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What Is PMS? — an article on the Smart Living Network
November 12, 2008 at 11:28 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Is PMS?


PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a name that describes the symptoms a woman experiences five to eleven days before the beginning of her period. Theses symptoms should let up when menstruation starts, or soon thereafter.

Who gets PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome is a common condition. About 75 percent of women will experience PMS during their child-bearing years. PMS occurs most often in women who are in their late 20s to early 40s.

Why do I get PMS?

We don't know exactly what causes PMS. Doctors believe it is related to the fluctuating levels of hormones during our menstrual cycle, like progesterone and estrogen

What are the symptoms of PMS?

PMS can have more than 200 different symptoms. But most women only experience a few of them, fortunately. PMS symptoms can be physical and emotional and interfere with daily life. Here are some of the most common physical symptoms:
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Swelling in hands, ankles and feet
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Acne
  • Constipation, diarrhea and gas
  • Food cravings
  • Weight gain
Some of the most common emotional symptoms of PMS are:
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Change in sex drive
  • Low self esteem
  • Fatigue

What can I do about my PMS?

If your symptoms are bad, you may need to seek a doctor's help. But before you consult your doctor, you should keep a diary of your symptoms, their severity and duration for three months, and try a few lifestyle changes in the meantime.
  • You might feel better if you get regular exercise and eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, salt and sugar
  • Take your vitamins: calcium, magnesium and B6 may help
  • Pain relievers can help with cramps, headaches and other pains associated with PMS
PMS can't be cured. You can only relieve the symptoms. Most women will notice an improvement after adjusting their lifestyle.

When should I see a doctor?

PMS symptoms make life unpleasant for millions of women for a few days each month. But if it interferes with your daily life and keeps you from normal activities, you may want to consult a doctor. If you have been keeping your PMS symptom diary and tracking your symptoms and their duration and severity, it will be easier for the doctor to understand your exact condition.

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