Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that can occur in females a few days to one week before the start of their menstrual cycle and can persist till the end of menstruation. According to studies done by one of the best gynecologists in Kolkata, it is estimated that 3 out of every 4 women in the reproductive age group experience one or more indications among the range of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. PMS can manifest as a variety of physiological and emotional symptoms like headaches, nausea, cramping, bloating, irritability, mood swings, and many others. A lot of women experience considerable discomfort that can cause them to miss work or school, while as for some women the changes are much milder and doesn’t cause any major discomfort in their day to day chores.
Why does PMS occur?
Unfortunately, there is no clear reason behind this phenomena and the cause of this syndrome is unknown. Most of the doctors attribute this to the hormonal changes occurring in the female body around the time of the menstrual cycle. The estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels fall, creating a hormonal imbalance in the female body. The researchers believe that fluctuations in the level of serotonin hormone could also play a major role as it is responsible for changes in the mood.
Though there is a wide range of symptoms and the specifics vary from person to person, the most common ones are listed as follows:
The physical symptoms are:-
- Hunger and food cravings
- Bloating or weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Acne breakouts
- Body aches
- Swollen hand and feet
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
The emotional symptoms are:-
- crying spells
- feeling tense or anxious
- anger outbursts
- having mood swings
- feeling cranky
- wanting to be alone
How can I get relief from PMS symptoms?
There are some do’s and don’t which can be followed to reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
- Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet comprises of a balanced amount of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Salt intake should be decreased to minimize bloating and water retention. Alcohol should not be consumed and caffeine should be avoided. Quitting smoking would also benefit from keeping the system healthy.
- Regular exercise
As a rule of thumb, some aerobic exercise should be done on a daily basis. Any activity of choice done for 40-45 minutes regularly stabilizes the serotonin levels and keeps mood swings at bay and also elevates endorphin or the ‘feel good hormones’.
- Reduce stress
Yoga and meditation can help to reduce the symptoms associated with stress. It is also essential to get a good night’s sleep of about 7-8 hours to reduce levels of cortisol or stress hormone in the body
- Take supplements
Increasing intake of Vit B6, Vit E, Magnesium, Calcium, and Omega- 3,6 are known to decrease PMS symptoms as well as further improve overall menstrual and reproductive health. These can be either taken in the form of supplements or the food rich in these specific nutrients can be taken regularly in the diet.
- Symptomatic medications
If the pain starts causing hindrance in day to day activities, over the counter pain medications NSAID’s can be taken like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Meftal-Spas. If the pain persists, then you might want to consult a gynecologist in Fortis Hospital Kolkata or any other city near you, who could recommend birth control pills for hormonal regulation, diuretics to control water retention and antidepressants to regulate serotonin levels and aid in mood balance.
Is Premenstrual dysphoric disorder same as Premenstrual Syndrome?
The premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome where a woman experiences debilitating symptoms that affect their daily lives and interferes with their work, school, social life, and relationships. Around 8% of women experiencing severe PMS symptoms get diagnosed with the polymorphic dysphoric disorder.
When we compare PMDD and PMS, a lot of symptoms are similar. While the physical symptoms are more or less alike, it is the emotional symptoms associated with PMDD that stand out. If the depression, irritability, anxiety, and moodiness are severe enough to disrupt your daily life, it could be PMDD. Generally speaking, a dysphoric mood is characterized by unhappiness, frustration, depression, anxiety, and restlessness.
If you have any typical symptoms of PMDD, you should see your doctor or visit the best gynecologist in Fortis Hospital, Kolkata or any other hospital near you. After reviewing your medical history, the doctor will give you a thorough examination and would rule out other medical or gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, menopause and other hormonal problems also have to be ruled out.
In conclusion, premenstrual syndrome can be managed by a combination of self-care, physical exercise, over-the-counter pain relievers. If the symptoms start hampering your daily routine and even after trying different things, still have bad PMS, it would be a good option to consult a gynecologist. The doctor would ask about your symptoms, what you experience, the intensity of the pain and schedule some tests to eliminate other possible underlying causes.