Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS has various painful symptoms extending from mood swings to food cravings, and is known to affect an estimated 3 of every 4 menstruating women. PMS typically starts midway through the normal cycle and continues until menstruation has begun. PMS can occur in any woman during her reproductive years and would still unfortunately continue even after the onset of menopause.
Premenstrual Syndrome tends to persist in predictable patterns; however, the emotional and physical changes may be severe in some months and just slightly noticeable in others. The good thing about PMS is that various treatments have been developed to reduce and manage its symptoms.
According to the study of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, at least 85% of women experience not less than 1 PMS symptom in each of their monthly cycles. Most women do not need treatment; however, approximately 3% to 8% undergo the more severe form of PMS, called the premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.
PMS causes symptoms in all the different aspects of a woman’s life – physical, emotional, behavioral or mental. As documented through different studies, there are over 150 PMS symptoms. A lot of women usually experience a few symptoms, but others are unfortunate enough to undergo a dozen or even more symptoms at one time.
The physical symptoms of PMS may include:
PMS will also affect your emotions and mental activity, as well as the direction of your behavior. Symptoms under these may include:
The exact cause of PMS is still unknown to researchers. It is still impossible to know those exact causes; however, there are some factors that may actually contribute to the condition. Such factors may include:
Since there are no laboratory exams to diagnose if a patient has PMS, the most useful tool that a doctor may recommend is a menstrual diary. Signs and symptoms for at least two menstrual cycles will be recorded in the diary. The first day that PMS symptoms are noticed, including the day they disappear will have to be noted. The beginning and end of a menstrual period will have to be marked as well. Keeping a menstrual diary will not only help the doctor, but also the aids in the understanding of the patient’s own moods and body. After the diagnosis of the PMS is made and explained, it will be easier for the patient to cope up with the symptoms.
A questionnaire may also be asked by the doctor for the patient to complete. The questions included pertain to PMS symptoms that have been experienced by the patient for the last two weeks. This then gives the doctor more information for further evaluation.
One or more medications may be prescribed for PMS. The success rate of each would still vary from one woman to another. The most commonly prescribed medications by the doctors for PMS may include:
In order to prevent and manage PMS, a healthy lifestyle should be practiced. These practices should include:
All of the above have been suggested as a help for reducing PMS symptoms in some women. Moreover, some researches also recommend that the intake of vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium can have its benefits.