Women can experience a lot of physical or mental discomforts in the weeks before menstruation. The group of all such symptoms is coined as Premenstrual Syndrome. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe affecting the day-to-day activities of women. These symptoms may soon disappear after the onset of menstrual bleeding. During the premenstrual period, the hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone are expected to fluctuate, which is identified as one of the major causes of discomfort in women.
Symptoms of PMS
Various emotional and physical symptoms that women may experience before menstruation are listed below.
Physical Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome:
- Pain and discomfort (bloating like feeling) in the lower abdomen
- Fluid retention and weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Excessive desire for salty and sweet food
- Back pain
- Fatigue or general weakness
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Psychological Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty in concentrating
- A loss of sexual interest
Causes of PMS:
(i) Hormonal Imbalance: The levels of hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, fluctuate during the premenstrual stage triggering some of the discomforting symptoms.
(ii) Chemical Changes: The level of serotonin a chemical that is known to help regulate the mood and general demeanor of a person can reduce during the premenstrual period. This can result in the onset of symptoms, such as tiredness, craving for salty and sweet food, etc.
(iii) Stress: A female with high levels of stress is generally expected to experience aggravated symptoms of PMS.
(iv) Body Weight: Obese female is one more likely to experience PMS related issues than a healthy and lean lady.
Diagnosis of PMS:
As far as the diagnosis of PMS is concerned, no specific tests are existing presently to suggest that a person is suffering from such a medical condition. Recurrence of the aforementioned symptoms during the premenstrual stage followed by a detailed physical examination by an experienced medical practitioner can help in diagnosing PMS.
PMS and Its Self-Management:
PMS as such doesn’t have a specific cure. Medical practitioners normally recommend patients to switch to certain lifestyle changes and diet improvements to curb the recurrence of PMS. Let us have a glance at a few of those improvements that we can do at our convenience.
(i) Exercise: Keeping your body active with light exercise regimens, aerobic workouts, and regular morning and evening walks helps in maintaining the hormonal balance inside the body and reduces the risk of PMS.
(ii) Reduce Caffeine Intake: One should reduce the intake of coffee and chocolates at least 2 weeks before menstruation.
(iii) Give up smoking: If you have the habit of smoking, better you quit it at the earliest to come out of the physical complications of PMS.
(iv) Ensure good sleep: Please ensure that your sleep cycles are not affected before menstrual cycles. Have a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of continuous sleep daily.
(v) Stress Management: Practice stress management techniques, such as yoga, meditation, listening to music, etc. to soothe your mind and become stress-free.
(vi) Control and Monitor your Diet: One can keep a check on their weight by including these good healthy eating practices in one’s diet.
- Reduce the intake of salty food.
- Increase the frequency of meals with a reduction in food intake.
- Include more fruits and fresh vegetables in your diet.
- Keep away from aerated and soft drinks.
- Try to reduce your sugar intake.
- Ensure you take ample of milk or milk related items in your breakfast.
- Increase the wholegrain cereals in your diet.
Now that you know these natural remedies for PMS, make sure that you follow them and inculcate healthy habits in your routine to enjoy a healthy and happy life.
- Written by Dr. Ashitha A., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah