Premenstrual Syndrome: Are Vitamin E and Fatty Acids the Answer?

pensive woman of color
Maybe essential oils could ease her PMS. (iStockphoto)

(CBS) People joke about PMS, but for many women, premenstrual syndrome is no laughing matter. Lucky for them, a new study suggests that vitamin E and a mix of essential oils could spell relief.

"The negative effect of PMS on a woman's routine activities and quality of life may be significant, in addition to the repercussions on economic costs resulting predominantly from a reduction in productivity," lead researcher Dr. Edilberto Rocha Filho of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil told The Scotsman.

In Dr. Filho's six-month study of 120 women, those given capsules containing two grams of vitamin E and a combination of essential oils including oleic acid, and linoleic acid, experienced significant relief from PMS symptoms. Side effects were insignificant.

Symptoms of PMS include breast tenderness, acne, bloating, weight gain, headaches, joint pain, food cravings, irritability, mood swings, crying spells, and depression. Taking ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen can help. So can exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding salt, caffeine, and alcohol.

As for the oils, Filho and his team are optimistic.

"Essential oil capsules can now be said to show much promise as a treatment," said Filho.

The study was published January 11 in Reproductive Health.

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