Diuretics eliminate water and sodium from the body by increasing urination. Not only do they reduce bloating, but they also improve mood, breast tenderness, and food cravings. However, because they have potentially serious side effects, diuretics are usually prescribed for women with severe symptoms, rather than for women with mild PMS.


Diuretics decrease extracellular fluid volume and are used to treat heart failure, liver cirrhosis, hypertension, and some kidney diseases, as well as premenstrual syndrome.


Spironolactone (Aldactone) is the most commonly prescribed diuretic for women with PMS. It's known as a potassium-sparing which means it does not deplete the body's potassium supply. works by inhibiting the effect of aldosterone, a hormone that affects blood pressure and saline balance. It has a fairly onset of action, which means its effectiveness takes several develop; conversely, its effect diminishes slowly.

A 1995 study of thirty-five women by researchers at Umea Hospital in Sweden showed spironolactone significantly irritability, depression, feelings of bloating, breast tenderness, food cravings over six months, compared to a placebo. A 1991 of forty-three women showed similar mood improvements over months.

The standard dose for spironolactone is 50 milligrams up to 100 milligrams per day, for seven to ten days during the phase. This intermittent dosing pattern helps minimize side including an increased risk of bleeding from the stomach and menstrual irregularities, ataxia (a condition in which has problems coordinating muscle movements), drowsiness, and rashes, which are more common during continuous dosing.

You shouldn't take additional potassium if you use spironolactone. In addition, people taking this drug should also avoid salt substitutes.


Unlike spironolactone, which inhibits the effect of the hormone aldosterone, hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix, Hydrodiuril) inhibits the kidneys' ability to retain water. In addition to PMS-related bloating, hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure and to prevent kidney stones.

Thiazide diuretics cause the body to lose potassium. Eating foods high in potassium, such as bananas and orange juice, is usually enough to compensate for this effect, but in some cases, your doctor may recommend potassium supplements. Hydrochlorothiazide also has a potentially dangerous interaction with calcium. Long-term use of this drug (generally more than six months) can cause calcium to build up in your body and possibly lead to side effects such as calcium deposits.


Thiazide diuretics and licorice don't mix! Licorice root, often taken by women to alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia, and menopause, can worsen the potassium depletion.


Furosemide is known as a “loop diuretic” because it acts on an area of the kidney known as the loop of Henley that reabsorbs water from urine. Loop diuretics inhibit the reabsorption of sodium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium in the body and increase urine output. The drug, commonly prescribed under the brand name Lasix, is used to treat a variety of serious health conditions, including swelling associated with heart failure, renal impairment, and cirrhosis of the liver. It is also used to treat severe PMS-related bloating, especially if the woman did not respond well to spironolactone.


Furosemide has been used to prevent thoroughbred race horses from bleeding through the nose during races. It is one of the drugs included on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned drug because it is allegedly used as a masking drug.

  1. Home
  2. PMS
  3. PMS Medications
  4. Diuretics
Visit other About.com sites: