Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Its Treatment
A woman menstruates approximately 12 times each year and often experiences PMS before her period.
A woman menstruates approximately 12 times each year and often experiences PMS before her period. PMS, also known as premenstrual syndrome, is a negative condition that can be seen in menstruating women at least once in their lives. PMS period, which is a process that closely affects social life, mood and business life, has a great share in women’s life. PMS can be controlled with appropriate lifestyle changes and treatments when necessary. Thus, the person’s quality of life increases.
What is PMS?
PMS goes by many names. Premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual tension are some of these names. PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a condition that occurs before menstruation in women’s youth and middle age. It includes symptoms that start from the second half of the menstrual cycle and last until the beginning of menstruation and disappear with menstruation. In every woman who menstruates, distressing conditions such as pain, bowel irregularities, and headaches may manifest themselves for a while, starting before the menstrual period. It may be necessary to control these symptoms, which negatively affect the quality of life while showing emotional and behavioral symptoms. Sudden mood changes may occur with the increase in estrogen and progesterone levels, which lasts approximately 14 days before menstruation. Hormonal changes are the main reasons for the negative situations that occur. There are also some factors that increase the occurrence of PMS. Some of these factors can be listed as follows:
- Excessive caffeine intake.
- High stress levels.
- Low exercise and physical activity.
- Excessive salt and sugar consumption.
- Genetic factors.
- Family history of mental disorders.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Insufficient fluid consumption.
- Excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates.
Causes of PMS
As with every disorder, many reasons can be listed for PMS, although they are not certain. Hormonal fluctuations are one of these reasons. Changing levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause symptoms and mood changes. Fluctuations in the brain chemical serotonin may highlight PMS symptoms. Depression, fatigue and sleep problems may occur with decreasing serotonin. If a person has a family history of health problems such as bipolar disorder or postpartum depression, this may also increase the likelihood of PMS. Not only genetic and hormonal but also lifestyle causes are among the reasons. A diet rich in fat, sugar and salt can increase PMS pain and bloating. Other nutritional causes are magnesium and calcium deficiencies. Apart from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, even excess water in the body can be a cause. The possibility of PMS may increase due to reasons such as unbalanced and inadequate nutrition, genetic predisposition, and age.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
Like every disease and syndrome, PMS has various symptoms. These symptoms can be psychological, behavioral or physical. Symptoms appear up to 5 days before menstruation and may end with menstruation. Although these symptoms may vary depending on the person’s age, lifestyle, diet and daily habits, complaints of pain, edema and restlessness are common. Some symptoms caused by PMS can be listed generally as follows:
Decreased appetite but increased desire for sweet and salty foods.
What to Do to Manage PMS?
PMS can sometimes even become undesirable to deal with due to the reluctance and restlessness it creates in the person. In order to get rid of the negativities, the person needs to start managing this period on his own or create a treatment option. Acquiring habits that will positively affect a person’s psychology, resting, and doing the activities he or she likes will help this period go more smoothly. Small changes to manage PMS will help this condition, which recurs every month, to be less disturbing to the person. With the help of a diary, the situations experienced in each PMS can be noted and necessary precautions can be taken before these symptoms occur in the next period. One of the most frequently used methods when managing PMS is hot compress application. While warm compress helps relieve pain, it also prevents problems such as edema by easing blood flow. Lifestyle and nutritional changes are the main methods of managing the PMS period.
Nutritional changes are one of the most easily implemented methods of coping with physical negativities. Reducing sugar and caffeine consumption and not consuming alcohol during the PMS period are the main nutritional changes. Excessive consumption of chocolate may increase pain due to increased sweet tooth. At the same time, in order to eliminate the edema problem, which is one of the most common PMS symptoms and causes discomfort to the person, plenty of water should be consumed, but sodium intake should also be reduced. To prevent or relieve cramps, drinking antispasmodic teas such as chamomile and consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help this period pass more comfortably. The absence of folic acid, vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium insufficiency is also necessary for relief, and if deficiencies are suspected, a health institution should be consulted. It is beneficial to take supplements when deemed necessary by the doctor.
Another lifestyle change that helps relieve the PMS period is physical activity and exercise. While activity is increased with relaxation exercises such as meditation and yoga, the person is provided with mental relaxation. This may also help you have a more trouble-free period psychologically. With relaxation exercises, the sleep cycle is regulated and the problem of insomnia is eliminated. Another benefit of exercise is that it reduces PMS symptoms by increasing the release of endorphins. Aerobic exercises for 20-30 minutes at least 3 days a week may be recommended. With physical activities, the functioning of the intestines is regulated and possible complaints such as gas, cramps and constipation are reduced.
How to Treat PMS?
In cases where PMS cannot be regulated with lifestyle changes, treatment is applied under the supervision of a doctor. The first of these treatments is drug therapy. The aim is to regulate symptoms of PMS such as headache, depression, insomnia and anxiety by using serotonin reuptake inhibitors in order to prevent daily life being affected in women experiencing severe PMS. Another type of medication used is oral contraceptives. The other name of these drugs is birth control pills and they are not used only to control fertility. These pills are also used when treating PMS, and these pills, created by combining estrogen and progesterone, prevent symptoms caused by excess estrogen, such as edema. Other drugs are diuretics. The purpose of using diuretics is to remove edema, which may increase during PMS, from the body and to relieve the feeling of bloating. If the cause of PMS is hypothyroidism caused by insufficiency of thyroid hormones, the symptoms can be prevented with thyroid treatment.
PMS is a condition that may require treatment in some cases or whose management must be learned. When PMS causes problems that last for 2-3 menstrual periods and radically affect daily life, a gynecologist should be consulted. However, there are no tests to diagnose PMS, and the doctor learns whether the symptoms are due to PMS or another disorder by listening to the PMS history. If there is another disorder that mimics PMS symptoms, such as thyroid disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, perimenopause, the treatment method changes. If it is thought that PMS is experienced, a health institution should be consulted as soon as possible and the necessary information should be obtained.