Living With PMS: Learn How To Relieve Symptoms?

"She looks like she is PMSing" is often heard as a reaction to irritability in women. Let's find out whether PMS is just an excuse for a bad temper, or whether it is a problem to be addressed by a medical professional.

Dr. Valery


What is PMS?

According to the World Health Organization, 75 percent of women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. The majority of these women live in big cities and have an intellectual occupation. Despite numerous research, the causes of PMS so far have not been identified. There are numerous theories, including those related to water-salt metabolism disorder, hypersensitivity to endogenous progesterone, and psychosomatic and hormonal issues.

During the second stage of the menstrual cycle, a woman's hormonal balance changes, which leads to discomfort and irritability. Unpleasant symptoms start showing 2–10 days in advance of the menstrual cycle and disappear after it starts.

PMS can also be related to endocrine problems and psycho-emotional disorders, which become more acute and expressed before the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

PMS symptoms

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • Mood swings
  • Engorgement of the mammary glands

Attention! If PMS is accompanied by breast pain and swelling, it is advisable to consult with a mammologist.

How to tell the difference between pms and disorder

The most significant difference between PMS and disorders is that PMS happens in cycles. The feeling of discomfort starts several days before the menstrual cycle and disappears after the start of the period.

If the feeling of discomfort occurs shortly before the period and continues during your cycle, it could be caused by gynecological problems, for example, endometriosis—especially if it is accompanied by blood discharge.

How to relieve PMS

If your physician has not diagnosed any disorder, you most likely have a standard PMS syndrome. Symptoms can be reduced or even eliminated by following these simple rules below.

Having restful sleep is essential for overall health, as lack of sleep causes irritability. If you have insomnia, take a walk before sleeping and try breathing exercises. Go to bed no later than 11:00 pm.

Your diet should be rich in carbohydrates, e.g., cereals, bran, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, and beans. It is also recommended to include foods rich in calcium such as eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, and greens in your diet. During the day, you can eat nuts and dried fruits for a snack instead of chocolate. During your PMS days, swap coffee for herbal tea. Try to avoid alcohol. If PMS is accompanied by swelling, decrease your salt consumption.

Calcium decreases PMS symptoms and helps reduce mood swings, headaches, and fatigue. The standard daily dosage for women is 1,000-1,200 mg. The absorption of calcium is facilitated by vitamin D, which should be taken regularly. The optimal time for intake is after 7:00 pm before bedtime. The period of intake should be determined by your physician based on the results of the medical tests.

Vitamin B6 and magnesium facilitate the production of progesterone and support the nervous system. It is advisable to combine the intake of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and magnesium to reduce postmenstrual syndrome. The standard duration of intake is 1–2 months—however, dosage and duration of intake should be determined by a medical professional. In many cases, PMS is caused by magnesium deficiency.

Doctors often prescribe vitamin Е (tocopherol) to those having issues with their periods. Vitamin E decreases breast sensitivity during PMS. The duration of intake and dosage of tocopherol should be determined by the physician.

Adaptogens are capable of increasing the human body's resistance to negative factors and can also help to make the situation better. For example, Rhodiola Rosea helps to cope with numerous stressors including psychological, physical, and chemical. Ayurveda followers suggest taking dong Quai, also referred to as female ginseng. It can be a part of the complex therapy for irritability and depression, with a mild sedative effect.

Combined oral contraceptives are used in case of expressed postmenstrual syndrome but only under medical supervision.

23 March 2021

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