PMS: Don’t Suffer in Silence

Premenstrual Syndrome or Premenopausal Dysmorphic Disorder is a condition that can affect a woman’s mood and can also be associated with physical symptoms.  Women with this condition have cyclical symptoms that occur before the onset of the menstrual cycle and end with the start of the menstrual cycle.  The number of days that symptoms occur may vary when comparing different women and the severity of symptoms may vary from cycle to cycle.

The symptoms include: anxiety, depressed mood, agitation, anger, fatigue, breast tenderness, bloating, and water retention.  Symptoms can be severe enough to affect relationships at home and at work.

The cause of the condition is still not completely understood, but is likely linked to hormone changes that occur before the onset of the menstrual cycle.

Treatments include lifestyle modifications, herbal supplements and a group of antidepressants called SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).  Unlike traditional antidepressant therapy, the medication is only taken on the days when symptoms typically occur and is not taken daily.  Exercise, reducing caffeine intake, hydration, having adequate sleep, avoidance of high sodium foods and the avoidance of alcohol can reduce symptoms.  Supplements and herbals that have been suggested to reduce symptoms are Evening Primrose Oil, B6, Calcium, vitamin E, Omega 3, and Magnesium.  Medications that stop ovulation may also reduce symptoms (birth control pills).

Many women suffer in silence because they are embarrassed by this problem or do not think there are treatment options available.  This is a condition that can negatively impact a woman’s life and should be addressed by a gynecologist if life style modification and or herbals are ineffective.

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