Here are things you can do to help prevent PMS, or at least get relief from some of the symptoms: Diet Eat less salt —salt makes you retain water, which means keeping the water in instead of urinating it out. This causes bloating, sore breasts, and swollen ankles. Don't add salt to food, and try not to eat processed foods (fast food, and food that comes out of a can). Processed foods have lots of salt. Eat less sugar —y ou get enough sugar in everyday food —fruits, and even vegetables and rice. Table sugar makes your mood swings even worse. If you can't stay away from it, just watch what happens when you eat a candy bar or dessert —you get really happy and energetic, then you "crash," feeling tired, grouchy and HUNGRY ALL OVER AGAIN! Eat some protein instead, like yogurt, cheese or peanuts. Nuts are really good for you —just make sure they're unsalted, and remember, they are high-calorie foods. Eat less red meat and fat —i t bogs you down. Try eating just three servings of meat a week. That's all you need, and you'll have more energy. Also, chicken and fish are a lower fat meat/protein source than red meat. Eat more whole grains —brown rice, oatmeal, corn —even whole wheat bread or whole wheat pasta is better for you than products made with white flour. These have tons more nutrients, and that is what your body really craves right now. Oats seem to be of special value. Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits —h ave you heard this before? You will hear it forever, so give it a try! You can never eat enough vegetables; find the ones you like best and get them, or ask your parents to always keep them around. Fill up on veggies before eating anything else at dinner. Veggies will help with your PMS treatment —from bad moods to cramps, skin and hair. Avoid alcohol and caffeine —w e hope you aren't drinking alcohol and coffee AT ALL, but remember, caffeine is also found in tea, soft drinks, and some over-the-counter medications. It can trigger PMS headaches and make you tired. If you drink alcohol, STOP —especially before your period. Remember that these are "guidelines" and should not be taken as "instructions" for your diet. In other words, keep everything in moderation. Exercise Play! Run, swim, bike, take "speed" walks, play a team sport —even if you don't think you're good at it, the more you do it, the better you'll be. Whatever you do, get that "after-exercise" feeling. You know how you feel after you've played really hard, and you're all sweaty and breathless and dizzy from all the fun you just had? That feeling is good for you —your body will feel better, your moods will be better —you might even get better grades! Rest & Relaxation Sleep You should get 8 or more hours of sleep each night. Teenagers need more than adults and children, and you should get as much rest as feels right for you. Try going to bed earlier. Try to avoid getting stressed Stress is what happens when we have too much going on. Maybe you have such a full schedule that you can't look at your calendar without freaking out. Maybe you forgot to set part of your baby-sitting money aside for a friend's birthday present and now it's coming up and you are empty-handed. You can figure out a way to solve these problems, but only if you calm down. There are lots of ways to relax —meditation, yoga, and exercise can make it better. Put on some great music; take a bath. Figure out which things or people cause stress, and stay away from them, especially on premenstrual days. Handling your feelings Ever have a really horrible day and think the world is caving in, and then start your period the day after and realize it was PMS? Feel like an idiot? Try this: keep a calendar and write down when your periods start. Figure out when you're getting the next period, and then count back ten days before that. Consider this day PMS Day Number —you may not get symptoms that day, but keep a lookout for them. If something bothers you, say to yourself, "Is it really that bad, or is it PMS?" Maybe it really is that bad, but at least you've given yourself a chance not to flip out without a good reason. If you really think you can't control your PMS symptoms, then don't be embarrassed to talk to someone. In this case, a doctor, the school nurse or school counselor may be able to help you with PMS treatment. But remember —it's important for you to figure it out. The way you handle these things (or don't handle these things) will affect your adult life. Learn about pms treatment and get helpful tips and advice at BeingGirl.