Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
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The PMS Test
Do you find yourself kicking
your cat, dog, or kids for no good reason? Do you hate your man
simply because he possesses the Y chromosome and you don't? Do
you envy any woman that has had a hysterectomy? If you do, you
might be suffering from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
What is PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
affects up to 40% of women of childbearing age.Premenstrual Syndrome
occurs after ovulation, usually 7-10 days before the onset of
menstruation. There are more than 100 symptoms of Premenstrual
Syndrome. Most PMS symptoms are fairly mild.
A small percentage of women
suffer from severe PMS. This severe PMS is called Premenstrual
dysphoric disorder. In addition to the usual bloating, breast
tenderness, headache, etc. women with Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
also experience severe mood swings, anxiety and tension, depression,
lethargy, appetite changes, excessive sleepiness or insomnia.
Premenstrual Syndrome is caused
by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The levels of a neurotransmitter
called seratonin fluctuate due to hormonal changes. Seratonin,
among other things, regulates mood, appetite, and energy levels.
Women who suffer from PMS have lower seratonin in their blood
stream. Raising the seratonin level alleviates the symptoms of
How Can I Alleviate My PMS
Premenstrual Syndrome can be
controlled through several therapies that are fairly simple to
adhere to. These are:
As with any treatments it is
always a good idea to consult with your health care provider prior
to changes in diet and exercise.
- Dietary Changes. Increasing the intake of complex carbohydrates
has shown to increase the seratonin level. Eating several small
meals a day helps.
It has long been held that eliminating sodium and coffee exacerbate
PMS, but studies have shown that this is not necessarily so.
Some women, because of breast tenderness, find that eliminating
or cutting down on caffeine helps. Some studies say that radical
sodium reduction is not necessary and may be counter-productive.
- Exercise. It has been proven that regular exercising
releases endorphins. Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals
in the brain that elevate moods. Even 20 minutes of exercise
a day, three times a week running, biking, or brisk walking helps
to release endorphins. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and
depression via endorphin release.
- Light Therapy. Get outside as much as possible, especially
on sunny days. On overcast days, or especially during winter
evenings, brightly lit rooms can help reduce PMS-induced depression.
If possible, exposure to early morning light combined with exercise
for 20-30 minutes has been found to be very beneficial.
- Supplements. Dietary Supplements such as calcium, B vitamins
and magnesium help to alleviate PMS. Calcium supplements lessen
PMS symptoms such as bloating and irritability. Calcium carbonate
(such as those found in antacids)
taken daily has been proven to help many women. B vitamins and
magnesium helps to metabolize estrogen properly through the liver.
- Massage. Massage helps some women by promoting relaxation,
relief from pain, and reducing stress. Since it is not feasible
for most of us to visit a masseuse every four weeks, there are
many good massagers
oils that can be used at home.
- Over the counter products. There are many over
the counter products that contain acetaminophen that often
provide relief from PMS. Many of these products are aspirin free
and caffeine free.