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"Oh, are you suffering from PMS?" is something (very stupid) that's frequently said to a slightly moody woman. Premenstrual Syndrome is ridiculed often, and is often an excuse to ridicule women in general.

Yet, PMS is a real medical condition that is definitely taken seriously by doctors these days. Read on to find out more about Premenstrual Syndrome and its symptoms. 

What is Premenstrual Syndrome?

Most women can tell that their period is approaching even if they don't keep track of their cycle length. Small physical symptoms that let you know you are going to have your period soon usually include slight abdominal cramps and bloating, facial skin impurities and tender breasts. Women who suffer from PMS react much more strongly to their approaching menstruation than the average woman. Severe PMS genuinely disrupt daily life. Premenstrual Syndrome has 200 possible symptoms. Many are physical, but the three most common ones are emotional irritability, tension and unhappiness. PMS is either caused by a hormonal imbalance or the body's sensitivity to normal levels of the hormone that dominates the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, progesterone. The condition often appears at a time the woman is going through significant hormonal changes. Having a baby or approaching the menopause are common times at which PMS may strike.

PMS symptoms

In order to receive a PMS diagnosis, a woman's premenstrual complaints have to be primarily emotional. One in five women suffers from physically very painful periods; this pain is usually caused by clear medical reasons such as endometriosis. Suffering from painful periods is not the same thing as PMS, though women with PMS may well have strong physical symptoms associated with their condition as well. Since over 200 symptoms have been identified, we're not able to list them all. The most common PMS symptoms are:

  • Irritability
  • Unhappiness or feeling depressed
  • Mood swings
  • Stress
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme emotional sensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in libido
  • Feeling like crying
  • Agression
  • Tender and painful breasts
  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Nausea

Premenstrual Syndrome the diagnosis

Premenstrual symptoms deserve a doctor's visit if they are disrupting your life in any way, without a doubt. In order to be diagnosed with PMS, you should have at least three of the psychological symptoms associated with the condition. These symptoms should always occur during the luteal phase (second half, post-ovulation) of your menstrual cycle and reduce following the start of your menstruation. If you have severe physical symptoms during your period or before it, your healthcare provider should look into possible physical causes as well. To identify a clear pattern in your premenstrual symptoms, your doctor may ask you to keep a journal to keep track of everything that you are feeling in the run-up to your menstruation as well as in the aftermath. To receive the diagnosis, premenstrual symptoms have to have a significant negative impact on your life. Your doctor may also take PMS risk factors into account during the diagnostic process. Women with a family history of PMS are at a higher risk of developing the condition, while current stress and a family history of depression are risk factors as well. If you drink lots of coffee or have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you could also be at risk of PMS.

Managing PMS

Taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, cutting back on unhealthy lifestyle choices like too much caffeine, and exercising regularly all help reduce PMS symptoms for some women. Therapy or counseling can teach women diagnosed with PMS how to handle the emotional changes their going through better, and SSRI antidepressants can have a positive effect in women with severe Premenstrual Syndrome. Hormonal drugs are the other possibility that benefits many women with PMS. Of these, the birth control pill is least invasive. Talk to your doctor about other options. Those women whoa re trying to conceive will have to make do without hormonal interventions no doubt, the thought that you may soon be pregnant and not having periods for a long while will make that easier!

  • Infographic by SteadyHealth.com
  • Infographic by SteadyHealth.com

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