Premenstrual syndrome aKa PMS.

“Ignorance is not always bliss”

Premenstrual syndrome has been ignored since ages, it has long been the butt of sexiest joke where the whole thing has been crushed down to something as pathetic as a silly excuse for female irrational behaviour. Some even go to the extent of saying that it is “all in the head”.

Women have suffered in silence since donkey`s years and still continue to do so, all because of ignorance, lack of awareness, lack of recognition of the problem & limited medical help. Hence ignorance is not always bliss!

image source: pexels-alex-green.

Lets change this by highlighting facts!

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome are symptoms( physical, emotional & psychological ) that recur every month from anytime after ovulation and resolve approx 4 days after the onset of your menstrual flow.

Approx >80% of menstruating women suffer from it & majority of them have mild to moderate symptoms. Upto 3 to 8% of them suffer from severe form of deblitating symptoms and called Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

What are the symptoms of PMS?

The list of signs and symptoms for PMS is long……, most women suffer from only a few of them, I have listed some common ones.

Emotional & behavioral signs and symptoms:

  • Depressed mood / mood swings
  • social withdrawal / irritablity / angry outburst`s
  • Poor concentration/ anxiety / tension
  • Insomnia
  • reduced libido.

Physical symptoms :

  • Aches and pains / fatigue
  • Headache
  • Weight gain( fluid retention)
  • Bloating
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness.
  • Constipation / diarrhoea.
  • Changes in appetite.

What causes PMS ?

Exact cause of PMS is not known, but there are a few contibutory / influencing factors listed below :

  • Cyclical changes in hormone levels : PMS disappears in pregnancy and menopause.
  • Chemical changes in brain : Fluctuation in serotonin (neurotransmitter) level in brain may play a role.
  • Depression : May co- exist.

Will lifestyle modification help in PMS ?

Answer is Yes, it will help if symptoms are mild to moderate.

  • Exercise : Regular exercise for at least 30 to 45mins 5 days a week (not only on PMS days).
  • Relaxation therapy : Breathing exercise, meditation, massage, yoga, maintaining a good sleeping pattern.
  • Dietary modification : Diet rich in complex carbohydrate (food made with wholegrains), small frequent meals, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, diet rich in calcium- yogurt etc , diet low in fat/salt/sugar, avoid alcohol &caffeine. Can also try vitamin B6, E, D & calcium supplements(with medical advice).

When to see a doctor/ gynaecologist ?

When PMS symptoms are not relieved by lifestyle modifications and are severe enough to hamper your everyday life make an appointment to see your gynaecologist. Please make a symptom diary and record the symptoms and other details for 3 cycles maximum and present it to the doctor for evaluation this will benefit both of you.

Its time we embraced PMS as ” REALand stop ignoring it, women should not suffer in silence and seek medical help. This is a loud shout out to all the women out there!

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