What is PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome, also often referred to as PMS, is a combination of physical and mental symptoms directly correlating to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Although most women suffer some physical symptoms from their menstrual cycle (such as bloating and tiredness), sufferers of PMS suffer from severe symptoms that typically continually occur at the same time of the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle each month.
Premenstrual syndrome can affect a sufferer both physically and mentally but symptoms can vary from woman to woman.
Causes: The specific cause of PMS is not known, but current studies suggest that central-nervous-system neurotransmitter interactions with sex hormones may be the root cause. Studies have suggested that serotonin activity in the brain may cause PMS.
Physical symptoms of PMS include but are not limited to:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Breast tenderness
- Constipation or diarrhea
Mental signs of PMS include but are not limited to:
- Depressed mood
- Poor concentration
- Social withdrawal
- Increased appetite
Test and Diagnosis:
PMS is usually diagnosed by a woman discussing her symptoms with her doctor. If she lists the physical and/or mental problems she is occurring and between her and the doctor are able to discover that these usually occur during the luteal phase of her menstrual cycle, then she will probably be diagnosed with PMS.
Treatment and Drugs:
A sufferer of PMS may be prescribed one of the following drugs:
- Antidepressants – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, have proven successful in case studies at decreasing the effects of premenstrual syndrome. Some of the symptoms that were found to be reduced thanks to these drugs included fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) – NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or naproxen can ease cramping and breast discomfort.
- Diuretics – Taking water pills also known as diuretics, can help your body shed excess fluid through your kidneys.
- Oral Contraceptives – For some women, oral contraceptives can help reduce some PMS symptoms, due to their stabilizing hormonal swings abilities.
- Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera) – For very severe cases of premenstrual syndrome injections may be given by a doctor to a sufferer to stop ovulation.
PMS symptoms usually stop once the woman’s period has stopped. However, there is a high chance of the symptoms reoccurring each time they reach the luteal phase of their period.
Although certain drugs may be able to treat some women’s premenstrual symptoms, there is ultimately no way to prevent PMS from ever occurring. However, there are some ways which may be able to help lessen the mental and physical symptoms without having to turn to drugs and this includes maintaining a healthy diet and regularly exercising.
Further information on premenstrual syndrome can be found at the following websites: