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Medically Approved

Natural treatment options for PMDD

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SymptomsNatural treatmentsMedication optionsLifestyle measuresSummary
Several natural remedies, including chaste tree berries and mineral supplements, may help treat symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). However, further research is necessary.
Medically reviewed by Kerry Boyle D.Ac., M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., CYT
Updated on

PMDD is a condition caused by hormone changes. Some people experience it in the second part of the menstrual cycle, known as the luteal phase, and it generally resolves around when their period starts.

PMDD can cause a range of debilitating emotional and physical symptoms, which can affect your day-to-day life.

While there are several treatments available for PMDD, including medication, some people prefer natural remedies like acupuncture, supplements, and essential oils.

What are the symptoms of PMDD?

Person laying on grass with a hand on their stomach to portray natural treatment options for PMDD.
Gillian Vann/Stocksy United

A 2022 article explains that PMDD is the most severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and can reduce the quality of life for those living with it. 

Symptoms of PMDD can be both physical and emotional.

For example, you may experience physical symptoms such as:

  • tender breasts 
  • bloating
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • insomnia or feeling overly tired

You may also experience emotional symptoms such as:

  • depression 
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • feeling tense

For a doctor to diagnose PMDD, you must meet a range of criteria:

  • at least one mood symptom
  • at least five total symptoms
  • symptoms link to your menstrual cycle
  • symptoms cause significant distress — for example, they affect your work or personal life
  • symptoms are not due to or worsened by another chronic condition or medications

Natural treatment options for PMDD

While the following natural remedies may help treat PMDD, further research is necessary to understand their effectiveness.

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Chaste tree berries (vitex agnus-castus)

A 2017 review explains that the berries of the chaste tree contain compounds like flavonoids, essential oils, diterpenes, and glycosides, which could have a positive effect on PMDD. For example, they may boast anti-inflammatory and hormone-altering effects. 

The review concluded that chaste berries may improve symptoms like headaches, irritability, and bloating. There were also no reports of significant side effects.

A review from 2021 came to the same conclusions, indicating that chaste berries may be a safe, effective option to try. 

Still, more research is needed to learn more about the berries’ effects on PMDD. 

Mineral supplements

A 2023 review explored how certain mineral supplements might benefit PMS and PMDD. Examples include:

  • Zinc: Taking zinc for 12 weeks appeared to improve both physical and psychological symptoms. 
  • Calcium: PMS may be linked to lower blood levels of calcium, so taking calcium supplements might improve symptoms. 
  • Magnesium: This may help prevent PMS, especially symptoms related to stress. 

However, the review emphasized that more studies are required to understand better how mineral supplements could support PMDD treatment. 

Vitamin supplements

The 2023 review noted above also explored how certain vitamins could support PMDD. This included vitamin D and vitamin B6.

Vitamin D may help reduce inflammation, irregular menstruation, and mood disorders. Vitamin B6 appeared to reduce premenstrual stress if combined with magnesium. It may also reduce anxiety in older women.

Research is only emerging, though, and more studies are needed to learn more about how micronutrients could help manage PMDD. 

Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis)

Evening primrose is a plant native to North America. You can derive the oil from its seeds, which have several therapeutic benefits.

People commonly take it orally in the form of liquid or gel caps for PMDD symptoms.

The 2021 review from earlier noted that while some studies on primrose oil’s effects on PMDD have been promising, others have had contradictory findings.

Regardless, the review didn’t find any significant side effects, but it can be helpful to speak with a doctor if you are interested in using the oil for PMDD symptoms.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice that involves inserting small needles into target areas of your body. It can help relieve pain and tension.

An older 2014 systematic review concluded that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments could reduce PMDD symptoms by around 50% or more when compared to the initial state.

Many of the included studies observed significant improvements in physical symptoms like headaches, stomach pain, and breast pain after just 2–4 sessions. Meanwhile, psychological effects were less evident. 

Although more research is needed to confirm these benefits, the review noted that acupuncture is likely safe to try.

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Medication options for PMDD

Examples of common PMDD medications include:

  • Antidepressants: These medications can help manage PMDD symptoms. Specifically, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may work well. Some common options include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), and paroxetine (Paxil).
  • Birth control pills: Birth control medications, such as combined pills, can help regulate hormones and reduce symptoms of PMDD. Examples include drospirenone ethinyl estradiol (Yasmin). 

The following medications may also help alleviate PMDD symptoms:

  • Progesterone and selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs): Progesterone and its receptors likely play a key role in PMDD. Drugs like ulipristal acetate (Ella) may help to manage the condition when other treatments don’t work. 
  • GABAergic drugs: Medications that act on the gamma-aminobutyric acid system in the brain (GABAergic drugs) can have sedative, anxiety-reducing, and anti-seizure properties and may improve PMDD. Options include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and alprazolam (Xanax).

A doctor can recommend whether any of these options might be suitable for you and your health. 

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.

What lifestyle measures may help?

In addition to natural remedies and medication, lifestyle measures may help reduce symptoms of PMDD. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It can also be beneficial to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed and create a relaxing bedtime routine to help with good sleep. 
  • Reducing stress: Activities such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help improve your mood and well-being as well as decreasing PMDD symptoms.
  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and well. Plus, complex carbohydrates may support the production of serotonin, a so-called “feel-good” hormone in your body. 
  • Getting enough exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and help with pain associated with PMS.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Some people find that CBT helps them manage disruptive thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.


To manage PMDD symptoms, you may have to try a few different approaches before you find what works best for you. 

Natural remedies such as herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals may support well-being and help manage PMDD, although more research is necessary.

Lifestyle interventions like getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can also be beneficial, as can certain medications like SSRI antidepressants and combined hormonal birth control. 

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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