PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)
Premenstrual syndrome is characterized by physical and emotional symptoms. It affects women 1 or 2 weeks before the beginning of the menstrual period.
Signs and Symptoms
- Humor changes
- Low self-esteem
- Difficult to focus
- Sleeping problems
- Changes in appetite (cravings for sweet or salty things, overeating)
- Weight gain
- Inflammation and sensitivity in the breasts
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Diffuse muscular pain
The cause is unknown. A combination of environmental, metabolic and behavioral factors can make women vulnerable to the specific actions of hormonal changes related to menstruation. A chemical in the brain, serotonin, participates in the severe manifestations of PMS.
These factors increase the chances of developing PMS. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Age: from 25 to 40 years
- Stop taking oral contraceptives
- Increased stress in your life
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam.
You will be asked to keep a very detailed record of the physical and emotional monthly symptoms. If triggered by PMS, these symptoms will probably occur 1 to 2 weeks before the menstrual period.
Treatment and Management
- Diuretics can reduce distention and fluid retention.
- Inhibitors of prostaglandin, such as Motrin, can relieve cramps, headaches and muscle aches.
- Combined oral contraceptives (which contain estrogen and progesterone) can help with physical symptoms related to PMS. The patient needs to try several brands before finding the one that helps her. Progesterone alone (without estrogen) can also help some women.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a type of antidepressant that affects the level of serotonin in the brain. Women with severe PMS can be relieved by taking SSRIs.
Stress can be controlled by changing the lifestyle. Also, relaxation techniques, deep breathing, massage, music and hot baths can help reduce stress.
- Changes in eating habits can be useful. They include the reduction of salt intake, sugar, and caffeine.
- Exercise regularly