As a woman’s body prepares for menstruation each month, a woman may feel a variety of symptoms, which are known as PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. PMS can make a woman feel varied physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms usually occur for women who are on their late 20s or early 40s, and the symptoms usually occur a few days before the onset of menstruation.
The cause of PMS is not known, but there are factors which are believed to play a part in causing the symptoms. Before a woman gets her period, levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate. This is believed to contribute to the symptoms that a woman feels each month. Aside from hormonal changes, chemical changes may also be involved. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which is thought to affect the mood of a person. Premenstrual depression could result if there is an insufficient amount of serotonin in an individual. Too much intake of salty foods, alcohol, and caffeine may also play a role in PMS symptoms. Aside from that, there may be an association of PMS among individuals who don’t have enough vitamins and minerals in their diet.
Common physical symptoms include bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, joint or muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, constipation and diarrhea. It can also affect a woman’s emotions, and common symptoms include mood swings, difficulty in concentrating, appetite changes, tearfulness, anxiety and irritability. Although there are a lot of possible symptoms of PMS, most women only experience a few of these symptoms at a time.
An individual may experience these symptoms at different levels. Some women may have symptoms so severe that it can already affect their daily activities. However, a lot of women feel that their symptoms usually go away during the onset of menstruation. Since there are no definitive tests to diagnose PMS, doctors would usually advise a woman to keep a record of her symptoms for at least two months, or two cycles. It is also important to note dates like when the symptoms started, and when it has also ended.
Since PMS cannot be prevented, the management is focused on relieving symptoms. Having a record of your symptoms will help you understand how PMS affects your physical and emotional health. Knowing your symptoms can help because it allows you to come up with coping strategies, which can reduce stress and anxiety. If you feel that your symptoms are severe, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor can help you in managing your symptoms, either through counseling or medications.
It may also be necessary to modify your dietary habits because some food items like caffeine and alcohol may cause mood, and energy level disturbances. To reduce bloating, limit your salt intake, and try to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Choose foods like fruits and vegetables because these are rich in complex carbohydrates. It may also help if you consume foods rich in calcium which can be found in dairy products.
If having a well-balanced diet is not possible, dietary supplements may be helpful. Taking 1200 mg of calcium supplement daily can help ease symptoms of PMS. By taking 400 mg of supplemental magnesium daily, fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating may be reduced. Taking 50 to 100 mg of Vitamin B6 daily may also help in relieving symptoms. Likewise, a 400 IU of Vitamin E daily may also alleviate breast tenderness and cramps.
Exercise is a good way to fight off stress and fatigue. Try to have at least 30 minutes of exercise during most days of the week. Regular exercise is good because it can also help in improving your mood. There are also other ways that you can reduce stress. Rest periods are very crucial in stress management. It may also help if you practice yoga, or other relaxation techniques, so that you can cope with stress.
While there are a lot of treatment options, it may be best that you get properly evaluated for your signs and symptoms. Though there have been many claims that some herbs can provide relief, the FDA does not regulate herbs, and their safety and effectiveness has not been proven yet. Ultimately, your treatment will depend on the symptoms that you have, and it is still best to consult your healthcare provider, so that you can attain relief from the discomforts that PMS brings.