Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) causes symptoms one to two weeks before a woman’s menstrual period. Common symptoms include fatigue, bloating, irritability, mood swing, depression and anxiety.

Overview:

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is the severe form of PMS which can be debilitating.
  • The cause of PMS and PMDD is not known. Some women may be very sensitive to changes in hormone levels during their cycles which can cause short period of irritability, mood swing and anxiety. The main difference to depression is that the symptoms of PMS and PMDD occur only in the days preceding a woman’s period.
  • There is no test for PMS or PMDD. The diagnosis is symptom based.
  • A record/diary of one’s feelings every day for two full menstrual cycles is essential before PMS is diagnosed.

PMS and PMDD Treatment:

  • Communicate with your partner, avoid stressful situations, improve your diet
  • Exercise — can help to reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression.
  • Relaxation therapy — can help to ease the stress and anxiety of daily life and may include techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, self-hypnosis, or biofeedback.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements — Calcium is an inexpensive treatment with few side effects for women with mild to moderate symptoms of PMS. Vitamin B6 (up to 100 mg/day) might also have a small benefit for women with mild PMS. No more than 100 mg of vitamin B6 should be taken per day.
  • Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — a highly effective treatment for the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. Taking the SSRI only during the second half of the menstrual cycle may be sufficient.
  • Birth control pills — some women experience relief from their symptoms when they begin taking a birth control pill. (Some women, on the other hand, feel worse)