Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms that begin one or two weeks before the menstrual cycle. These symptoms usually go away after the menstrual bleeding starts. Premenstrual Syndrome can affect every woman during their reproductive period. For some, the signs and symptoms are so severe that makes it hard even to get through the day, while for others the signs and symptoms are very light and do not affect their daily activities. Premenstrual Syndrome goes away in cases of menopause and pregnancy. A small number of women with premenstrual syndrome have disabling symptoms every month. This form of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
What Causes Premenstrual Syndrome?
The real cause of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is not known, even though there are several factors that may be included. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle seam to play an important role. Chemical changes in the brain are also involved. Other possible causes of PMS include: drinking alcohol, drinking caffeine, eating too much salty food, having low levels of minerals and vitamins, etc. Premenstrual syndrome is worsen by stress and depression, even though they seem no to cause PMS.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) occurs more often in women who:
- Are between the late age of 20s and early 40s
- Have at least 1 child
- Have a family history of depression
- Have had postpartum depression or a mood disorder in the past, etc.
Signs and Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome
Signs and symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome are both physical and emotional. These signs and symptoms may include:
- Swollen breasts
- Tender breasts
- Upset stomach, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Appetite changes
- Food cravings
- Joint or muscle pain
- Trouble with concentration or memory
- Tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells
- Depression, etc.
How is Premenstrual Syndrome Diagnosed?
Premenstrual Syndrome is diagnosed by your doctor according to the signs and symptoms you might have and that they do affect your life every month. Usually the above signs and symptoms start a week or two before the menstrual bleeding starts and end with the beginning of the new menstrual cycle. So, it is very important to keep a good track of the signs and symptoms you might have. Your doctor before diagnosing you with PMS will want to rule out some other medical conditions that have some same signs and symptoms, like:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
How is Premenstrual Syndrome Treated?
There is no exact treatment for PMS. No treatment works for every woman. Some of the treatment options include:
- Lifestyle changes – get enough sleep, at least 8 hours daily, eat healthy food, drink a lot of water daily, avoid salt, sugary foods, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes, exercise regularly, try to eliminate stress, etc.
- Medications – over the counter pain relievers will help you relieve the pain, breast tenderness, muscular cramps and headaches.
- Alternative therapies – certain minerals and vitamins when taken on regular basis have been found to help relieve the symptoms of PMS. These include: Magnesium, Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, etc.