What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that many women get after ovulation and before the start of their menstrual period. Researchers think that PMS happens in the days after ovulation because estrogen and progesterone levels begin falling dramatically if you are not pregnant. PMS symptoms go away within a few days after a woman’s period starts as hormone levels begin rising again. Some women get their periods without any signs of PMS or only very mild symptoms. For others, PMS symptoms may be so severe that it makes it hard to do everyday activities like going to work or school. Severe PMS symptoms may be a sign of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. PMS goes away when you no longer get a period, such as after menopause.
What are the common symptoms of PMS?
Emotional symptoms include
- Angry outbursts/Irritability
- Crying spells
- Poor concentration
Physical symptoms include
- Bloating and weight gain
- Food cravings
- Breast tenderness
- Skin problems
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
How is PMS diagnosed
To diagnose PMS, a Gynaecologist must confirm a pattern of symptoms as follows
A woman’s symptoms must
- be present in the 5 days before a period for at least three menstrual cycles in a row
- end within 4 days after a period starts
- interfere with some normal activities Keeping a record of your symptoms can help your doctor understand if you have PMS. Each day for at least 2 to 3 months, write down and rate any symptoms you feel. Record the dates of your periods as well
What is the treatment for PMS
If symptoms are mild to moderate, they can be relieved by changes in lifestyle or diet. If the symptoms begin to interfere with your life, you may need to seek medical treatment. Treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are. In more severe cases, your gynaecologist may recommend medication.
Regular aerobic exercise lessens PMS symptoms and helps many women. It may reduce fatigue and depression. Brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming, increases your heart rate and lung function. Exercise is recommended on a regular basis and not just when you have the symptoms. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. week. Relaxation therapies, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, hypnotherapy have all found to be helpful. Sleeping at regular times may help lessen moodiness and fatigue.
- Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates. A complex carbohydrate-rich diet may reduce mood symptoms and food cravings. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods made with whole grains, like whole wheat bread, pasta, and cereals. Other examples are barley, brown rice, beans, and lentils.
- Add calcium-rich foods, like yogurt and leafy green vegetables, to your diet.
- Reduce your intake of fat, salt, and sugar.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Change your eating schedule. Eat six small meals a day rather than three large ones or eat slightly less at your three meals and add three light snacks. Keeping your blood sugar level stable will help with symptoms.
Consuming 1200 milligrams of calcium a day can help reduce the physical and mood symptoms that are part of PMS. Taking magnesium supplements may help reduce water retention (“bloating”), breast tenderness, and mood symptoms. One study has shown that vitamin E may help reduce symptoms of PMS. Hormonal birth control pills may lessen physical symptoms by preventing ovulation. but may not relieve the mood symptoms of PMS. It may be necessary to try more than one of these medications before finding one that works. Antidepressants can be helpful in treating PMS in some women. These drugs can help lessen mood symptoms. They can be used 2 weeks before the onset of symptoms or throughout the menstrual cycle. Antianxiety medications can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety if that is a major problem. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain. If water retention is a major problem, diuretics can be used to relieve this symptom
Premenstrual syndrome can affect a woman’s life at work and home and interfere with her interpersonal relationships. The cause of PMS is not understood but we do know that the symptoms are related to ovulation in the menstrual cycle. Patients can be treated using non-drug based interventions, suppression of ovulation, or specific psychotropics. So, if you feel you may suffer from PMS, seek medical help early.