Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is one of the most common forms of hormonal imbalance affecting women. Up to 75% of all American women who menstruate report experiencing PMS. PMS can begin at any time in women having menstrual periods, from the first period onward. The symptoms usually occur during the 7 to 10 days before menses and go away within three to four days after bleeding starts. With advancing age, hormones tend to decline which explains why PMS symptoms may worsen as women approach menopause.
Causes of PMS
There are multiple contributing factors to PMS, but the main underlying cause is hormonal imbalance, specifically, changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. Lifestyle factors, unresolved emotional issues, poor diet, improper exercise, and nutrient deficiencies can all contribute to hormonal imbalance and PMS symptoms. Fluctuations or insufficient amounts of serotonin (a brain chemical) may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.
Symptoms of PMS
The severity of symptoms can vary by individual and by month and can be mild, moderate or severe. The list of potential signs and symptoms for premenstrual syndrome is long, but most women only experience a few of these problems.
Emotional and behavioral symptoms include:
- tension, irritability
- changes in sleep patterns
- change in sexual appetite
- depression or sadness
- emotional outbursts,
- mood swing
- aggression or anger
- loss of confidence
Physical symptoms include:
- abdominal bloat and/or cramping
- painful menses
- water retention
- swelling of the feet or hands
- weight gain
- excessive hunger or cravings loss of appetite
- sensitivity to light or sound
- sore breasts
- increased gas
Easing the Symptoms of PMS
A healthy lifestyle and a comprehensive treatment plan can reduce or eliminate symptoms for most women. Listed below are some things you can do to help.
- Drink plenty of fluids to ease abdominal bloating
- Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Reduce intake of sugar, salt, caffeine, and alcohol
- Take supplements, such as folic acid, vitamin B-6, calcium, and magnesium (if you are deficient)
- Sleep eight hours/night
- Engage in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week
- Practice stress reduction techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep-breathing exercises. Yoga and massage are also helpful
If you experiencing bothersome symptoms, at the Southern California center for Anti-aging we can test levels and get your hormones into optimal balance using bioidentical (never synthetic) hormones. We can also customize a nutritional, lifestyle plan and exercise plan to alleviate PMS issues.