Trial offers hope to PMS sufferers
By ZOE SINCLAIR
HELP is on the way for all sufferers, and bystanders, of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
A Southern Cross University PHD student, Cathy Avila, is conducting a clinical trial investigating the effects of vitamins, herbs and minerals in combatting PMS.
Recent studies show around half of Grafton women probably suffer symptoms of PMS. These symptoms affect their lifestyle and relationships.
Symptoms occur mainly in the week leading up to their cycle and include anything from a lack of energy and headaches to clumsiness.
A volunteer at Kyogle Caring Circle, Julie St. Aubyn, took part in a previous trial and noticed a significant difference after treatment.
"You can't function as well in the family and most women have to continue working. Apart from the physical symptoms being better, the emotional symptoms were better too. It benefits everyone, not just women," said Ms St. Aubyn.
The trial, which will involve 200 Clarence Valley volunteers, will start in April and run for seven months.
Ms Avila said it will be made up of three groups ? a control group receiving placebo tablets, a group taking all the vitamins, herbs and minerals and a group taking only magnesium and calcium.
Ms Avila said the combination 'is essentially about well being'.
Magnesium and calcium have been trialed separately and shown to have an improved effect on symptoms.
There is a link between PMS and osteoarthritis, a condition in which calcium and magnesium are key. This suggests something is wrong with the metabolism of these minerals, Ms Avila said.
The women will fill out a diary of their menstrual cycles for the duration of the trial. It involves details of diet, exercise and physical and emotional symptoms.
The tablets will target sufferers with mild to moderate symptoms.