October 05 2021
Premenstrual syndrome abbreviated as PMS is a condition that affects women's physical health, emotions and behaviour during certain days of her menstrual cycle. Usually, the symptoms are experienced just before women's menses.
Premenstrual syndrome is a common condition and affects more than 90 per cent of menstruating women. The symptoms usually start 5-11 days before menstruation and go away at the beginning of it. Talking about its causes, the causes of PMS are not known. However many researchers believe that PMS is caused due to change in sex hormones and serotonin levels at the beginning of the menstrual cycle.
During certain times of the month, there is a surge of estrogen and progesterone leading to mood swings, anxiety and irritability. Serotonin levels in our body are responsible for our mood. It is a chemical in the brain and gut that affects our mood, emotions and thoughts. Let us now find out the risk factors of PMS.
Risk factors for premenstrual syndrome
- family history of PMS
- family history of depression
- domestic violence
- substance abuse
- history of mood disorders
- physical trauma
- emotional trauma
PMS is associated with certain conditions, including dysmenorrhea, seasonal affective disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and schizophrenia.
Symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome
Before discussing the symptoms of PMS, let us know about menstrual cycles first. The menstrual cycle of a woman lasts 28 days. The process of ovulation occurs on the 14th day of the cycle. Ovulation is a process where an egg is released from the ovaries. Menstruation occurs on the 28th day of the cycle. PMS symptoms start to appear around the 14th day and last for about 7 days.
Coming to symptoms of PMS, these symptoms are moderate or mild. 80 percent of women report one or more symptoms that do not affect their daily functioning. About 20 to 32% of women report moderate to severe symptoms that affect some aspect of their life. The severity of the symptoms usually varies from person to person and from one month to another.
Following are the symptoms of PMS
- Abdominal Bloating
- Abdominal Pain
- Sore Breasts
- Food Cravings, Especially For Sweets
- Sensitivity To Light Or Sound
- Changes In Sleep Patterns
- Emotional Outbursts
When to see the doctor
It is advised to see your doctor if your symptoms like physical pain, mood swings and other symptoms start to affect your daily life or if these symptoms don't go away.
The diagnosis of PMS is made when a woman has more than one recurrent symptom in the correct time frame which is severe enough to cause impairment and is absent between menses and ovulation. Also, doctors will look for other things to rule out other causes of your symptoms. Following are some of the other causes of such symptoms.
- Thyroid Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Connective Tissue or Rheumatologic Diseases
Your doctor might ask you if you or your family has a history of depression or mood disorders to find out whether symptoms are results of PMS or any other condition. Conditions like IBS, hypothyroidism and pregnancy have symptoms similar to that of PMS.
Further, your doctor may recommend you to have a thyroid test to check if your thyroid gland is working properly, a pregnancy test and a pelvic exam to check for any gynaecological problems. Another way to diagnose if you have a PMS or not is to keep a diary of your symptoms. You may use a calendar to keep track of symptoms and menstruation every month. If at all you find that you experience symptoms during the same time each month, then most likely PMS is the cause for your symptoms.
Easing the symptoms of PMS
Unfortunately, there is as such no cure for PMS. However, you can take some easy steps to ease your symptoms. If you experience mild or moderate premenstrual syndrome, then following are some treatment options:
- To ease abdominal bloating: Drink plenty of fluids
- To improve health and energy: eat a balanced diet and reduce intake of sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol
- To reduce cramps and mood swing: take supplements like folic acid, vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium
- To Reduce symptoms: Take vitamin D
- To reduce fatigue: have a sound sleep of eight hours each night
- To decrease bloating and improve mental health: exercise
You may also take pain medication like ibuprofen or aspirin to alleviate muscle ache, stomach cramping and headache. To stop bloating, try using diuretics. Make sure you take any medicine or supplement only as directed by and after speaking to your doctor.
You can also try Aleneve Evening primrose oil soft gelatin capsules. It is a rich source of omega 6 essential fatty acids. The supplement is used to alleviate menstrual cramps and address premenstrual syndrome. It is also used to ease out menopause-related symptoms, hair loss, rheumatoid arthritis and skin health.
Severe PMS: premenstrual dysphoric disorder
It's rare to have severe PMS symptoms. However those who have, they suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder abbreviated as PMDD. It affects 3-8 per cent women. Following are symptoms of PMDD.
- Thoughts of Suicide
- Panic Attacks
- Extreme Anxiety
- Anger With Severe Mood Swings
- Crying Spells
- A Lack of Interest In Daily Activities
- Trouble Thinking or Focusing
- Binge Eating
- Painful Cramping
Your doctor may do a physical exam, gynaecological exam, complete blood count and liver function test to rule out other medical problems They may also recommend a psychiatric evaluation. If there is a personal or family history of depression, trauma, stress and substance abuse then it may trigger or worsen the symptoms of PMDD.
Surely we can not prevent PMS or PMDD but the treatment options as mentioned in the article can help to ease out the symptoms.
The symptoms of PMS or PMDD recur but after the start of menstruation, they tend to go away. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and comprehensive treatment plan can help to reduce symptoms for most women.