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Premenstrual syndrome: Can dietary supplements help?

Many women regularly experience mood swings, pain and breast tenderness on the days before their period. Some evidence suggests that pyridoxine (vitamin B6) can help relieve these symptoms. Calcium and chaste tree extracts (vitex agnus castus) also seem to help.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: June 19, 2013

Dietary supplements for pain during menstruation

Cochrane authors reviewed the evidence of the effect of dietary supplements (e.g. vitamins, minerals, herbs) on period pain (dysmenorrhoea).

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

What are dietary supplements?

“Vitamins strengthen our immune system,” and “Omega 3 is good for your heart”: Dietary supplements are often marketed using a number of different promises, and they are available everywhere, from pharmacies and supermarkets to the internet. But do we really need all of these tablets, powders and capsules? What makes dietary supplements different from medicine and can they also be harmful?

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: September 8, 2016

There is not enough high quality evidence to show that dietary magnesium supplementation during pregnancy is beneficial

Many women, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have intakes of magnesium below recommended levels. Magnesium supplementation during pregnancy may be able to reduce growth restriction of the fetus and pre‐eclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy), and increase birthweight. This review aimed to assess the effects of magnesium supplementation during pregnancy on maternal, neonatal and paediatric outcomes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Combined calcium, magnesium and potassium supplementation for the management of primary hypertension in adults

Elevated blood pressure (BP) or hypertension can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke and renal disease. Epidemiological studies suggest that changing the dietary levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium or sodium can affect BP in some people. This systematic review focuses on the effects of concurrently attempting to change any combination of calcium, magnesium, or potassium levels in the diet of adults with primary hypertension.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Oral magnesium supplementation for high blood pressure in adults

This review examined whether taking magnesium supplements could be recommended for treating adults with high blood pressure from no known cause. It reviewed 12 trials enrolling 545 people, which compared magnesium supplementation with a dummy drug (placebo) or no treatment, and measured blood pressure 8 weeks to 6 months later. The results of trials varied a lot: some trials found magnesium lowered blood pressure much more than placebo, while others found little difference between magnesium and placebo. On average, people receiving extra magnesium achieved slightly lower diastolic blood pressure at the end of trials. None of the studies reported any serious side effects of taking magnesium supplements.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Premenstrual syndrome: Treating PMS symptoms

Some women who have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have such bad symptoms in the days before their period that it keeps them from doing the things they usually do. But there are different ways of coping with and treating typical symptoms such as pain, breast tenderness and mood swings.Most women who get PMS do not have very severe symptoms, and they have found ways of coping with them – like getting enough rest and avoiding stress around that time of the month. There is a lot of advice out there about how to deal with PMS symptoms, including:regularly getting enough sleep,doing exercise and sports,using relaxation techniques and meditating,not smoking,drinking less alcohol and caffeine,eating food that is low in carbohydrates and/or salt.Most of these things have not been put to the test in high-quality scientific studies. But that does not mean that they cannot help. Women can try them out themselves and see whether making these changes helps relieve their symptoms. If you are going to try one of these things, keeping a diary might help. Observing and recording symptoms and attempted "remedies" over the course of several menstrual cycles can help you find out whether the changes have affected the symptoms.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 13, 2013

Migraine prevention in adults

The symptoms of migraine attacks can usually be relieved with painkillers or migraine medication. People who have migraines would usually prefer to stop them from happening in the first place, though. Keeping a migraine diary can help identify possible triggers. Preventive treatment can reduce the number of migraine attacks.Most people with migraine have a type known as episodic migraine, where the attacks occur more or less regularly. Fewer than 2% of people with migraine have a different type known as chronic migraine. This is where the migraine headaches occur on 15 or more days per month over a period of three months or more.Migraine attacks are very painful and can have a major impact on quality of life. Many people with migraine would like to do something themselves to prevent attacks from happening in the first place. A number of different preventive measures can be taken. For instance, some people try to avoid possible migraine triggers. Others learn relaxation techniques or try out an endurance sport. Taking preventive medicine every day is another option.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 18, 2015

Preventing kidney stones

People who have had a kidney stone are quite likely to get another one. To prevent that from happening, it's usually enough to drink plenty of water and change your diet. Some people will still end up having kidney stones again and again. Medication is then an option.About 30 to 50 out of 100 people who have had a kidney stone can expect to have another within five years. About 10 out of 100 will regularly develop kidney stones. Many people who are affected want to know what they can do to prevent new kidney stones from forming.Because kidney stones can have so many different possible causes, the first thing to find out is the chemical composition of the stones. The levels of some substances in your blood and urine may also suggest a particular cause. About 80% of all kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Uric acid stones make up about 5 to 10% of all kidney stones. The rest are made of struvite, cystine or other less common substances.Drinking enough fluids and possibly making changes to your diet is usually all you need to do to lower your risk of kidney stones. Medicine for preventing kidney stones may also be a good option for people who have a higher risk.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: February 25, 2016

Period pain – Information for girls

Some girls don't have any menstrual (period) problems, whereas others experience period pain or abdominal cramps. Here we describe why that is and what you can do about the pain.If you have period pain, you are not alone: About 3 out of every 4 girls and women sometimes have period pain, and 1 out of 10 have very severe pain. Moderate to severe period pain is especially common in younger women under the age of 20.But there’s a good chance that your period pain will get better over time: most young women find that their period pain gets better, or even goes away completely, within a few years of their first period.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: June 1, 2016

Premenstrual syndrome: Overview

The days leading up to menstrual periods are sometimes a mystery to women too: Out of the blue, women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) feel depressed, irritable, find it hard to concentrate, or cry easily. There are different ways to cope with these symptoms.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: June 19, 2013

Interventions for leg cramps in pregnancy

Sodium supplements may decrease the number of cramp attacks experienced by women in pregnancy but the effect is slight. Calcium is of no benefit. The evidence of benefit for magnesium is stronger. Multivitamin and mineral supplements also seem to help but the relevance of this is unclear as the preparation used contained twelve separate constituents and it is not possible to discover which of these was effective, or indeed if there was synergy between constituents. There is a theoretical risk that sodium supplementation could raise blood pressure. It is unlikely that magnesium supplementation would be harmful at the suggested doses.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Gonzalez Regimen (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the Gonzalez regimen as a treatment for people with cancer. Note: The information in this summary is no longer being updated and is provided for reference purposes only.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: September 4, 2015

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