Description of Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Description It is a combination of variety of symptoms occurring about 1 or 2 weeks before the expected menses and soon recedes in 1 to 2 days once menses start. It is most commonly found in women in the age group of 20 to 30. Almost every three out of four menstruating women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The pattern of onset, duration, progress, and symptoms are specific to each woman.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of PMS is unknown. Following are some causative factors that are said to be responsible for the variety of PMS symptoms.1. Changes in hormones during menstrual cycle2. Changes in neurotransmitters (chemicals in brain) which affect mood, e.g., serotonin3. Personal or family history of depression4. Stress5. Deficiency of vitamins and minerals
Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms and signs are:1. Breast tenderness2. Bloating or heaviness in abdomen3. Headache4. Constipation or diarrhea5. Acne6. Food cravings7. Muscle pains8. Weight gain due to fluid retention9. Irritability10. Mood swings
There is no specific test to diagnose PMS. A complete medical history and clinical examination can direct the physician towards diagnosis of PMS. Affected women should keep a track of these symptoms in a diary for at least 3 months. This can help the physician to confirm diagnosis and rule out other disorders.
Treatment and Prevention
Treatment and prevention include: 1. Drink plenty of water or fruit juices.2. Avoid intake of alcohol, soft drinks, or caffeine containing beverages.3. Avoid excess salt or salty foods that can cause fluid retention.4. Eat balanced healthy food containing vegetables, fiber, less salt, and fruits.5. Include nutrition supplements such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B complex if required6. Do regular exercises, yoga, aerobics, swimming, or jogging for at least 30 minutes a day for physical fitness and refreshment.7. Take proper sleep.8. Medications include, painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which can be prescribed for headache, backache, menstrual cramping, and breast tenderness.
Complications and When Should You See a Doctor
Sometimes the symptoms of PMS can get so severe that they affect daily routine activities of women.Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS with signs and symptoms including severe depression, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and tension. Some women tend to suicide out of depression or PMDD.