What is Premenstrual Syndrome?

PMS is a group of physical and emotional symptoms that many women get after ovulation and prior to the start of their menstrual period. PMS happens in the days after ovulation because estrogen and progesterone levels begin falling noticeably if you are not pregnant. Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms go away within a few days after a woman’s period starts as hormone levels begin going up again.

A number of women get their periods without any signs of PMS or only very mild symptoms. For others, PMS symptoms may be so rigorous that it makes it hard to do daily activities. Severe PMS symptoms may be a sign of a premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). When you no longer get a period, such as after menopause PMS goes away. PMS might come back, after pregnancy but you might have different PMS symptoms.

One of the important causes of PMS is changes in hormones which can result in chemical changes in the brain, during the menstrual cycle. Hormonal level changes may affect some women more than others. Other issues such as emotional problems and stress can make PMS symptoms worse.

These factors can cause PMS symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, fatigue, headache, depression, back pain, food cravings, acne, swollen tender breasts, stomach bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

What are the causes of premenstrual syndrome?

  • A change in the hormones during the menstrual cycle can cause PMS. Levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones rise and fall just prior to a menstrual cycle. A rise in these hormones can cause anxiety, mood swings, and irritability.
  • The variation in hormones can also affect certain chemical levels in the brain. For instance, serotonin which can control your moods and make you happier may reduce with a change in the hormone level. This can directly affect our moods.
  • It has been detected that overweight women are more likely to have PMS. Heavy smoking and drinking and an unhealthy diet or too much stress can also cause PMS.

When to see a doctor for premenstrual syndrome?

You need to visit a doctor if any of your symptoms especially your mood swings, depression, or abdomen, joint and muscle pains are interfering with your day to day activities, or if you feel these symptoms even after menstruation has stopped to get pms treatment as early as possible.

What is the treatment of premenstrual syndrome?

A lot of women experience relief from PMS symptoms through lifestyle changes. Regular exercise can help you to get complete relief from PMS symptoms. Doing aerobics at least for one hour per week can help ease the symptoms. Other activities can include swimming, walking, and cycling. These activities will help keep depression at bay. Breathing and stretching exercises, such as yoga and Pilates, will help decrease your stress levels.

Recommended lifestyle changes include:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Before two weeks of menstruation cut back on caffeine and alcohol
  • Make sure you get enough sleep.

Dietary changes for PMS

Women experiencing PMS symptoms may long for high-fat and high-sugar foods like biscuits, chocolate, and ice cream, and may consequently increase their food intake significantly. By making a few dietary changes and managing your weight you can reduce your PMS symptoms You might like to try:

  • Eating smaller meals, for example, have six ‘mini-meals’ instead of three main meals
  • reducing your intake of salty foods
  • including more fresh fruits and vegetables, and wholegrain foods in your daily diet
  • boost your daily food intake
  • Avoid consuming high-fat and high-sugar foods
  • Maintaining a PMS diary – charting your food intake may help you become more aware of high-fat and high-sugar snacking.

Maintaining a diary can give you and your doctor a better picture of your symptoms and help you assess the effects of different treatments.