Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) describes a wide range of recurrent symptoms that occur several days to two weeks before your period. PMS affects up to 75 percent of women in their childbearing years.
The symptoms of PMS can appear any time between puberty and menopause, but the most common age for it to start to become a problem is during the late 20s to early 30s.
Symptoms of PMS may get worse with age and stress, although the underlying causes are not well understood. Even women who have had hysterectomies can have PMS if at least one functional ovary is left. Women who are vulnerable to depressive illness, panic disorder, other psychiatric disorders or chronic medical conditions may also be susceptible to PMS, although these conditions may occur in women without PMS as well. Heredity may also play a role: if your mother or sister suffers PMS, you may find you experience it, too.
Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, is not considered a PMS symptom, although many women with PMS also experience menstrual cramps.
PMS appears to be caused by a sensitivity to the rising and falling levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which may influence brain chemicals, including serotonin, a substance that has a strong affect on mood. It´s not clear why some women develop PMS or PMDD and others do not, but researchers suspect that some women are more sensitive than others to changes in hormone levels.
Calcium may play a role in PMS, although the reason remains unclear. In one study, women who took 600 mg of calcium twice a day experienced fewer PMS symptoms than women who took a placebo.
Dietary changes and exercise may also help relieve the discomfort of PMS symptoms. When symptoms are severe, serotonergic antidepressant medication may be prescribed. It is thought that increased serotonin reduces PMS symptoms.
One of the most important strategies for coping with premenstrual discomfort is to be aware of any pattern your symptoms follow. The more aware you are of your symptoms—when they start and stop and what works best to relieve them, for example—the better you can develop strategies to recognize and cope with them—whatever they may be.
your risks and benefits. Oral contraceptives are not recommended for women who smoke because of increased cardiovascular risks.
There is no specific laboratory test to determine if you suffer PMS, and diagnosis can take some time because symptoms are so varied. :
* They tend to increase in severity as your cycle progresses.
* They improve within a few days of your menstrual period starting.
* They are present for at least two to three consecutive menstrual cycles.
* Sudden mood swings
* Joint and muscle aches
* Food cravings
* Fluid retention
* Sleep disturbances
* Breast swelling and tenderness
* Abdominal bloating
* Breast tenderness
* Swelling of hands/feet
* Depressed mood
* Mood swings
* Crying spells and tearfulness
* Decreased or increased appetite
* Difficulty concentrating
* Difficulty sleeping