What is PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that start one to two weeks before a woman’s period. The symptoms usually go away a few days after her period starts. More than 150 symptoms have been linked to PMS. Some women have mild symptoms for a day or two. For others, symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities.

Most Common PMS Symptoms

The most common PMS symptoms include:

Emotional symptoms:

– Mood swings 

– Irritability or anger

– Increased sensitivity 

– Anxiety or tension 

– Depression

– Difficulty concentrating

– Change in libido

Physical symptoms:

– Bloating

– Headaches

– Breast tenderness  

– Fatigue

– Appetite changes and food cravings

– Sleep problems

– Acne

What Causes PMS?

The exact causes of PMS are not fully understood but research suggests it’s linked to hormone changes during the menstrual cycle. In the days leading up to your period, levels of estrogen and progesterone rapidly rise and fall. These fluctuations are believed to affect brain chemicals like serotonin and may cause mood changes and physical symptoms. 

Other factors that can play a role include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, etc. 
  • Increase in inflammation hormones called prostaglandins
  • Sensitivity to normal hormone changes

Some women are more susceptible to PMS symptoms due to underlying conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. These can become worse in response to normal hormonal shifts. Stress, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and family history can also increase your risk.  

When to See Your Doctor 

Occasional mild symptoms are normal but if PMS is severely impacting your life, kapeefit online ayurvedic consultation can help identify underlying issues or provide treatment options.  

Seek prompt medical care if you experience PMS symptoms like:

– Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

– Severe depression or anxiety causing dysfunction

– Extreme irritability involving violent behavior  

Track your symptoms for 2-3 menstrual cycles. This record can help the doctor pinpoint patterns and diagnose PMS. You may be referred to other specialists like an OB-GYN (obstetrician-gynecologist) or psychiatrist.

Diagnosing PMS

There are no definitive medical tests for PMS. kapeefit online ayurvedic consultation for Gynecological problems often rely on symptom history to rule out other problems like thyroid disorders, depression, or chronic fatigue. Key indicators of PMS include:

– Symptoms start after ovulation and resolve shortly after period begins

– Symptoms are absent in the week after your period  

– You have no symptoms in medical history before menstrual cycles started

A pelvic exam and ultrasound tests can help exclude issues like fibroids, endometriosis or ovarian cysts. Blood tests check hormone levels and biomarkers related to inflammation. A daily PMS diary tracking symptoms helps establish predictable monthly patterns.

Treatments for PMS

Lifestyle remedies, medications, home treatments, and alternative therapies can relieve PMS. The best approach depends on the severity of symptoms. Your doctor can guide treatment customized for you.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Treatments

Simple self-care measures can often control milder PMS:

– Exercise regularly – at least 30 mins daily

– Practice stress reduction techniques 

– Get enough sleep (8 hours for adults)

– Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine 

– Reduce salt intake to minimize bloating  

Heating pads, relaxation baths, yoga, and massage provide symptom relief for many women. Keeping a symptom diary helps identify and prepare for difficult days. Nutritional supplements like calcium, magnesium vitamins B6 and E may ease some physical and mood symptoms.  

Medications and Supplements

If self-care fails to relieve PMS suffering, there are many medical options:

Birth control pills – These stabilize hormone fluctuations and often reduce PMS significantly.

Antidepressants (SSRIs) – Help physical and mood symptoms by increasing serotonin levels. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Prevent excess prostaglandin production thereby decreasing breast tenderness, fluid retention, cramping, and headaches.

In more severe PMDD cases, specific medications are used short-term in the luteal phase – last two menstrual weeks. These include anti-anxiety meds, GnRh agonists, or danazol. Talk to your doctor before using any new medication or supplement for PMS.

Alternative Therapies 

For women seeking non-drug approaches, several integrative health therapies can improve PMS: 

  • Acupuncture – Shown to relieve physical and emotional symptoms
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Addresses thought patterns and coping mechanisms  
  • Dietary changes – Reducing fat, salt intake and alcohol while increasing complex carbs, calcium and magnesium rich foods 

Studies also suggest benefit from chiropractic care, reflexology, massage, aromatherapy, and herbal remedies. But more research is needed on long term efficacy and safety.

Coping with PMS at Work and School  

Hormone-induced mood changes and physical discomfort can lower productivity and concentration. Here are some tips to manage PMS symptoms:

In the workplace: 

– Speak to HR about reasonable accommodations if struggling

– Schedule important meetings/tasks before or after period  

– Grab snacks and stay hydrated to avoid fatigue

– Use break time for brief walks or relaxation techniques

– Have an emergency period kit if needed  

At school:  

– Use planners and reminders more before period

– Request exam date changes if very symptomatic  

– Speak to counselors or staff you trust  

– Have over-the-counter meds accessible if approved

Partners and Support Systems  

PMS symptoms shouldn’t be dismissed as an “overreaction”. The shifts feel very intense and real for sufferers. Offering understanding and affection can mean a lot.

Help in tangible ways – stock up on period supplies, keep her favorite foods available, plan relaxing activities together. Don’t take moodiness personally. 

Suggest medical help if worrying symptoms arise like depression, panic attacks or suicidal thoughts. Share observations on symptom patterns respectfully. Tracking the cycles together can help identify and manage difficult days.

In Conclusion

Having PMS is challenging but not something to be ashamed of. Around 85% of menstruating women experience at least some symptoms of PMS. Being informed about causes, typologies of symptoms, diagnosis criteria and treatment options helps develop effective coping strategies. With proper self-care, social support and medical guidance when necessary, PMS can be managed to minimize life disruption.

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By SARAH