Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical, emotional, psychological and mood disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates (approximately 7-10 days prior to periods) and ends with menstruation.
About 80% of women experience some premenstrual symptoms.
Symptoms of PMS
The most frequent mood-related symptoms of PMS include:
Anger and irritability,
Exaggerated mood swings.
The most frequent physical signs and symptoms of PMS include:
Bloating (due to fluid retention),
Sleep disturbances with sleeping too much or too little (insomnia)
Appetite changes with overeating or food cravings.
Diagnosis of PMS
The diagnosis of PMS can be difficult because many medical and psychological conditions can mimic or worsen symptoms of PMS. There are no laboratory tests to determine if a woman has PMS. The most helpful diagnostic tool is the menstrual diary, which documents physical and emotional symptoms over months.
If the changes occur consistently around ovulation (7-10 days prior to next periods) and persist until the menstrual flow begins, then PMS is probably the accurate diagnosis.
Management of PMS
General management includes a healthy lifestyle, including:
Family and friends can provide emotional support during the time of a woman’s cycle
Avoid salt before the menstrual period
Reduce caffeine intake
Reduce alcohol intake
Reduce intake of refined sugars.
All of the above have been recommended and may help symptoms in some women. Furthermore, some studies suggest that vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium supplements may have some benefit.
Some women, however, experience very severe symptoms and require medical treatment.