Premenstrual syndrome symptoms are a set of bothersome symptoms that are estimated to affect nearly 75% of women (mostly between the ages of 20-30 years old). Commonly referred to as PMS, symptoms can vary greatly form woman to woman and the degree of disruption the symptoms causes is varied as well. While most women will encounter some mild pre menstrual syndrome symptoms at some point, it is the consistent month after month occurrence of symptoms that determines a diagnosis that you are suffering from premenstrual syndrome.
Another condition that causes the same pre menstrual syndrome symptoms is known as pre menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The difference between PMS and PMDD is the severity and level of disruption the symptoms cause to a woman. Pre menstrual symptoms involve both emotional and physical ones. Symptoms generally occur from 1-14 days prior to your menstrual cycle and subside during your cycle. A woman may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Crying for no apparent reason, at any time.
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Mood swings and fluctuations
- Irritability and explosiveness
- Withdrawal from social life and settings
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing.
- Food cravings
- Appetite change (increases or decreases)
- Joint and/or muscle pains
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Fluid retention and swelling, causing weight gain and edema of feet, hands (puffiness).
- Skin blemishes
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal distention (bloating)
- Breast tenderness, sensitivity and swelling
Causes and Treatments
It is uncertain what exactly causes PMS symptoms. Many researchers contribute many of the symptoms as how a woman’s body reacts to the fluctuation of hormones that occurs with ovulation and the menstrual cycle. When pre menstrual syndrome symptoms are significant enough to have an impact on daily life there are treatments that can help reduce them that you can implement yourself and those that involve medications (both prescription and over the counter). Lifestyle changes you can make that may reduce (or eliminate) pre menstrual syndrome symptoms include:
- Reducing caffeine in your diet.
- Eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Lemons are a natural diuretic.
- Adding lemon to beverages. Lemons are a natural diuretic.
- Drink plenty of water and eliminate carbonated sugary drinks.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help with cramping by initiating the body to release endorphins (the body’s own pain relief substance).
Practice relaxation and stress relieving techniques for emotional symptoms. Take an over the counter preparation for pre menstrual syndrome symptoms and over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprophen (brand name Advil). Some suggest taking these when as soon as you suspect symptoms appearing.
The most commonly prescribed medications include:
- Diuretics to reduce the weight gain and swelling.
- Antidepressants can help with the emotional pre menstrual syndrome symptoms.
- Depo-Provera (Medroxyprogesterone acetate). Depo-Provera is an injection that temporary stops ovulation. The injection may stop all pre menstrual syndrome symptoms and may cease your menstrual cycle completely.
- Oral Contraceptives can help regulate hormone fluctuations and stop ovulation. Doctors do not recommend oral contraceptives if you are over thirty-five or smoke cigarettes. If pre menstrual syndrome symptoms prove to be unmanageable, seek medical assistance to alleviate them.