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What is premenstrual syndrome or PMS?

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.

Possible Causes:

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.

Risk Factors:

Certain factors increase your risk of having PMS:

  • A personal history or family history of depression or mood disorders.
  • A family history of PMS.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Any physical or emotional trauma you have suffered.

Signs & Symptoms:

The symptoms of PMS include physical as well as emotional or behavioural ones:

  • Pain or bloating in the abdominal region.
  • Constipation or diarrhoea.
  • Sore breasts.
  • Acne.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling irritable, anxious, depressed or over-sensitive to light or sound.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Food cravings, usually of sweets.

Diagnosis:

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.

Treatment Options:

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.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • I feel fatigued few a few days before my period. Do I still need to exercise?

    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.

  • Can I make any changes in my diet to get relief from PMS?

    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.

  • How will a birth control pill help my PMS?

    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.

  • What is PMDD?

    A: PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is a medical condition in which a woman suffers from symptoms such as severe anxiety, depression, and irritability just before her periods. This condition should not be confused with PMS, which is also known as Premenstrual Syndrome as symptoms of PMDD can be more severe than PMS.

  • What are the causes of PMDD?

    A: PMDD is caused by the physical imbalance of hormones in a woman's body. The symptoms start several days before the menstrual cycle and last for a few days after. We focus on treating PMDD by preventing or minimising the signs of the condition. Treatments may include prescribing antidepressants, birth control pills, behavioural counselling, nutritional supplements or herbal remedies to reduce the symptoms.  

    If you are experiencing any difficulties during your periods, book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What are the 11 symptoms of PMDD?

    A: The 11 most common symptoms of PMDD include: 

    1. Fatigue

    2. Irritability or frequent mood changes

    3. Abdominal bloating

    4. Breast tenderness

    5. Headaches

    6. Depression

    7. Acne

    8. Crying easily

    9. Forgetfulness

    10. Difficulty concentrating and

    11. Hot flashes 

    But these are not the only signs. There are other symptoms of PMDD as well that affect women, typically in the second half of their cycle. It’s recommended to make a mood chart to determine how your symptoms have fluctuated based on your period cycle. It will also help in understanding if you are dealing with PMS or PMDD. 

    If you experience a combination of these symptoms, book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • How can I control PMS anxiety?

    A: PMS is known to have a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including mood swings and anxiety. 

    There is no one standard treatment for dealing with anxiety during PMS, but making several lifestyle changes, along with taking the appropriate medication has been known to calm PMS anxiety.  

    The most common treatment for managing anxiety during PMS is regular exercise and a healthy diet. Avoiding caffeine and managing your stress can also improve anxiety, fatigue and depression. Additionally, it helps you concentrate better.

    If lifestyle changes aren't helping with your anxiety, consider booking an appointment with a Medcare gynaecologist for successful treatment.

  • Does PMS get worse as you age?

    A: PMS symptoms usually begin between your late 20s and early 30s.  

    Research shows that these symptoms tend to get worse with age and also with stress. As you approach menopause, PMS symptoms like fatigue, irritability, bloating, etc., start getting worse, before stopping entirely.

    Even women who undergo hysterectomies feel the symptoms of PMS as do women with a single functioning ovary. If you notice your symptoms increasing at an alarming rate, it is best to consult a gynaecologist to learn how to control them.

    Book an appointment with a Medcare Gynaecologist today for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

  • How can I control my PMS mood swings?

    A: PMS is a condition that is often characterised by symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, fatigue, heaviness in the breasts, etc. By carrying out some lifestyle changes, you can find relief from these symptoms.  

    For starters, exercising regularly in the time leading up to your periods leads to fewer mood swings. Also, try to resist giving in to cravings of junk food as salty, sugary, and fatty foods tend to aggravate mood swings. 

     

    Some other ways to manage PMS mood swings include eating well-balanced and frequent meals, taking calcium supplements and managing your stress. However, if the symptoms persist, it is advisable to visit a doctor and take the necessary medication. 

    Are you looking for effective management of PMS and its symptoms? Consult a Medcare specialist today.

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