Most of the women go through a typical phase right before their monthly menstrual cycles start. The phase is termed as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The severity of PMS is most of the times bearable, and it varies from woman to woman and from month to month. But in a few cases, the symptoms may be very severe and may cause disturbances in routine activities. PMS may occur about 5 to 14 days before a woman gets her monthly periods and may disappear by the time menstruation has finished or a few days afterwards.
The cause for PMS still remains unidentified, however, studies have shown that actions of the female sex hormones right before menstruation, trigger the symptoms of PMS. Stress, excessive consumption of coffee, cola, and other caffeine containing drinks may make the situation worse.
One out of three women experiences PMS before her menstrual cycle begins. The symptoms may include:
- Bloating of abdomen
- Breast tenderness
- Disruption of normal sleep patterns
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability
- Difficulty in making everyday decisions
- Unusual food cravings
- Mild to severe headaches
- Mild to severe backache and muscle stiffness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Cold sweats, hot flushes, dizziness
Based on the timings of the symptoms, premenstrual syndrome is easy to identify. There are various self-help measures one can take to avoid or relieve the impact of PMS.
- Relaxing and avoiding stress at the time when the periods are approaching may reduce the severity of PMS.
- Yoga and other light exercises may keep the mind and body fresh.
- Eating small portions of nutritious food, enriched with plenty of carbohydrates and fibre, at regular intervals may ease out the onset of symptoms. Also, one shouldn’t starve or over-eat.
- Reduce salt intake
- Take warm water baths
- Don’t eat too many chocolates
- Cut down on drinks such as coffee and cola that have caffeine.
If these measures are not enough to reduce the severity of the PMS symptoms, one may seek medical guidance. Ibuprofen can relieve headaches, backaches, and muscle stiffness. For bloating and breast tenderness one may be advised to take diuretic drugs, as they help to relieve fluid retention. If a woman is going through severe hormonal changes that are affecting her menstrual cycle, the doctor may prescribe a hormone treatment. And if a woman has a history of sever psychological symptoms, antidepressant drugs can be helpful.