Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) represents a cluster of wide range recurrent symptoms that women experience for a few days or weeks prior to their menstrual cycle.
Eight out of ten women experience some premenstrual symptoms however women with PMS have symptoms with intensity that interferes with their every day life.
In as many as 35% of menstruating women, their symptoms are severe enough to require treatment.
The number of physical, behavioral and emotional PMS symptoms is increasing every year. Up until now, PMS symptoms number more than one hundred and fifty symptoms. Of course, the majority of women experience only the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Symptoms of PMS can be divided in three groups:
1. Physical PMS Symptoms:
• Weight gain
• Abdominal bloating
• Joint or muscle pain
• Breast tenderness
• Increase of body temperature
2. Emotional PMS Symptoms:
• Depressed mood
• Low self-esteem
• Feeling undesirable
3. Behavioral PMS Symptoms:
• Social withdrawal
• Crying for no apparent reason
• Difficulty concentrating
• Mood swings
• Change in eating pattern
Diagnosis of Premenstrual Syndrome
The best diagnostic tool for premenstrual syndrome is keeping records of symptoms you are experiencing during your premenstrual period.
You need to make a list of your symptoms as well as a list of their intensity. You should record your symptoms for at least four months and then present them to your physician.
During the period of recording your premenstrual symptoms, it is always good to ask for assistance. Your boyfriend, husband or friends can see some of the symptoms that you are not aware of during this time. In order for your recordings to be objective and more useful for your treatment, you should ask someone close to you for help.
What is the best treatment for PMS?
There are many treatments that are used for treating premenstrual syndrome.
It is very difficult to say which treatment is best because there are so many different PMS symptoms.
Just as there is no apparent cause of premenstrual syndrome, there is not a specific treatment for PMS that always works.
You should not be discouraged, if you approach your PMS seriously and methodologically, you can contribute to a successful PMS treatment.
The answer to the most frequently asked PMS question is that the best PMS treatment is the one that works for you the best.
This means that you need to look for a treatment and not to give up until you find it.
Psychotherapy: In psychotherapy you can learn everything about PMS, you will get a proper evaluation of your condition and most importantly you will get the support that you need in order to cope with your condition.
Psychopharmacology: In some severe PMS cases antidepressant are used and have been successful in reducing symptoms. This does not mean that they are the sole solution to the problem, but that they can be helpful.
Hormonal interventions: Contraceptive pills are widely used for PMS treatment. This stops ovulation, which usually relieves the symptoms from her premenstrual discomfort.
Progesterone and some other hormones such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists are also used, but with mixed results. Another problem with gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists is significant the potential side effects.
Calcium and vitamin supplements: Calcium consumption reduces PMS symptoms in some women as well as vitamin E and Vitamin B-6.
Physical exercise: Aerobic exercise is always good for you (provided you are physically healthy). In some cases women with premenstrual syndrome made great progress just with aerobic exercise and standard psychotherapy.
Change in lifestyle: Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and sugar should be avoided. Alcohol is you number one enemy if you suffer from premenstrual syndrome. Cigarettes are enemy number two and so on.
Coping with PMS
There are many ways to cope with premenstrual syndrome as well as any other problems in life. However, the best way is to face it and do all you can do to help yourself including the change in your lifestyle as well as taking part in psychotherapy (support therapy).
In addition, if some type of treatment does not work for you do not get discouraged, but continue to search. Remember only those that do not give up succeed in life because they have found a solution to their problems.