Nutrition Made Simple


September 18 2021



Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a very common condition affecting emotional, physical, and behavioral health during the days of the menstrual cycle. It affects more than 90 percent of the women who menstruate and must impair some aspect of the life for the doctor to diagnose the person. The symptoms of this condition usually start 5 to 11 days before menstruation and go away after menstruation begins. Many scientists believe that PMS is associated with a change in sex hormones as well as serotonin levels, at the beginning of the menstrual cycle; however, the real cause is unknown. The levels of estrogen and progesterone are seen to be increased during certain times of the month, which may cause mood swings, irritation, and even anxiety. The levels of serotonin (a chemical in the brain, which is responsible for emotions and thoughts) affect the mood of a person and ovarian steroids also are responsible for the modulation in some parts of the brain which are associated with premenstrual syndrome. 

What are the symptoms of PMS?

An average menstrual cycle lasts for about 28 days. Ovulation is the period when an egg (female gamete) is released by the ovaries. This process occurs on the 14th day of this cycle. Menstruation (the bleeding) starts on the 28th day of this cycle. The symptoms of PMS can start around the 14th day and last until the completion of 7 days after the menstruation starts; they are usually mild or moderate. The symptoms include abdominal bloating, fatigue, acne, sore breasts, diarrhea, constipation, headache, anxiety, sadness, emotional  outbursts, cravings for food, abdominal pain, light or sound sensitivity, and irritability. 

If these symptoms are not going away, or are affecting your regular life, it is highly advised to see a doctor. The doctors perform the diagnosis when there is more than one recurrent symptom, which is severe and may cause impairment. However, there are some conditions like anemia, thyroid disease, irritable bowel syndrome chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., which may have symptoms that are similar to PMS. So, the doctor may perform the tests to ensure that you don’t have any of these problems. Doctors also perform a pelvic test to ensure that you don’t have any gynecological issues. 

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Severe premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is very rare, most of the people affected by PMS experience mild to moderate symptoms with less severity. This condition affects 3 to 8 percent of the women who menstruate and is characterized in the newer edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. The symptoms of this condition are depression, binge eating, bloating, lack of concentration, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, crying spells, anger issues, mood swings, and lack of interest in regular activities. Changes in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and serotonin are believed to cause the premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The doctor usually takes a physical exam, liver test, blood count, and even a gynecological exam for diagnostic purposes. Treatment of this severe condition varies from patient to patient. Daily exercises, caffeine-free diet, counseling, stress management exercises, vitamin supplements like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. If the symptoms still don’t improve, the doctor might prescribe an antidepressant (serotonin reuptake inhibitor), which enhances the levels of serotonin in the brain and regulates brain functioning. 

How to prevent the symptoms of PMS?

  • Dietary changes: if you’re experiencing symptoms of PMS, it is highly advised to limit the sugar intake and increase the intake of complex carbohydrates. Caffeine intake is also associated with PMS symptoms like irritability and insomnia; hence, it is advised to reduce it when experiencing the symptoms. Some people also get affected by sodium, reduced intake of which may also provide relief. A well-balanced diet is also beneficial in reducing such symptoms, as; it includes all the essential nutrients that maintain the overall health and a healthy menstrual cycle.
  • Regular physical activity: a routine that comprises regular workouts or any other physical activity like walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or aerobics can release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These are the chemicals that regulate the emotions and mood of a person. Hence, exercising regularly can have a positive effect on the energy and sleeping patterns of a person.
  • Stress management: meditation, yoga, and other breathing exercises are some of the easy and natural ways of managing stress. Stress has also been seen to cause some symptoms of PMS like headaches and mood swings. Stress management techniques also constructively provide personal time to a person for relaxation, helps in expressing emotions by giving topmost priority to your needs.
  • Water: drinking plenty of water and other fluids (non-caffeinated) is also considered a good way to ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Abdominal bloating is a common problem faced by women during the time of menstruation, which may also happen as a result of lack of water intake. It is advised to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.
  • Supplementation: dietary supplements of folic acid, calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium may also provide relief from mood swings and abdominal cramps experienced by menstruating women. Multivitamins may help in such cases. They are available in the form of supplements like alvizia’s multivitamins for women
  • Evening primrose oil (gamma linoleic acid supplement)

    Gamma linoleic acid is primarily used for women’s health, for ages. It is taken up by many women around the globe, to relieve symptoms of PMS or premenstrual syndrome. 

    However, it is advised to consult a registered medical practitioner, or more conveniently, a doctor, before taking evening primrose or gamma linoleic acid supplements. 

    About aleneve

    Alvizia’s evening primrose oil, or aleneve, an active source of gamma- linoleic acid, is a dietary supplement used in various skin diseases, hair loss, and menopausal health issues.

    Cold-pressed and available in a pack consisting of 60 soft gel capsules, it is ideal for women’s health as it may treat hormonal or cystic acne, scleroderma, osteoporosis, etc. It consists of linoleic acid and gamma-linoleic acid, which are the components of myelin. Hence, it is considered good for neuronal health. 

    It can also help in reducing the risks and chances of various chronic diseases. 

    This article is the sole opinion of the author and Alvizia Healthcare holds no responsibility for the content. *

    Tagged: Capsules, Evening-Primrose-Oil, Softgels


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