What Is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

The menstrual cycle is perhaps one of the most inconvenient biological cycle any woman has to undergo, although one that is very necessary. While many think that menstruation is a physical menace, it has been proven that it has more psychological implications rather than just physical. One of the most common conditions that every female has to undergo is premenstrual syndrome, simple abbreviated as PMS. When undergoing premenstrual stress, you do not want to be around the victim, especially if you are of the opposite gender. However, perhaps men will become more supportive if they understood the causes of PMS. What exactly is this condition and is there s way it can be mitigated?

Premenstrual syndrome is simply a combination of physical, emotional as well as psychological symptoms that most women exhibit some time before their periods. The symptoms usually arise after ovulation and typically end on the onset of menses. Up to as much as 80% of women experience PMS at one point or the other. However, the clinically significant form of PMS is about 4 times less prevalent, occurring in slightly over 20% of the female population. Despite the condition being noted in ancient Greek setups, it was not until early 1930's that the medical community chose to recognize the disorder. By the time you are done reading this, you will have put to bed all the myths you have hitherto heard regarding PMS.

What Are The Causes Of PMS?

When trying to handle a medical disorder, the first step is usually to try and identify the root of the matter. The handling of premenstrual syndrome isn't going to be any different. PMS has remained a significant challenge to the medical field especially due to the very wide range of symptoms registered among victims. As a result, making one firm diagnosis has been near to impossible. A number of theories have therefore been developed to try and explain the causes, although they are yet to be fully certified. Here are some of the factors you have to consider when looking to the cause of PMS:

  • Hormonal changes: It is widely believed that premenstrual syndrome could easily arise from alterations and interactions between brain chemicals called neurotransmitters and sex hormones within the body. This is because after ovulation, the level of female sex hormones in the bloodstream rises significantly.
  • Stress: Initially, doctors thought that PMS was simply an exaggerated form of psychological stress. However, recent studies have shown that psychological stress does not in any way trigger or aggravate premenstrual syndrome.
  • Personality: Many people, men especially, have dismissed PMS as a simple revelation of a lady's true personality. If you as a lady have been thinking that there is something wrong with your personality, you can relax as you need not worry. The condition is not specifically related to certain personality types.

Now that you know the major cause of PMS, you should not feel like you are going through it alone. You can now move to learn about the signs and symptoms of the condition and how they can be remedied.

What Are The Symptoms Of PMS?

Knowing the symptoms of a medical condition is the only sure way to identify with it. Do not just assume that any time you start getting moody then you are already experiencing PMS. A huge number of symptoms have for a long time been credited to PMS. However, to make things easier for you, it is important to classify the symptoms as either mood-related of just physical. Some of the mood-related symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include:

  • Anxiety and tension: Ladies suffering from PMS often get anxious, restless and impatient about the near future expectations.
  • Anger and irritability: A lady suffering from this condition is likely to get very angry at the slightest of provocations.
  • Depression and crying: You are also likely to get unusually depressed over a saddening thought, to the extent of tears.
  • Oversensitivity: Women also tend to become highly irritable and oversensitive during this time. Many people, especially men, find them impossible to be around.

Any mood swings are also likely to appear exaggerated. Some physical signs of PMS include:

  • Bloating, brought about by fluid retention.
  • Fatigue.
  • Tenderness of the breasts.
  • Acne.
  • Weight gain.
  • Excessive sleep or at times insomnia.
  • Food cravings.

If you have displayed a number of these signs, then you are most likely undergoing premenstrual syndrome.

PMS Home Remedies

It would be very pointless to talk about a problem the whole day and fail to come to any meaningful solutions. The diagnosis and treatment of PMS isn't one of the simpler medical procedures. A number of medications have been developed to help calm down the symptoms of the syndrome. Examples are diuretics that eliminate excess fluid from body tissues by increasing urine production. Analgesics are also used to treat menstrual cramps, pelvic discomfort and headaches. However, it is not every time when you develop these symptoms that medical attention will be accessible. This is why you will need to learn some home remedies to calm the symptoms. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself!  Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.

