Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Manila Bulletin, August 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)


Most women experience mild premenstrual symptoms during the reproductive years. For a small number of women, fewer than ten percent, the symptoms are temporarily disabling --- disrupting social, family, and working relationships. The symptoms generally start 7 to 10 days before a woman’s menstrual period.Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual tension (PMT) is a cyclical, metabolic disturbance that affects millions of women. It’s a combination of physical and psychological disorder with cyclic occurrence of symptoms that are of sufficient severity to interfere with some aspects of life. The premenstrual problems you experience may change from cycle to cycle, from year to year, or from one stage of life to another. Some women have only emotional and no physical symptoms; others experience physical but no emotional symptoms.Symptoms of the syndromeOne of the most frustrating things about PMS is that it deregulates so many systems in the body. Most women have at least 10 to 12 symptoms from several of the following categories.Neurological Symptoms:Headache, lack of motor coordination, migraine, fainting spells, dizziness, and epilepsy.Respiratory Symptoms:Sinus problems, bronchitis, asthma, upper respiratory infections, sore-throat, hoarseness, and rhinitis.Dermatological Symptoms:Rashes, acne, boils, hives, and conjunctivitisPsychological Symptoms:Irritable, mood swings, anxiety, tension, panic, aggression/anger, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, lethargy, fatigue, body malaise, weakness, behavioral abnormalities, increased or decreased libido, sugar craving, depression, and insomnia.Water Retention:Bloating, weight gain, swollen and tender breast, backache, joint pains, and cramps.Other possibly related conditions:Candidiasis, thyroid problems, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting, upset stomach, urethritis and cystitis.What causes the symptoms?The female hormones estrogen and progesterone seem to play an important role in premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but the exact relationship is unclear. Some evidence indicates that women with full-blown PMS have lower than average blood levels of serotonin – a chemical found in the brain.Some of the possible triggers include:Improper ratio of estrogen a to progesterone; poor nutrition (too much fat, sugar, salt in diet); imbalance in proportion of calcium to magnesium in diet; Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) deficiency; stress; environmental pollution; thyroid dysfunction; adrenal dysfunction (low levels of DHEA – dehydroepiandrosterone); sleep disturbances; and lack of sunlight exposure. …

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