A combination of troublesome symptoms, plague many women during the week leading to the onset of their menstrual periods. About 47.8% of women report moderate to severe symptoms of PMS worldwide, according to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information. . Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS is a highly common affliction that affects all women of child bearing age in various intensities. These symptoms may be physical or emotional. Some common symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Irritability/ Anger
- Severe acne
- Low energy
- Appetite changes
- Weight gain
In extreme levels, a condition known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) may also develop, where intense behavioural changes can cause difficulties in leading normal daily lives. While mild PMS is very common, this condition is present only in 3 to 8% of women, according to a study published on UpToDate. Women with existing mental health conditions like bipolar disorders or depression can see their conditions aggravate during this time.
There is no particular test to diagnose the condition. If the symptoms show a predictable pattern every month prior to the beginning of periods, the doctors diagnose it as PMS. Patients are often asked to maintain a menstrual diary for this purpose.
If you show a regular prevalence of such symptoms, it’s best to consult a gynecologist in Bangalore or any other big city. With a combination of lifestyle changes and medications, PMS is manageable to a great extent.
The Cause of PMS
Researchers have not yet been able to pinpoint why certain women suffer from it more, and what factors cause it. However, the main cause seems to be hormonal fluctuations.
Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can influence the level of serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for a number of functions like appetite, mood, sleep cycle and more, all of which gets disrupted in the days leading to menstruation. The result is irritability, sadness, crying spells and low concentration. Progesterone also plays a role in pre-menstrual acne. Over 50 to 80% women are affected by a surge in acne during this period, according to an article on Verywell Health. Progesterone surge in second half of menstrual cycle makes sebaceous glands more active, getting the skin more oily and shutting pores.
These hormones are also responsible for changes in digestive system causing bloating and constipation problems in some women.
How to Deal with PMS?
Most symptoms of PMS are manageable through simple lifestyle changes. Staying away from excessive caffeine intake, alcohol, and sweets two weeks leading to the start of the period can make a difference in anxiety, nervousness and insomnia levels. [READ: 9 Health Benefits of Chasteberry]
Regular exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which can counteract some of the nasty effects of hormone fluctuations like depression, bloating, cramps and low energy levels. Different activities like running, walking, cycling or swimming can be considered. Deep breathing exercises like yoga or mediation would be good to manage stress, especially when you feel PMS symptoms coming on.
Another key lifestyle change is to get plenty of nutrition, and cutting back on salt-laden or highly sugary junk foods. Large amounts of salt, sugar and fat can lead to aggravation of symptoms like water retention, bloating and headaches. Instead plenty of water, green vegetables, fiber and protein rich foods should be opted.
For women, who have severe symptoms or feel that their symptoms are causing difficulties to lead normal lives, it’s always best to consult a gynecologist in Bangalore so that proper medications can be advised. Some medications prescribed to tackle these symptoms include:
- Birth control pills or other drugs that can regulate ovarian hormone production.
- Pain killers or analgesics that can relieve cramps, headaches and pelvic discomfort
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitor group of antidepressants, to treat intense mood swings and anxiety or depression levels.
- Diuretics, to help the body get rid of excessive water through production of more urine.
Remember, many symptoms of PMS are similar to other diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Hypothyroidism and chronic depression. Gynecologists in Bangalore can get to the root cause of the problem and rule out other complications as well.