Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) was taken very lightly by people in our society. But in present scenario, medical practitioner and populace have accepted this syndrome as a real condition. In premenstrual syndrome, there is range of negative physical and emotional symptoms which can occur each month before period. Most women can tell their period is due by mild physical and emotional changes leading up to menstruation. In PMS, it is quite difficult to deal with symptoms. About five per cent of women suffer from PMS in its most unbearable form. Women suffer from PMS at a time in their lives when major changes are taking place in their hormone levels. So PMS may start at puberty, after birth of a baby, when you start taking the Pill or in the run-up to the menopause. PMS may be hereditary, although symptoms may be different from those which affect mother or sisters.
Causes Researchers did not find solid reason for PMS. Doctor states that a hormone imbalance may be the major cause but now it is thought to be caused by sensitivity to normal levels of the hormone progesterone in the menstrual cycle. Women exhibit symptoms after ovulation when levels of progesterone start to increase. Some women develop symptoms for the whole two weeks before their period begins. Others only suffer in the last few days. Many women find that symptoms get worse as they get closer to the start of their period. PMS does not essentially occur every month. Some women may find that they are free of symptoms for one or several months and then PMS emerges.
PMS has numerous symptoms. These can be divided into two groups: psychological and physical. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, irritability, f eeling out of control, tearfulness, depression, forgetfulness, exhaustion, feelings of aggression or anger, panic attacks, changes in sleep patterns, sex drive and appetite. Most common physical symptoms are headaches/migraine, feeling/being bloated, weight gain, tender breasts, abdominal pain, swelling of the hands and feet, backache and painful joints, nausea, epilepsy, asthma, migraine and cold sores may worsen.
Some women show severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome which have a very detrimental effect on their lives at home and at work. It has been observed that mood changes in women due to PMS threaten their relationship with employers, work colleagues, partner and children. Some women involved in crimes while suffering from PMS. In these cases, the courts have considered them not responsible for their actions. At its worst, PMS can lead to suicidal tendencies in women. This severe form of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
For diagnosis, doctors advised patient to maintain a diary of symptoms for two or three months. Doctor provides a special chart on which sufferer can record mood, changes in r appetite, whether she have abdominal or breast symptoms or a vaginal discharge, and the impact of PMS on her life. Doctor will find this very helpful in terms of being able to see the pattern of symptoms and how and when she is most affected.
It is advised before taking drugs, it is better to know how it affects patient and her family, colleagues and friends. She can refer her PMS diary to identify which symptoms start when. This will help her to control over her PMS if she can predict when symptoms are likely to kick in and plan r life around them. Once she develops a better understanding of PMS, she could talk to close ones so that they can understand the effect. It is better to work in peaceful environment to alleviate the stress. She can do it by attending a yoga class, or learning some relaxation techniques. Exercise is nearly always helpful for psychological well being. Some women realize that regular exercise helps reduce their PMS symptoms. Many women affirm that regular dietary schedule for snacks of fruit; vegetables, cereals and calcium-rich foods are helpful. But there is no evidence PMS is related to diet or taking certain minerals and supplements will be effective.
Medical data suggests that all the drug treatments for PMS have possible side effects, and there is no single drug that definitely works for every woman. Progestogen tablets, containing a synthetic form of progesterone, are the most common treatment because it was thought that low levels of progesterone caused PMS. While progesterone or progestogen treatments can reduce PMS for some women, others find that PMS-type side effects make it less helpful. Treating individual symptoms is another option. Doctor may prescribe diuretics (water tablets, such as spironolactone) to control water retention, bloating and some other physical and psychological symptoms. Other drug is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) for abdominal cramps and sore breasts. Many women take Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). There is some evidence that it works. This vitamin occurs naturally in a number of foods but taking a supplement containing 50-600 mg has been shown to improve overall symptoms of PMS. Patient can take vitamin B6 tablets in the two weeks leading up to period or every day. There is some evidence that Agnus castus fruit extract is effective in treating PMS. It is thought that this may work by helping to balance brain chemicals. Calcium supplement is an effective treatment. It is established that excessive use of vitamins over a prolonged period of time may damage nerve, so it is advised that sufferer must not take medicine without consulting doctor.
Woman with PMS may face some psychological problems. Severe PMS or PMDD affects a small number of women. Violent mood changes, depression and aggression can make life unfeasible. Such women must immediately seek medical attention. Drugs called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) are often prescribed. Serotonin is a brain chemical and it is thought that over-sensitivity to progesterone causes levels of serotonin to fall. Rarely, a woman with uncontrollable PMS may be advised to operate her ovaries r and in some cases, her womb as well. This will stop PMS but is major surgery and usually only considered as a last option when all other treatments failed.