Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

An SOS About PMS


Q: Each month, just before my period, I have three days of absolute craving for sweet food and have been diagnosed by my doctor as having PMS (premenstrual syndrome). He told me to eat a piece of fruit, but it never works.

This past cycle I ate six apples, three bananas, a bunch of grapes, and two boxes of raisins. However, I was not satisfied and could not sleep until I ate some ice cream, a dozen cookies, and several donuts. I cannot take this any longer. I actually fear for my health and life. Please help. There must be a better way.

Lockport, NY

A: You are not alone. From 50 to 90 percent of women have symptoms of PMS at some time during their lives. Symptoms begin from several days to two weeks prior to menstruation and resolve abruptly with the beginning of menstrual flow.

Different symptoms affect different women. They include both physical symptoms such as bloating , breast tenderness, and headaches and emotional or mood symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating and, as in your case, food cravings.

Researchers have yet to find one exact hormonal, nutritional, or organic cause for this disorder, making treatment and cure elusive. Current research is focussing on changes in the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.

Lay and professional literature is replete with a variety of unsuccessful treatments. Vitamin supplementation, magnesium pills, evening primrose oil, progesterone tablets, and suppositories have performed no better than placebos. At the present, there is no tried-and-true solution or medically proven cure.

However, better control of the symptoms is possible. Good news for active women is that researchers have found that women who get regular aerobic exercise have fewer symptoms of PMS.

What can you do to alleviate the symptoms of PMS?

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About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
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