Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Demystifying Pre-Menstrual Syndrome: The Causes and Effects

A cross-sectional study conducted at the College of Medicine, Taibah University revealed that premenstrual syndrome was prevalent in 56.4% of the participating students, according to a research paper published in the International Journal of Academic Scientific Research in November-December 2015.
Three out of every four women experience PMS at some or other point in their lives. A normal menstrual cycle is one of the most important indicators of sound female health. However, along with blood discharge, some women may experience cramps and pain typically in the stomach and lower back region. Women may also experience premenstrual syndrome which precedes menstruation.

What is PMS?

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a condition typically characterised by physical and physiological symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, sore breasts, acne, food cravings, constipation, diarrhoea, headaches, changes in sleeping pattern, anxiety, depression and emotional outbursts. The symptoms may differ from one female to another and may range from mild to severe. These symptoms may start to appear just after ovulation and may stretch up to four days after the start of periods. Premenstrual syndrome tends to be at its peak close to four-to-five days before menstruation.


PMS is known to be caused by changes in the hormone levels, mainly of progesterone and oestrogens during the menstrual cycle, which prepares the body for periods. Females with a family history of PMS, history of depression and mood disorders (post-partum depression and bipolar disorder) are more likely to develop PMS at some point or the other.
If your doctor has ruled out other conditions that may exhibit similar symptoms as PMS and if the symptoms reoccur every month during two weeks before your periods, then you might be experiencing premenstrual syndrome. In severe cases, it affects the quality of life. Your doctor may ask you to keep a record of the symptoms and may get several tests done so as to make a proper diagnosis.


There is no particular treatment that can prevent PMS and or treat it completely, but you can follow certain steps that can help you manage and ease the symptoms. You can take medications for headache and backache. In severe cases, medication may also be prescribed for depression. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating a balanced diet, exercising (aerobics and walking) and getting proper sleep are some of the things that can relieve PMS symptoms. If the symptoms persist long after menstruation is over or if it is affecting your daily activities, consult a doctor immediately.