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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Sep 22, 2020

   5 min     



Menstruation is a natural part of every woman's life. You can do everything you would do at any other point of the month. You don't have to let such problems control your life. Even if Premenstrual Syndrome pose as an obstacle for you, there are many ways to live through it. Lifestyle adjustments and treatments can help you manage and reduce PMS signs and symptoms.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition which affects a woman's behaviour, emotions and physical health during several days of the menstrual cycle, ordinarily just before her periods. 

Symptoms of PMS tend to return in predictable patterns. But the emotional and physical changes a woman experiences alongwith premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may vary from just slightly noticeable all the way to extreme.

These symptoms start around 5-11 days before the period and go away once menstruation begins. The cause of PMS, however, is still unknown.

Estrogen levels in women rise during specific times of the month. Mood swings, irritability and anxiety, can be caused by an increase in these hormones. Ovarian steroids can also modulate activity in parts of your brain associated with premenstrual symptoms. Serotonin levels can also affect your mood. It is a chemical present in the brain and gut which affects your emotions, moods and thoughts.

Symptoms of PMS

PMS symptoms are different for each woman and tend to return in predictable patterns. They may vary from just slightly noticeable all the way to extreme and affects a woman's behaviour, emotions as well as physical health. These symptoms may likewise change throughout your life.

Emotional symptoms include the following:

  • Depression

  • Irritability

  • Angry outbursts

  • Crying spells

  • Confusion

  • Tension 

  • Anxiety

  • Social withdrawal

  • Insomnia (trouble falling asleep)

  • Poor concentration

  • Changes in sexual desire

  • Increased nap-taking

Physical symptoms include the following:

  • Thirst and appetite changes

  • Food cravings

  • Bloating and weight gain

  • Breast tenderness

  • Headache

  • Aches and pains

  • Swelling of the hands or feet

  • Fatigue

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Skin problems

  • Abdominal pain

For some women, the emotional stress and physical pain are extreme enough to affect their everyday lives. Regardless of the severity of symptoms, these signs and symptoms usually disappear within 4 days after the start of your period for women.

However, a short number of women with PMS have disabling symptoms each month. This sort of PMS is described as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Signs and symptoms for the premenstrual dysphoric disorder include mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, tension and difficulty concentrating.

Some women even get their periods without undergoing any PMS symptoms at all.

In PMS, a lot of women may even notice that their symptoms of diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome and depression can worsen.

Age can also affect the severity of Premenstrual Syndrome. During perimenopause,i.e., is the transitional period leading up to a woman's menopause, people may encounter worsening PMS symptoms.

How long do PMS symptoms and signs last?

The duration of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) usually differs among each woman. Most women go through these symptoms for 5-6 days in the week before the onset of their menses. Some women may experience symptoms for a longer or shorter time period, but the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome generally start after ovulation, i.e., the mid-point in the monthly menstrual cycle of a woman.

Causes of PMS

The exact causes of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are unknown, but various factors may contribute to the condition. These factors are,

  • Cyclic changes in hormones

  • Chemical changes in the brain

  • Depression

Risk factors of PMS

Risk factors for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are

  • a family history of PMS

  • a history of mood disorders or depression, such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and postpartum depression

  • a family history of depression

  • substance abuse

  • domestic violence

  • emotional trauma

  • physical trauma

Associated conditions for PMS include:

  • dysmenorrhea

  • seasonal affective disorder

  • major depressive disorder

  • schizophrenia

  • generalised anxiety disorder

Easing the symptoms of PMS

You can’t cure the premenstrual syndrome, but you can surely take steps to ease the symptoms. If you experience a mild or moderate form of PMS, the treatment options available are

  • drinking plenty of fluids or water to ease abdominal bloating

  • consuming supplements, such as vitamin B-6, folic acid, magnesium and calcium to reduce mood swings and cramps

  • eating a healthy balanced diet to improve your immunity, energy level and overall health, which means eating plenty of vegetables and fruits and reducing the intake of sugar, caffeine, salt, and alcohol

  • taking vitamin D to reduce symptoms

  • exercising to reduce bloating and improve your mental health

  • sleeping at least eight hours every night to reduce fatigue

  • going to cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been shown to be effective

  • reducing stress, such as through reading and exercising

When to see your doctor?

Consult your doctor if mood swings, physical pain, and other symptoms start to influence your daily life, or if your symptoms won't go away and worsen.

Diagnosis for PMS is made when you experience more than one repeated symptom in the correct time frame that is extreme enough to induce impairment and is not present between your ovulation and menses. The doctor must also rule out other causes, including:

  • anaemia

  • thyroid disease

  • endometriosis

  • chronic fatigue syndrome

  • connective tissue or rheumatologic diseases

  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • The doctor can ask you about any family history of mood disorders or depression to conclude if your symptoms are the result of premenstrual syndrome or some other condition. Some disorders or condition, like pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome and hypothyroidism have symptoms similar to PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

The doctor may ask you to undergo a thyroid hormone test to make sure that your thyroid gland is functioning accurately, a pregnancy test, and possibly a pelvic exam to check for any gynaecological problems.

Maintaining a diary of your PMS symptoms is another way to discover if you have premenstrual syndrome. Using a calendar to keep a record of your symptoms and menstruation every month can be helpful. In case your symptoms begin around the same time each month, PMS is a likely the cause.

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Tags:  Women's health,Menstruation, Premenstrual syndrome, PMS, Symptoms of PMS, Depression, Risk factors of PMS, Insomnia

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