PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is a condition that affects a woman’s physical and emotional wellbeing during some days of the menstrual cycle. It affects 90% of menstruating women. Mood swings and anxiety are very common in this stage. Serotonin level also affects your mood. It mainly affects women whose moods are sensitive to changing hormone levels.
Causes for PMS
Many believe it occurs due to the change in hormone levels when the menstrual cycle begins. The hormones include estrogen, progesterone. Our lifestyle can also be a significant role in this. Some medications too can increase the effects of PMS.
Symptoms of PMS
The menstrual cycle is usually 28 days and the symptoms can start from the 14th day of the menstrual cycle (after ovulation) and last up to the last 7 days. The symptoms may be mild to moderate for most. For some the PMS symptoms are severe and it can be premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). After pregnancy, the symptoms of PMS can vary.
Physical symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome
- Abdominal bloating or pain
- Breast tenderness.
- Food Cravings
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Headaches, back pain.
- Lower tolerance to light or sound
Emotional Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome
- changes in sleep patterns
- anxiety, depression, sadness or emotional outbursts
- reduced sexual desire.
The symptoms of PMS can vary for different women and it can worsen with increasing age. It stops completely after menopause. You will need to consult your doctor if the symptoms are affecting your daily life.
Diagnosis for PMS
The doctor will be asking a few questions related to the symptoms, the frequency and timing of the symptoms along with a few more personal questions associated with your mood swings, stress, etc. Next, they may ask about any medications you are taking and your medical history. This may be followed by a combination few physical tests and blood tests.
During these tests, the doctor will rule out endometriosis, anemia, thyroid issues, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue issues as they have symptoms similar to PMS. If they are not able to identify any physical issues, then they may ask you to start keeping a record of the symptoms that you experience in the next three months in the period between ovulation and periods and is completely absent during the other days and establish a diagnosis from it.
Treatment for PMS
The treatment for PMS is based on the severity, cause and how much it affects your daily routines.
If they are mild the doctor may suggest changes to improve your current lifestyle like
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Eat a balanced diet including lots of fruits and vegetable
- Reduce your sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake
- Include supplements for folic acid, Vit b6, Vit D , calcium and magnesium.
- Exercise, try to sleep at least 8 hours
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Pain medications may be taken to reduces muscle aches and cramps.
- Hormonal medicines
All medication should be taken only after consulting with your doctor.
Severe PMS – PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder)
The symptoms are
- Suicidal thoughts
- Extreme anxiety, severe mood swings with anger bursts, panic attacks
- Binge eating
The symptoms occur due to changing hormone levels. Low serotonin level is also an additional factor.
Along with above mentioned steps the doctor may also suggest
- Stress management
PMS or PMDD cannot be completely cleared but the severity of the symptoms can be reduced.
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