  •  Vitex- The herb Vitex, also referred to as agnus cactus or Chasteberry, is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies for PMS. In fact, it can be used to counter the most severe of these symptoms. This is perhaps this particular herb has been used for most clinical tests done on this condition. Of all the home remedies available, it is considered one of the safest, posing no threat to the female reproductive health. This is because natural herbs are easier accepted by the human body rather than manufactured products.
  • Black Cohash- If you have experienced menstrual pains in the past, you have probably come across black cohash. This highly sought after herb is commonly used by women during their periods to prevent or ease cramps. If your premenstrual syndrome comes with abdominal cramps and pains, then black cohash will be a good bet. It also treats many other pains associated with the menstrual cycle, many of which recur during PMS.
  • Vitamin Supplements- You also need to consider supplementing your diet with vitamin B6 as well as vitamin E. In as much as studies are being conducted on the role played by these vitamins, many women are successfully using them to fight PMS. Additional intake of calcium and magnesium will always help these vitamins to achieve their objective faster.
  • Tea made of red clover- This tea helps in lowering effects that are associated with excess production of estrogen hormone. A person suffering from PMS should take at least three cups per day to realize the desired results. This team works by relaxing and calming the nervous system. It also plays a very important role in strengthening a woman's liver.
  • Liquorice- This is another tea that is very effective in dealing with PMS. It should be taken during the second half in the entire cycle. It works by reducing estrogen hormone in the body while increasing progesterone levels. In addition, it nourishes adrenal glands. These are always under pressure when a woman is stressed. However, women with high blood pressure should not take liquorice tea.
  • Agnus castus- This is also a very important herb for women suffering from PMS. It has been used by many women who suffer pain during the ovulation period. Majority of women who have realized positive results from the use of this remedy are those less than 18 years. However, this herb should be taken with care and only with guidance from a professional. Effective results of using this remedy can be realized by taking it for three months.
  • Legumes- Eating legumes helps in treating premenstrual syndrome. These include soya, mug beans, lentils and chickpeas among others. These act by supplying the body with oestrogen hormone which result to balanced body hormone reactions in the body. For more effective results fruits and vegetables can be added in the meal on daily basis.

Remember that home remedies are many times designed to deal with the light symptoms. In case your symptoms are more pronounced, it will be illogical to insist on a remedy that isn't yielding results. Consult with your doctor to work out any premenstrual syndrome treatment that suits your system. Your doctor will be able to help you know how to deal with any side effects that could develop. 

Diet For PMS

The best way to combat premenstrual syndrome is to switch to a healthier lifestyle. While the above remedies will solve your problems today, healthy living will make sure they do not return. You will have to delete a lot of unhealthy foods from your diet to alleviate the condition. If you are into alcohol and cigarettes, there isn't a better time to stop. Here are some of the foods that you have to start incorporating into your diet:

  • Calcium: Calcium deficiency is feared to be one of the main causes of majority of PMS signs. Supplementing your diet with up to 1200 mg of calcium can control the situation. The mineral reduces cramping, bloating and other PMS related pains.
  • Fiber: If you aren't taking enough diet in your meals, you will have to resort to a fiber supplement. This way, you will help your body do away with excess estrogen.
  • Chamomile team and green tea: Caffeine intake has to be reduced during premenstrual syndrome as it aggravates the symptoms. However, chamomile tea is effective in curing insomnia and anxiety. Green tea can also be taken to reduce bloating.

Increasing the intake of minerals such as magnesium and potassium is also helpful at this time.

Prevention Of PMS

The worst realization you can make when suffering premenstrual syndrome is that it could have been avoided altogether. This will only be possible if you familiarize yourself with some of the preventive measures, which include:

  • Avoiding foods that could cause PMS towards the day of ovulation.
  • Increasing intake of healthy foods, fiber, vitamins as well as minerals.
  • Working out regularly to make sure the body and hence reproductive system is functioning properly.
  • Avoid stress by getting sufficient sleep and relaxing with yoga sessions.

With all these preventive measures for you to embrace, there is no reason to suffer another premenstrual syndrome attack.