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Home Fitness & Lifestyle Women Health Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Premenstrual syndrome

Many women notice a particular pattern of physical and emotional changes from 10 days before a period to a day or two after. Some changes, such as increased creativity and energy, are welcome. Others are unwanted or even incapacitating - in which case a woman is said to have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

PMS can make you feel depressed, irritable, tense, tired, dizzy, faint or forgetful. It can cause sleep problems and mood swings, unusual hunger with cravings for sweet foods in particular. You may retain fluid, leading to weight gain, headaches, bloating and swollen breasts, ankles and fingers. Other possibilities are painful joints or muscles and palpitations (awareness of your heart throbbing). The good news is that while many women experience some of these symptoms, few experience them all.

Home remedies for the treatment of Premenstrual syndrome

Keep a diary of periods and symptoms - this will help you to establish whether your symptoms follow a pattern associated with your cycle, Dietary changes - In the two weeks before a period, avoid letting yourself become very hungry, Eat small, regular meals and favour a healthy diet with plenty of foods rich in calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B,C and E, beta-carotene and plant oestrogens ,These help to keep your womb, ovaries, blood, and hormone and neurotransmitter levels healthy. Eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and less of those rich in omega-6s to encourage healthy hormone levels. Foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan may help but only if low in protein (such as bananas, cauliflower, potatoes, nuts, dates, pumpkin seeds, wholegrain foods) and not if eaten with protein-rich foods. This is because tryptophan must be relatively free from competition with other amino acids in the blood if it's to enter the brain.

Watch out too for bad pre-menstrual dietary habits. Feeling more tired or irritable than usual, for example, could make you reach for fatty, calorie-laden snacks. Also, cut out added salt (to help prevent fluid retention) and reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine-containing drinks and refined carbohydrates such as sugar.

Healthy weight maintenance - Both excess weight gain and slimming on a crash or fad diet encourage PMS.

Exercise - Take regular, moderate exercise, especially in the two weeks before a period, even if you don't feel like it, because it encourages a healthy hormone balance, reduces stress and raises levels of natural 'feel-good' chemicals such as endorphins.

Herbal remedies for Premenstrual syndrome

Skullcap and Anemone pulsatilla can help, as can yam cream (apply a teaspoon over thighs or abdomen twice daily in the two weeks before a period). Or consider taking a hormone-balancing herb each morning for up to six months. German research found agnus castus helped one in two women, whereas a dummy remedy helped only one in four. Swedish research suggests that an extract of rye and certain other grass pollens can reduce weight gain, irritability and depression associated with PMS, possibly because antioxidants (such as flavonoids and superoxide dismutase) in these pollens help the blood vessels to keep the body's fluid balance steady. The pollen extracts are treated to ensure a minimal risk of an allergic reaction, so anyone who suffers from a pollen allergy should be able to take them without any problems.

Medical treatment for Premenstrual syndrome

Mild diuretics can help to counteract fluid retention by increasing urine production: cautions, interactions with other drugs and side effects vary for each drug, so check them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Anti-depressant drugs called SSRls (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) boost the availability of serotonin and can be an effective first-line treatment for severe PMS, according to 15 well-conducted trials. You take them either continuously or in the second half of your cycle but side effects such as nausea, vomiting, 'indigestion', abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, anorexia with

Weight loss and hypersensitivity reactions are fairly common. Other possibilities include a dry mouth, anxiety, headache, insomnia, drowsiness, tremor, dizziness, weakness, hallucinations, convulsions, milky nipple discharge, sexual dysfunction, sweating, mania, movement disorders and bruising.

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