pMS - Coping With it & Identifying It

Coping With it & Identifying It

pre-menstrual Syndrome (pMS) is a set of physical and emotional symptoms that follow a regular monthly pattern in a woman's menstrual cycle. Many women experience pMS to some degree, often seven to 10 days before their menstrual period begins.

Among the most common symptoms of pMS are moodiness, trouble sleeping, headache, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, craving for sweets, tiredness, and depression. Although there are more than 150 known symptoms of pMS, the timing of the symptoms-rather than the symptoms themselves-is the key to diagnosing pMS.

How Common Is pMS

About 40 percent of all women suffer from some degree of pMS at some time in their lives. pMS tends to be rare in adolescence, more common when a woman is in her twenties, and often serious by the time she is in her mid-thirties.

Whether or not a woman needs to see her doctor about pMS depends on how severe her symptoms are.

If they interfere with one's normal everyday life, then they need medical attention and help.

Recognizing pMS

Before going to see her doctor, it's a good idea for a woman to keep track of the symptoms she is feeling. This will give her and her physician solid details to use in deciding on a treatment plan.

No medical series of tests can diagnose pMSalthough a thyroid test may rule out a thyroid condition that looks like pMS. In addition, because pMS involves a group of symptoms, it is not practical for a woman and her physician to deal with individual symptoms,such as treating depression with antidepressant drugs.

The best preparation for a consultation with your physician is a chart of the symptoms you are feeling for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. The chart (or diary) for each day should include the following items:

  • Any symptom experienced
  • Each medication taken (prescription and over-the-counter), with time of day noted
  • Unusual times eaten or special food cravings
  • Special stresses experienced

If symptoms regularly begin about a week before menstrual flow and end during menstruation, they are very likely indications of pMS. If they do not follow this pattern, a physician should be consulted to determine other causes.

Combating pMS

In addition to consulting with your doctor and following a medical course of treatment, there are many ways you can take action on your own to reduce the effects of pMS:

  • Resist cravings for junk food
  • Eat a complex carbohydrate diet including pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, cereal, bread, and vegetables
  • Limit the use of salt and salty foods to reduce water retention
  • Increase your intake of foods high in magnesium, such as peanuts, spinach, wheat bran, and carrots
  • Eat foods high in vitamin B6, such as bananas, cantaloupes, eggs, and green leafy vegetables (preferably raw)
  • Avoid drinking caffeinic beverages
  • Cut down on sugar. Eat several small meals each day to keep blood sugar in balance
  • Limit alcohol, since it can disrupt hormone balance and lead to mood swings
  • Engage in aerobic exercise, which increases your body's production of hormones helpful in controlling pMS
  • practice stress management techniques

By understanding the causes of pMS, the ways to evaluate symptoms, and the treatments available, you can exert control over your physical and emotional life.

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