 to 50 mg per day). Do not exceed 50 mg, since too much B6 can cause nerve damage.
St. John’s wort (300 mg three times a day) or chaste tree berry (20 to 40 mg at bedtime) may also be helpful. (Do not combine Prozac and St. John’s wort!) Keep a diary of your symptoms, so that you can tell if a remedy is working.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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