Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which is sometimes called premenstrual tension, affects nearly all menstruating women at some time. The severity of PMS symptoms varies from woman to woman, although the signs of PMS are usually relatively mild. Nevertheless, many women find that PMS leaves them feeling under the weather -- both physically and mentally -- from around the mid-point of their menstrual cycles until their periods begin. Some women experience PMS every month until menopause, whereas others suffer from time to time.

Causes Of PMS

The medical experts still don't know exactly what causes PMS, or why some women get it but others don't. What is certain, however, is that hormones are involved. The hormonal fluctuations which take place in the second half of the menstrual cycle may trigger unpleasant physical sensations and even negative emotions in women who are affected by the condition.

Physical Symptoms And Their Treatment

There are so many reported physical symptoms of PMS that it would be impossible to list them all here. They include headaches, bloating, acne, abdominal discomfort, as well as pain and swelling in the breasts. In many cases, these symptoms can be only managed, not cured. Doctors recommend home remedies as well as improvements in diet and lifestyle. Over-the-counter pain medications may be an option. Hormone treatments, such as the contraceptive pill, are also known to alleviate physical PMS symptoms. Only in the most severe cases will doctors recommend more invasive treatments for physical problems associated with PMS.

Emotional Symptoms And Their Treatment

Many women who suffer from PMS say it makes them feel sad, weepy, stressed - or angry, frustrated and aggressive (even physically, in extreme cases). They say that they are more likely to argue with their partners, as well as other family members and even colleagues during this time of the month. They may also suffer from feelings of low self-esteem and depression during their PMS days.

Unfortunately, just as physical PMS symptoms can often be managed but not cured, the same applies to emotional or mental PMS symptoms. If you tend to feel overwhelmed when you have PMS, try planning stressful events for the days of the month on which you are PMS free.

For women suffering emotionally at a more serious level, counseling or stress management therapies may be recommended. In very extreme cases, a doctor may be prepared to prescribe anti-depressants. Another option is the contraceptive pill. It has been shown to reduce PMS stress, but on the other hand, it may actually trigger mood swings in some women.

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