Coping with sufferings before menstruation
Mood swings, tender breasts, a swollen abdomen, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression ... ... if you experience some or all of these problems in days before your menstruation, better known as monthly period, you may have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
This is more or less a familiar phenomenon in the female. The problems are more likely to trouble women between their late 20s and early 40s, and they tend to recur in a predictable pattern.
The symptoms may disappear once the menstrual flow starts, but may continue further. Many women become so affected that they stay home from school or work.
You need not let these problems control your life. In recent years, much has been learned about premenstrual syndrome. Now treatment and lifestyle adjustment can help you reduce or manage the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
What are some of the actual symptoms of PMS?
PMS looks more at physical symptoms such as bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, swelling of hands and feet, aches and pains, poor concentration, sleep disturbance, appetite change, and psychologic discomfort.
Symptoms such as depressed mood or dysphoria, anxiety or tension, irritability, decreased interest in usual activities, decreased concentration and, marked lack of energy, marked change in appetite, overeating or food cravings, sleepiness or insomnia and feeling overwhelmed.
What can I do to see if I have PMS?
You need to consult a physician to make sure none of the other problems are confusing the symptoms.
The doctor may suggest some investigations to make sure the diagnosis. The hallmark of PMS diagnosis is prospective symptom charting. Without it, the diagnosis of PMS cannot be accurately made. The reason for this is that retrospective recall has almost always been found to be markedly different from prospective charting.
Some of the possible treatments for PMS: Self-help
If, by keeping a symptom diary, you think that your physical or emotional symptoms are linked with your period, then you may have already crossed the first obstacle. Now you can predict more accurately how you will feel at certain times of the month, this may help you to
* avoid stress at home and at work on key days
* pinpoint any emotional triggers that make the symptoms worse
Some women find that PMS symptoms improve if they take regular exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole-grain carbohydrates, with limited caffeine, alcohol and salt.
There is no evidence to back this up, but these lifestyle habits promote good health and a sense of well-being.
It is reasonable to try some painkillers if you experience premenstrual headaches, backache or other aches and pains. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as those you would normally take for a headache, may help. Get advice from your GP before using over-the-counter medicines, and always follow the instructions on the packet.
Some women have found that taking vitamin B6 supplements is helpful. There is some limited scientific evidence that this works, but high doses can damage the nervous system. Don't take more than 50 or 100mg of vitamin B6 supplements each day and if you have any questions or concerns, talk to your GP.
You may have to try several self-help measures before you find something that is effective for you.