Relief from PMS

PREMENSTRUAL syndrome (PMS) can be a prescription for a string of very bad days for women and the men sharing a bed or boardroom with them.

Cathy Avila hopes to prove that minerals, vitamins and herbs can help.

Ms Avila, a science, psychology and naturopathy researcher from Southern Cross University's School of Natural and Complementary Medicine, is looking at the effects of a proprietary multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement and a dual mineral supplement and she is looking for volunteers.

A small trial showed a 50 per cent reduction in symptoms for receiving the supplement and she is now undertaking a larger trial.

She is looking for 200 healthy women aged 18-50 who regularly experience PMS, are not pregnant or breast feeding, and not currently being treated for PMS or taking daily medications other than the contraceptive pill.

She also wants 50 healthy women in the same age group who experience very mild PMS or no symptoms at all, to form a comparison group.

The study is being run at Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Grafton and Lismore and will involve all volunteers entering brief notes in a daily diary.

The larger group will also be taking the supplement for seven months.

The control group will be required for only two months.

Ms Avila will hold meetings with the volunteers at the beginning, middle and end of the trial period.

Current treatments for PMS include oral contraceptives, diuretics and painkillers, but Ms Avila said side effects from all of these could be significant and none of these treatments provided a cure.

"Naturopaths recommend various herbs and supplements for women with PMS and many women report good results, however few of those have been studied scientifically.

"Many women feel guilty about their premenstrual mood changes and behaviour and feel frustrated by their inability to 'control' their emotions and this in turn affects their self esteem," she said.

Potential volunteers can contact Cathy Avila on 6626 9183.

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