The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome affect an average of 75% of women, although only between 20 and 40% have extreme discomfort.
Bloating, cramps, mood swings and cravings for food are just a few of the things women experience before the menstrual period.
Some women, however, have bad symptoms, while others are not affected.
Check the symptoms and risk factors that pertain to the PMS pattern.
Change of mood
Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may occur two weeks before menstruation.
Floating hormones are behind the PMS, mainly estrogen and progesterone. These, in turn, can affect brain chemicals such as serotonin, which could explain the mood swings.
Other causes include:
Inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals
A diet rich in salt, which can cause water retention and a feeling of bloating;
Excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, which can negatively affect mood and energy.
Symptoms of PMS
PMS symptoms may vary from woman to woman, and up to 150 physical and behavioral symptoms are associated with PMS. The most common symptoms include:
changes in appetite;
mastalgia (breast pain).
Menstrual cramps are also felt by many women, involving abdominal pains and cramps and back or sore back pain. However, while some pain is common, excessive pain is not and is known as dysmenorrhea.
What is dysmenorrhea?
Dysmenorrhea is also a condition characterized by marked menstrual cramps. It divides into two types: primary and secondary, depending on the cause.
Primary dysmenorrhea occurs at the time of menstruation and pain is not related to a specific problem of the uterus or other pelvic organs. In this case, the prostaglandin hormones are involved.
Secondary dysmenorrhea develops later and is related to problems in the uterus or other pelvic organs and is linked to:
intrauterine device (IUD) made of copper;
pelvic inflammatory disease;
sexually transmitted infections;
stress and anxiety.
Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenopausal dysphoric disorder (PMDD) affects a small percentage of women and has symptoms similar to those of PMS, but much more severe and usually accompanied by depression.
Symptoms usually occur during the week prior to menstruation and stop after the beginning of the period.
The most important criteria for diagnosing PMDD are mood symptoms. Women with a history of depression are at risk of PMDD, and treatment usually involves antidepressants and contraceptive medications.
You must have five or more symptoms to be diagnosed with PMDD. The most common symptoms include:
overwhelming feelings of sadness or despair;
severe anxiety and panic attacks;
extreme irritability or anger;
Lack of concentration;
joint or muscle pain.
Relieving PMS symptoms
Unless you suffer from dysmenorrhea or PMDD, there are things you can do to relieve the symptoms of PMS:
eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
avoid salt, caffeine and alcohol, especially when you have PMS symptoms;
sleep at least 8 hours a night.
facilitate stress with a little yoga, massage or relaxation therapy.
Do not smoke.
It is extremely important that you share your symptoms with your doctor, especially if you are feeling loss of appetite, insomnia, extreme nervousness or disinterest or inability to perform daily activities.