Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of physical and emotional changes or discomforts that affects many women a few days or weeks before menstruation. Premenstrual syndrome can affect menstruating women of all ages. These changes can sometimes interfere with the normal day-to-day activities of the affected women. The cause of PMS is uncertain.Premenstrual symptoms are a common part of the monthly cycle.

 

Symptoms 
The exact symptoms and severity differs from person to person and from month to month. Nearly 85% of women who menstruate have at least one premenstrual symptom.
The most common symptoms are

  • Emotional disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Crying spells
  • Anxiety & stress
  • Depression & Confusion
  • Frequent & unexplained anger
  • Lack of focus and attention
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Food cravings and increased thirst
  • Physical symptoms
  • Pain in the breasts
  • Itching of the breasts
  • Headache
  • Swelling of the hands
  • Swelling of the feet
  • Joint and muscle ache
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain

 

Causes 
The cause of PMS largely remains unknown.

  • Occur due to the hormonal changes.
  • Your reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone cause certain imbalances in the chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
  • Nutrient inadequacy may also be a factor in PMS.

A symptom score card

 

  • Write your symptoms in a chart every day for 2–3 months.
  • Rate each symptom on a scale of 0–10.
  • Note 0 if there are no symptoms or if a symptom is minor.
  • Write "10" if a symptom is severe.
  • Rate the symptom according to the severity and how it feels.


To relieve PMS symptoms?

  • Keeping a symptom record can help you predict changes in your body or moods.
  • Knowing when to expect changes will help you manage them better.
  • Although PMS can be frustrating, there are things you can do to make your symptoms better.
  • Lifestyle and dietary changes can often relieve some PMS symptoms.
  • Medicines also can help some women manage the symptoms.

 

 


Relieving PMS : Some tips

  • Avoid foods high on sugar and fats.
  • Do not eat foods high in salt.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid coffee, tea and other caffeine drinks
  • Eat small meals a day to enhance even distribution of nutrition and maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Improve calcium intake.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Sleep well.
  • Avoid physical and emotional stress situations.
  • Intake of nutrients like calcium, vitamin.

Exercising

  • Helps the release of endorphins (responsible for increased feelings of well being).
  • Exercise must be pleasurable, daily, and at least 30 min long.
  • However, uninterrupted quality is more important than quantity.
  • A daily walk is very beneficial in fighting PMS.
  • Relaxation exercises, dancing, and swimming are just a few of the types of physical activity which women with premenstrual symptoms find helpful.
  • Yoga is also recommended to relieve stress as well as to stretch and exercise the pelvic muscles.


Food


Lack of certain vitamins and minerals will affect the level of the hormones of the menstrual cycle.

However, since diet alone cannot provide the required quantities of all these nutrients, it makes sense to add a nutritional supplement to your daily diet.

Foods to limit or avoid

  • Junk foods, sweets, cakes, chocolates, honey, sugar in tea and coffee and refined flour products
  • Caffeinated drinks: coffee, tea and soft drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Red meat, foods fried in saturated fats, butter and salt

 

Nutrient Benefit Food sources


Calcium Calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce PMS symptoms. It gives an additional benefit of promoting better bone. Milk, cheese and green vegetables.

Magnesium Magnesium supplementation may reduce premenstrual symptoms related to mood changes Green vegetables and cereals.
Vitamin E Vitamin E supplementation helps in the treatment of mastalgia (breast pain), premenstrual anxiety and depression. Vegetable oils and green vegetables.

Zinc Zinc supplementation plays an important role in PMS-related depression and irritability. Red meat, poultry beans, nuts, certain seafood and whole grains.

Combination of nutrients Calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of PMS.

Magnesium and vitamin B6 help in the reduction of mild premenstrual anxiety-related symptoms.

Fatty acids Long-chain fatty acids such as evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage seed oil have been suggested for reduction of PMS symptoms. Fishes such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel; fish oil supplements, nuts, seeds, oils like soya bean oil, rapeseed oil, linseed oil, flaxseed oil and eggs.