Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) - Overview

PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome) is known to consist of a wide variety of symptoms which can range from mood swings, fatigue, cravings to irritability and depression. 75% women all over the world suffer from one or the other symptoms of PMS. This syndrome is known to peek between the ages of 20 and 30. The symptoms of PMS tend to repeat themselves in a similar pattern. Due to the physical as well as the emotional changes when come along with PMS, the symptoms tend to intensify and decrease on their own.

Causes of PMS

The exact cause of PMS is unknown, however, some of the major contributing factors are as follows:

Change in the Hormones: With the fluctuation in the hormones as well as the initiation of the pregnancy and the menopause in women, the symptoms tend to ebb and flow.

Chemical Changes: Serotonin, which is one of the neurotransmitter secreted by the brain, are known to play a very major role in the triggering of PMS in women. With the insufficient secretion of serotonin, the PMS, depression tends to be elevated, which lead to the creation of fatigue, food cravings as well as sleep problems.

Depression and Stress: These are two major contributing factors which are known to aggravate the PMS.

Eating Habits: The PMS symptoms are known to have been linked with lower levels of vitamins and minerals. Also, consuming salty foods leads to the retention of the fluids and drinking alcohol or coffee in excess is known to cause mood and energy triggers.

Signs and Symptoms of PMS

Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with PMS are as follows:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Depressive and offbeat mood
  • Crying spells
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in the appetite, followed by food cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Low concentration
  • Pain in the joints and muscles
  • Headaches
  • Increased fatigue
  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Tenderness of the breast
  • Constipation

For some women, the signs and symptoms tend to take up a toll on their everyday working and activities. However, these symptoms tend to disappear as soon as the menstrual period begins. However, in some women, the syndrome can have a disabling effect. This form of PMS is known as PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). This is known as a severe form of PMS consisting of signs and symptoms such as despair, anxiety, a feeling of helplessness as well as difficulty in concentration and tension. An underlying psychiatric disorder could be the cause of PMDD.

It is recommended to see a doctor if you are not able to gain a control over your premenstrual syndrome with the changes in your lifestyle habits.

Tests and Diagnosis of PMS

No laboratory tests or physical tests can help the doctor in order to diagnose PMS. The prediction of the condition can be made on the basis of the premenstrual pattern.

However, in order to maintain a regular pattern, the following rules should be followed:

Maintaining a Diary: Maintaining a diary can help you to track and record the symptoms and signs of your menstrual cycles. You are required to note down the first day on which you notice the symptoms along with the days on which your period begins and ends.
Completing a Questionnaire: On the very first day of your period, you are required to fill a questionnaire consisting of the questions based on the symptoms experienced by you in the last two weeks. This can help the doctors to evaluate your condition in a better way.

Treatment and Drugs for PMS

The doctors may be prescribing you with medications in order to help you deal with your PMS. The success ratio of the treatment tends to vary from one woman to the other.

Some of the most commonly used medications are as follows:

Antidepressants: These contain the medications which help to inhibit the serotonin uptake. Medications such as Prozac, Sarafem, Paxil and Zoloft are known to help women in order to deal with the food cravings as well as fatigue. These medications are taken daily and help to battle insomnia as well.
NSAID’s (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs): These are generally taken during or before the onset of the period. Medicines such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen are known to help deal with cramps as well as breast discomforts.
Diuretics: These are known to help deal with the bloating which accompanies PMS. Spironolactone is a very well known diuretic, which helps to ease the symptoms of the disease.
Oral Contraceptives: These medications are known to stop the ovulation in women and therefore help to stabilize the swings in the hormones, causing in a temporary relief from the symptoms.
Depo – Provera: These are used in the severe cases of PMS or PMDD. Injections are given to the patients in order to stop the ovulation temporarily. Depo Provera can ease some of the symptoms associated with PMS such as headache, loss of appetite as well as depressive mood.

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