Alternatives to low-dose birth control for PMS?


I’ve been struggling with absolutely miserable PMS–the kind where its all I can do to get out of bed because of cramps, backaches, a headache and the overall feeling of having the flu. Pain relievers have no effect.

But it seems the standard gynecologist answer is to push low-dose birth control pills and I’d rather deal with the pain than take birth control. Has anyone gone through this and found alternate treatments for severe PMS?



Yes, there are many things you can try…

Diet modification,
Vitamin and herbal supplements
Various other pharmaceuticals …

Please research these all carefully before trying them and run them by your doctor first.

I am not a doctor,

Here are a few suggestions you may want to look into :

a good Book from the Couple to Couple League
Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition
by Marilyn M. Shannon
Third edition. Explains how many cycle irregularities can be either eliminated or alleviated through better nutrition or improved body balance; invaluable to NFP couples.
Price: $12.95
204 pages


**B6 Vitamin Supplements

**EVENING PRIMROSE OIL (EPO) (Oenothera biennis)
Grape Seed extract
BUTCHER’S BROOM (Ruscus aculeatus)
VITEX AGNUS CASTUS (Vitex agnus castus)
ST. JOHN’S WORT (Hypericum perforatum)

from the
AltMedDex® Protocols
… cyclic/episodic use of analgesics, anti-depressants, anti-emetics, anxiolytics, sedatives, and other medications has been prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms of PMS. Based on the favorable results of several clinical trials, the use of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (either cyclically or continually), as first-line therapy for severe PMS is increasing.

Paxil CR 12.5mg (Controlled Released) during the Leutal Phase has had some recent positive results against PMS ---- But, it may be risky during pregnancy or if there is a possibility of pregnancy.

Good Luck


I’d strongly recommend reading the book the previous poster mentioned, “Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition”. Through this book I came across Opti-Vite, available from American Pro-Life Enterprises, which helped significantly for my symptoms. (I think they also have a generic which is slightly less expensive that I also tried and was equally as happy with.) Since having my first child almost four years ago, I really haven’t had the PMS miseries that I used to have and since then have not had to worry about it. (Of course that could be from having 3 kids in just over 4 years and nursing each baby for at least a year – there haven’t been a lot of cycles to begin with!):smiley:


I also suffer from PMS and it really makes me miserable. I use NFP to chart when my symptoms will appear so I can try and prepare myself when I know I won’t be able to function like I normally do. I’m on a low dose of Paxil for mood swings that were uncontrollable a while back but now are fine. Along with what uncleanberon said in regards to diet, taking supplements, no caffeine–contributes to headaches, no salt as it contributes to water retention until the period is over with. Also, I use a heating pad or Thermacare wrap for my back. They also have have them for menstrual cramps. Have you tried that?

Extra strength Tylenol for pain may help or Ibuprofin if you don’t have stomach problems. If it gets to the point where you are really in pain, see if you can call your primary MD instead and maybe he can offer something for pain or run tests to see if you have another underlying problem like fibroids or cysts.

I saw my primary for a 2nd opinion because my Gyn wanted me to have surgery to alleviate the PMS pain and Crohn’s symptoms. I have a blood clotting disorder also & he was afraid that I’d get pregnant (I’m high risk & can’t get pregnant) so removing only my uterus was his solution for birth control. I was furious so I got support from all of my doctors that under no circumstances would I have a partial hysterectomy unless I had a cancer. I say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

You have that right as a pt. to get a 2nd opinion from another doctor. If your Gyn can’t accept it, then find someone else who will listen to you. It’s your body. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I truly understand what you’re going through.

I hope you feel better.:heart:


The book already suggested (the one about fertility cycles and nutrition) is excellent. My little sister (well…she’s 18 now but…still little to me:) ) had really bad PMS and cramps and stuff, but a change in her diet and getting more exercise, and I think also a fish oil supplement, helped her tremendously. The exercise thing shouldn’t be discounted, even if you feel like you are in good shape…my sister is blessed with a natural thinness…she LOOKED like she worked out, but she pretty much didn’t…but adding the routine of exercise really helped her.


I used to take Naproxen and it helped me during my period a lot… It’s available as a prescription.


Here is a medical alternative with info on the webpage:
From personal testimony of women who have been helped by the Pope Paul VI Institute, it has been life altering in their words.


I also recommend Marlilyn Shannon’s book. The diet recommendations she makes are good for general balance anyway. I find that I have more energy (and less PMS) when I follow them carefully.

Also, those ThermaCare heat wraps work wonders on cramps, especially in combination with pain relievers. Even the ones that are so bad they make me nauseated and I can feel them down to my knees.


I am not trying to be cynical, but I can recommend pregnancy as a cure for PMS. In my case,it sometimes makes avoiding a pregnancy for too long very difficult.


Oh man, those are the worst. I used to have those every month when I was a teenager. I agree, something heated usually helps. I haven’t tried Thermacare yet (haven’t needed them) but 10 years ago the heating pad and hot water bottle were two of my best friends.

For me, improving my diet has helped the most, as I was fairly active as a teenager yet had nearly unbearable periods (missed a lot of school). However, I used to eat either a lot of junk food or would go through phases where I would barely eat at all. I try to eat a lot of homemade foods, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and little processed food. I also find that taking calcium, magnesium, iron, and B-complex supplements help. Usually a women’s daily multivitamin will have significant amounts of these vitamins and chemicals in them. I also think my hormones have settled out somewhat as I’ve gotten older.


My wife has had pain for a while until she used the optivite. It helped her a bunch, but there’s still some pain. We learned a technique from a chiropractor friend that seems to help releive some of the cramp pain and muscle tension so we utilize it from time to time. I would show you all, but my wife is a little shy and you couldn’'t see anyway. :slight_smile: I could try to describe the process, but it would be best to see a chiropractor if you’re interested.

Pax Christi,


:smiley: :stuck_out_tongue: I’m not married, so that one’s not an option.

Thank you to everyone who replied. I’ll defintely be trying out your suggestions.:slight_smile:


Yikes! After I logged off, I thought “doh!”, she might not even be married. Sorry.


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