What is premenstrual syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a psycho neuro hormonal disorder which is not related to any organic lesion in the body. The symptoms of PMS generally appear before menstrual cycle and lasts for about 7 to 10 days of the menstrual cycle. When these symptoms are svere enough to affect the daily functioning it is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
How often do we see PMS in general population?
PMS is very commonly seen in women of age group 30-45 years and it’s said that it affects approximately 80% of menstruating females.
Why do we get PMS?
The exact cause of PMS is not known. However, there are various hypotheses related to PMS
- Alteration in the levels of female sex hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone. It is said in women who suffer from PMs there is altered oestrogen: progesterone ratio or low levels of progesterone in the last ten days of the menstrual cycle
- Serotonin is a mood enhancing hormone produced by the brain. Decreased levels of serotonin in the second phase of menstrual cycle is linked to PMS
- Endorphins also called as the happy hormones are seen in a lesser amount in women suffering from PMS.
What are the common symptoms related to PMS?
Symptoms of PMS vary from general mood swings to irritability, depression and anxiety. Other symptoms of PMS include abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, swelling of extremities and water retention in the body.
How do I differentiate PMS with other gynaecological illness?
PMS is a condition which is not related to any pathology. Having said that, if a woman suffers from symptoms mentioned above in a severe form, the gynaecologist may write certain tests apart from a clinical examination to rule out possible other causes.
To come to a diagnosis of PMS, following criteria should be fulfilled
- Not related to any organic cause or pathology in the body.
- These symptoms occur in a regular cyclical fashion and are seen frequently just before the menstrual cycle.
Is there any cure for PMS?
As PMS affects the neuro hormonal and general mental health of a female having no known cause and being multifactorial in origin, following steps can be taken to get relief from PMS
- Yoga and meditation are known to increase the happy hormones in the body and thus can relieve symptoms of PMS to some extent.
- Modifying the diet by decreasing the tea and coffee intake in the diet helps to alleviate the symptoms of PMS.
- Certain supplements in the diet like vitamin E and vitamin B 6 can also help in relieving the symptoms.
- In case if the symptoms of PMS are quite disturbing and affects the daily life activities of a woman, the doctor might put you on antianxiety, antidepressant medication.
- Sometimes even oral contraceptive pills are given to maintain a uniform hormonal levels in the body.
- In severe cases, medication can also be given to suppress the ovarian cycle.