Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of changes that many women experience about a week or two before their period. PMS symptoms include physical changes, such as acne, feeling bloated, and tiredness, as well as emotional or mood changes. PMS affects different women in different ways and may cause mild to severe discomfort. The symptoms usually disappear once the period starts.
Most women notice some changes before their period starts. But for some, these changes cause discomfort and affect their daily life and routine. If you find pre-menstrual changes hard to deal with, you could see a doctor for your Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
PMS could be caused by the hormonal changes during your period. Fluctuations of a brain chemical called serotonin may also cause PMS.
Certain factors increase your risk of having PMS:
Signs & Symptoms:
The symptoms of PMS include physical as well as emotional or behavioural ones:
Your gynaecologist will discuss your symptoms. PMS will be identified if you have more than one symptom and recurring. The timing of the symptoms will also help to establish whether they are related to PMS, as these typically disappear when your period starts. Your doctor may need to rule out other conditions that manifest in similar symptoms.
Your gynaecologist may prescribe medications to reduce your PMS. Depending on your symptoms and diagnosis, these medications could include painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants or diuretics, which help you to shed excess fluid. In some cases, hormonal contraceptives may be prescribed, to stop ovulation and give relief from PMS.
A: Yes, exercise will actually make you feel better. Research has found that aerobic exercise helps to reduce the symptoms of PMS. Brisk walking, running, cycling and swimming are aerobic exercises. These boost brain chemicals called endorphins, which may reduce PMS related pain. Yoga is also extremely helpful to reduce menstrual pain, cramps and bloating.
A: Yes, you can manage PMS symptoms with some dietary changes. Eating smaller meals frequently rather than large ones can reduce the feeling of being bloated. Fruits, vegetables and whole-grains will help you to feel better. Increase your intake of calcium rich foods, such as dairy products. Limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
A: Once you start taking hormonal contraceptives, your hormone levels become more predictable and PMS symptoms reduce. Other problems such as irregular periods, heavy periods and cramps also reduce with the pill. In some women, the steady hormones of the pill reduce the emotional symptoms of PMS.