Health

The Notorious Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome, also known as premenstrual tension or PMS, refers to the emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 250 million women suffer from PMS at least once during their menstrual cycle.

Causes and Symptoms of PMS

PMS usually starts after ovulation and can last for seven days or longer in some women. Some of the common causes of PMS include the following:

 

 

  • Hormone cycling: During the luteal phase, progesterone levels are high and estrogen can be low, resulting in some of the symptoms of PMS.

Women with PMS often experience symptoms based on their menstrual cycle. These symptoms could be severe and typically subside in a week or two. Consistent symptoms are also observed in some women and the condition is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Behavioral symptoms of PMS include:

 

 

  • Long spells of unnecessary crying
  • Insomnia
  • Alteration in eating habits
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Increased anger

Physical symptoms of PMS include:

  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Acne
  • Tenderness and swelling of the breasts
  • Heart palpitations

Treatment Strategies for PMS

Various treatment strategies are available depending on the severity of the symptoms. Some of the most common strategies are:

 

  • Diuretics: Drugs like Aldactoneare most effective in managing weight gain, inflammation and bloating.
  • Contraceptives: Various contraceptives are available that can reduce or inhibit ovulation but are rarely used in managing PMS as they do not provide any relief from the symptoms.

Alternative treatments for PMS include:

  • Chromium: An intake of chromium could regulate insulin and blood sugar levels, keeping food cravings under control.
  • Vitamins and minerals: A combination of vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium may elevate mood and reduce PMS symptoms effectively.

Complications Associated With PMS

Apart from mood swings, bloating and pain, PMS can also worsen other conditions that a woman may suffer from, including:

 

PMS is often characterized by changes in mood and behavior during the luteal phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. These symptoms subside on their own as the cycle continues, but you can alleviate its symptoms and bring back some normalcy to your routine with rest, medications and natural ingredients.


References

Gillings MR. Were there evolutionary advantages to premenstrual syndrome? Evol Appl. 2014 Sep;7(8):897-904.

Studd J. Hormone therapy for reproductive depression in women. Post Reprod Health. 2014 Dec;20(4):132-7.

Chung SH, Kim TH, Lee HH, et al. Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder in perimenopausal women. J Menopausal Med. 2014 Aug;20(2):69-74.

Abraham S, Luscombe G, Soo I. Oral contraception and cyclic changes in premenstrual and menstrual experiences. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2003 Sep;24(3):185-93.

Bianco V, Cestari AM, Casati D, et al. Premenstrual syndrome and beyond: lifestyle, nutrition, and personal facts. Minerva Ginecol. 2014 Aug;66(4):365-75.

Helmerhorst FM, Lopez LM, Kaptein AA. Premenstrual syndrome. Lancet. 2008 Aug 9;372(9637):446; author reply 446-7.

Coffee AL, Kuehl TJ, Sulak PJ. Comparison of scales for evaluating premenstrual symptoms in women using oral contraceptives. Pharmacotherapy. 2008 May;28(5):576-83.

 

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