Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, is a disorder that 3 out of 4 menstruating women experience during their 20’s and 30’s. This consists of irritability, tension, and depression several days before the period begins. Other less specific symptoms include acne, headache, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, lower abdominal pain, spotting, weight gain, anxiety and insomnia. This differs from the normal cycle in which a woman experiences only the physical symptoms.
The theory behind PMS is not fully known, but may be due to the imbalance of hormones.
Women who have PMS are more likely to have a history of depression, high stress levels, high caffeine intake, high levels of sodium in the diet, and low levels of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins D and E, manganese, calcium, and magnesium.
To treat PMS, doctors treat both the psychological and physical aspects of PMS. To treat the physical symptoms of PMS, exercises that stretch the abdominal muscles can lessen the severity. Examples of these include semi push-ups and bending backwards while standing, with the arms outstretched. For best results, practice this routine for 10-15 min. each day.
Certain vitamins may also help PMS symptoms, such as a multivitamin supplement (which contains calcium, magnesium, and B6) as well as vegetable smoothies that combine several green vegetables and fruit (such as spinach, celery, cucumbers combined with green apples) may reduce breast tenderness, bloating and lower abdominal pain. To achieve the best results, taking the multivitamin supplement once a day with the vegetable smoothies twice a day may help reduce the symptoms of PMS.
If the pain still persists, the above measures can be combined with reducing the amount of caffeine, taking anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen, Aleve, etc…), oral contraceptive pills (which stop ovulation and stabilize hormone swings), or even a diuretic (to reduce swelling).
To treat the emotional component of PMS, reducing the amount of stress by yoga/meditation and joining a support group can help. In more severe cases, antidepressant medication may be needed and prescribed.
Dealing with PMS is not easy, however, taking certain steps that combine dietary supplements, exercise and possibly medication can markedly reduce the symptoms and make a woman feel better.