What is PMS? Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a medical condition that affects some women of childbearing age. More than one in three women suffer from PMS, and one in 20 suffer so severely that their lives are seriously affected. PMS is related to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms that occur just before your menstrual period. What causes PMS? The exact cause of PMS is unknown, but it seems to be related to the fluctuating levels of hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, that occur in preparation for menstruation. What are the symptoms of PMS? There are many symptoms of PMS, and the number and severity of symptoms vary from woman to woman. in addition, the severity of the symptoms can vary from month to month. Common symptoms of PMS include: Bloating Breast tenderness Weight gain Aggression Trouble concentrating Headaches/backaches Skin problems / acne Fatigue Tearfulness irritability Anxiety Mood swings and/or depression How is PMS diagnosed? There is no single test to diagnose PMS. it is a clinical diagnosis. However, there are some strategies your doctor may use to help diagnose PMS: Thyroid test — Because thyroid disorders are common in women of childbearing age, and some of the symptoms of PMS—such as weight gain—are similar to symptoms of thyroid disorders, your doctor may order a test to evaluate thyroid functioning. This can help to rule out a thyroid disorder as a cause of your symptoms. PMS symptoms diary — Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary to assess the frequency and severity of symptoms. By doing this, you can see if your symptoms correspond to certain times in your monthly cycle. While your symptoms may vary from month to month, a trend likely will appear after tracking your symptoms for a few months. How is PMS treated? Treatment for PMS is based on relieving symptoms. Treatment begins with a thorough assessment of your symptoms, as well as their impact of them on your daily life. Education — You will be better able to deal with your symptoms if you can relate how you’re feeling to your menstrual cycles, knowing that you will feel better once your period starts. Keeping a monthly symptom diary will help you track your symptoms, as well as their severity and how long they last. While symptoms may vary from month to month, this diary can give you a good idea of how your periods affect your physical health and moods. Learning how to cope with the problems in your life may help relieve the stress and irritability you feel before your period. if you experience severe anxiety, irritability or depression, counseling and/or medication may be helpful. Nutrition — A healthy diet is important to overall physical and mental wellness. Making changes in your diet—including reducing the amount of caffeine, salt and sugar and stay well hydrated with water and light juices—may help relieve symptoms of PMS. in some cases, nutritional supplements may be recommended. These include Vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium. Exercise — Like a healthy diet, regular exercise can improve your overall health. it also can help relieve and help you cope with the monthly symptoms associated with PMS, especially dysmenorrhea (painful cramping and bloating). Medications — Over-the-counter pain relievers—such as aspirin and ibuprofen—may help relieve symptoms such as headache, backache, cramps and breast tenderness. Make sure you have no contraindications such as peptic ulcer disease or kidney disease before using many pain relievers. Medications may be prescribed in cases of severe depression or anxiety. Can PMS be prevented? PMS itself cannot be prevented, but through education and appropriate treatment of symptoms, most women can find relief. A healthy lifestyle—including exercise and a proper diet—also can help a woman better manage the symptoms of PMS.
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