Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

What Is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), also known as premenstrual tension, is a collection of symptoms and signs experienced by women during the premenstrual period, including mood swings, breast tenderness, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, and depression, among others. Medical experts believe that about three out of four women who menstruate experience at least one of the symptoms of premenstrual tension.

The symptoms of premenstrual tension often follow a predictable pattern in many cases. However, the degrees of physical and emotional changes experienced by individuals during the premenstrual period can vary widely, ranging from barely noticeable levels to very intense levels, and these degrees may differ from one cycle to another.

In any case, women do not have to let the problems caused by premenstrual tension control their quality of life. Treatments that women can implement and lifestyle changes they can make may help reduce or manage the symptoms of premenstrual tension.

What Causes Premenstrual Syndrome?

Medical experts have not yet definitively determined what causes premenstrual tension, but they believe that multiple factors contribute to its development.

Cyclical Hormonal Changes The symptoms of premenstrual tension commonly fluctuate cyclically with hormonal changes and disappear during periods when menstruation does not occur, such as during pregnancy or menopause.

What are the Causes of Menstrual Delay

It has been observed that fluctuations in the brain chemical serotonin, which is thought to play a significant role in mood, can lead to changes in brain chemistry and trigger the symptoms of premenstrual tension. Inadequate levels of serotonin, particularly insufficient secretion, may contribute to the development of premenstrual depression, as well as fatigue, excessive food cravings, and sleep problems.

In some severe cases of premenstrual tension, undiagnosed depression has been observed in individuals. However, under normal circumstances, depression alone does not cause all the symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms and Types of Premenstrual Syndrome?

The list of potential symptoms and signs that may affect an individual during the premenstrual tension process is long, but many individuals experience only a few of these problems at the same time. The symptoms and signs of premenstrual tension can be divided into emotional and behavioral symptoms and physical symptoms.

Emotional and behavioral symptoms and signs of premenstrual tension include crying spells, feelings of depression, tension or anxiety, changes in appetite and food cravings, fluctuations in libido, mood swings, irritability or anger outbursts, social withdrawal, difficulty falling asleep, i.e., insomnia, and difficulty concentrating.

Why Does Menstrual Irregularity Occur, and How Is It Treated

Physical symptoms and signs of premenstrual tension include acne flare-ups, sudden intolerance to alcohol, headaches, joint or muscle pain, breast tenderness, digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea, abdominal bloating, sudden weight gain due to fluid retention, and constant feelings of fatigue.

In fewer women, severely disabling symptoms and signs may occur related to premenstrual tension. This type of premenstrual tension, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), includes intense anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, depression, mood swings, anger, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and tension.

Individuals who cannot manage or alleviate the symptoms and signs of premenstrual tension through lifestyle changes should see a doctor if the condition affects their health and daily activities.

How Is Premenstrual Syndrome Diagnosed?

There are no specific physical findings or laboratory tests used to positively diagnose premenstrual tension. If a specific syndrome can be associated with an individual’s premenstrual tension period as a predictable part of their premenstrual tension period, the doctor may associate it with premenstrual tension.

Some conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, depression, and anxiety, including mood disorders, can mimic premenstrual tension. To ensure a clear diagnosis, the doctor may recommend tests such as a thyroid function test or mood screening tests.

The doctor may ask the individual to record their symptoms and signs in a calendar or diary for at least two menstrual cycles to help establish a pattern in the individual’s premenstrual period. In this diary, the individual should note the first day they noticed the symptoms and signs of premenstrual tension and the day they disappeared. In addition, the days when menstruation began and ended should also be marked in the diary. Later, these records can be reviewed to identify a pattern in the individual’s menstrual cycle.

How Does Premenstrual Syndrome Pass?

In some cases, the physical pain or emotional stress felt by women during the premenstrual tension process can be severe enough to affect daily life. However, regardless of the severity of the symptoms, for most women, the symptoms usually disappear spontaneously within the first four days after menstruation begins. Except for this, the premenstrual tension process continues until women stop menstruating and enter menopause.

How Is Premenstrual Syndrome Treated?

In many cases, lifestyle changes can help alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual tension. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the doctor may prescribe one or more different medications. The success of these prescribed medications in relieving symptoms varies from woman to woman. Commonly prescribed medications for premenstrual tension include antidepressants.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include antidepressants and their counterparts, have shown significant success in reducing mood symptoms in many cases. SSRIs are considered the first-line treatment for severe PMS or PMDD. SSRIs are usually taken daily. Antidepressant use for some women with premenstrual tension may be limited to the two weeks before menstruation begins.

Exercise and limiting salt intake may not be sufficient to reduce weight gain and bloating associated with PMS in cases where it occurs. In such cases, the use of diuretics, water pills that help the body eliminate excess water, may help individuals reduce bloating and fluid retention. Spironolactone is the name of a diuretic that may help alleviate some symptoms of PMS.

Hormonal contraceptives are prescription medications that aim to alleviate premenstrual tension symptoms by stopping ovulation.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Care for Reducing Premenstrual Syndrome

In some cases, individuals may be able to manage or reduce the symptoms of premenstrual tension by making changes in their diet, exercising, and approaching daily life differently. Accordingly, individuals can change their diet, incorporate exercises into their normal routines, distance themselves from the stress of daily life, and record their symptoms for a few months.

During the process of changing their daily nutritional diet, individuals may find that eating smaller, more frequent meals is effective in reducing bloating and feelings of fullness. Additionally, individuals should avoid consuming salty foods to reduce bloating and fluid retention, opting instead for complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Individuals should choose calcium-rich foods to replenish the minerals lost by their bodies. Those who cannot tolerate dairy products can consult their doctor and use daily calcium supplements.

Individuals suffering from premenstrual tension should avoid caffeine and alcohol. In addition, daily exercises can be added to their daily routines.

Participating in exercise activities such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or aerobics for at least 30 minutes at least four days a week can help individuals relax and improve their overall health, as well as alleviate certain symptoms such as fatigue and depressive mood.

Individuals should try to avoid the stress of daily life as much as possible. Getting plenty of regular sleep is important for reducing symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, or sleep problems before menstruation. Progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing exercises can be applied to reduce premenstrual tension symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, or sleep problems. Individuals affected by premenstrual tension can try gentle sports methods such as yoga or Pilates to relax and eliminate the stress they are experiencing.

Individuals suffering from premenstrual tension should keep a record of their symptoms for a few months. These records can help individuals find appropriate solutions to various situations over time.

The effectiveness of complementary medications, supplements, and herbal remedies used to alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual tension is either limited or not available. The possible effectiveness of these types of herbal remedies may vary from woman to woman or even disappear depending on the severity of the symptoms that month. Individuals should be cautious when using such herbal remedies, as they may interact with other medications used for medical conditions and cause unwanted side effects.

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