Premenstrual syndrome (“PMS”) can be caused by fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle. PMS refers to a wide variety of physical and emotional symptoms that typically start 1-2 weeks prior to the onset of the menstrual period. The symptoms vary from woman to woman and can be mild to severe. A woman can develop PMS with the onset of her first period. More often however, PMS begins in the pre-menopausal years, around the mid-thirties, and becomes increasingly severe as the years pass. As many as 75% of menstruating women experience some symptoms of PMS.Three to five percent of women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which is a severe, sometimes disabling form of PMS. The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS but are serious enough to interfere with work, social activities, and relationships.
The most common physical symptoms of PMS and PMDD are: tension, headache or backache, abdominal cramps, bloating, swelling of the ankles, feet and hands, weight gain, breast tenderness, acne flares, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, nausea, and recurrent cold sores. Emotional symptoms of PMS include: anxiety, confusion or forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, depression, anger, irritability, aggression, fatigue, poor judgment, negative self-image, and change or loss of sex drive.
The specific causes of PMS are not fully understood, but several factors may contribute to the condition, including: fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, poor diet, vitamin deficiencies and stress. Deficiencies of the hormones (neurotransmitters) serotonin and norepinephrine are also thought to have a role in causing of PMS.
While many women simply assume there is little they can do to relieve these symptoms, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) along with proper diet, vitamins, stress reduction and exercise can help return hormones to their natural balanced levels and reduce or eliminate many PMS symptoms.