PMS and How to Win Over The Hormones

Premenstrual syndrome is a condition which affects women’s physically, behaviourally and psychologically. It occurs regularly during the luteal phase (last 10-15days)of each menstrual cycle and which disappears or significantly regresses by the end of menstruation.

The statistics are mind boggling-80% of women experienced at least one symptom attributed to PMS.

5 % suffer from severe PMS with withdrawal from social and professional activities.

PMS can be wild, moderate or severe.

Mild - doesn’t interfere with personal/social & professional life.

Moderate - Interfere with personal /social & professional life but still able to function and interact.

Severe - Unable to interact personally/socially or professional- withdraws from social & professional activities.

The exact aetiology of PMS is unknown:

  • It appears to be due to the effect of the cyclic ovarian hormone on neurotransmitters serotonin-GABA

  • Recent studies show high glutamate levels prior to menstruation.

  •  It may have a genetic factor.

Symptoms:

  • Irritation, anxiety, mood swings, depression, emotional outburst.

  • Aggression, reduced cognitive abilities and forgetfulness, increases in accidents.

  • Fatigue, headache, breast tenderness, bloating, pelvic & joint pains, acne, appetite changes, swelling.

Treatment is symptomatizing. Women must recognize PMS and visit the gynecologist immediately.

In mild cases, avoiding caffeine, salt, alcohol, exercising can help.

In mild and moderate cases-Vitamin B6, Magnesium, calcium supplement, eating small frequent meals, physical activity to lift moods and improve depression, stress management can help. NSAID drugs like aspirin can help in reducing pain.

In extremely severe cases, medications and sometimes hospitalization is required. Diuretics, pain killers, antianxiety, and antidepressants may have to be given. In severe cases, a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment with a gynecologist, psychiatrist, and dietician will help to improve condition and quality of life.

Dr. Leena N Sreedhar

HOD And Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, Delhi

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