PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

What it is?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms related to the female menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur in the week or two weeks before your period (menstruation or monthly bleeding). The symptoms usually go away after your period starts. An estimated 70 percent to 90 percent of menstruating women experience some form of PMS. These problems are more likely to trouble women in their 20s to 30s, and they tend to recur in a predictable pattern. Yet the physical and emotional changes you experience may be more or less intense with each menstrual cycle. Still, you don’t have to let these problems control your life. In recent years, much has been learned about PMS. Treatments and lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage your signs and symptoms.

What Causes it?:

1. Stress
2. New cycle , that is the irregularity experienced by some young girls at the onset of the periods. Their cycle can be irregular for months or years whilst it is establishing itself.
3. Dietary problems , e.g. anorexia, bulimia or simply poor diet
4. Too much exercise
5. Drugs – prescription and recreational
6. Break in routine
7. Thoughts and emotions
8. Sexual activity – especially when it is a new occurrence
9. Anxiety about pregnancy
10. Illness or physiological imbalance e.g. thyroid conditions

Symptoms :

PMS often includes both physical and emotional symptoms. Common symptoms are:

1. Breast swelling and tenderness
2. Fatigue and trouble sleeping
3. Upset stomach, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
4. Headache
5. Appetite changes or food cravings
6. Joint or muscle pain
7. Tension, irritability, mood swings or crying spells
8. Anxiety or depression
9. Trouble concentrating or remembering.

Symptoms vary from one woman to another. If you think you have PMS, try keeping track of your symptoms for several menstrual cycles. You can use a calendar to note which symptoms you are having on which days of your cycle, and how bad the symptoms are.

Diet and Lifestyle

1. Eat complex carbohydrates (such as whole grain breads, pasta and cereals), fiber and protein. Cut back on sugar and fat.
2. Avoid salt for the last few days before your period to reduce bloating and fluid retention.
3. Cut back on caffeine to feel less tense and irritable and to ease breast soreness.
4. Cut out alcohol. Drinking it before your period can make you feel more depressed.
5. Try eating up to 6 small meals a day instead of 3 larger ones.
6. Get aerobic exercise. Work up to 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week.
7. Get plenty of sleep–about 8 hours a night.
8. Keep to a regular schedule of meals, bedtime and exercise.
9. Try to schedule stressful events for the week after your period.
10. Take a herbal supplement / tonic for PMS.

How is the diagnosis of PMS made?

The most helpful diagnostic tool is the menstrual diary, which documents physical and emotional symptoms over months. If the changes occur consistently around ovulation (mid cycle or days 7-10 into the menstrual cycle) and last until the menstrual flow begins, then PMS is probably the accurate diagnosis. Keeping a menstrual diary not only helps the physician to make the diagnosis, it also promotes a better understanding by the patient of her own body and moods. Once the diagnosis of PMS is made and understood, the patient can better cope with the symptoms.

Treatment :

The treatment of PMS can sometimes be as challenging as making the diagnosis of PMS. Various treatment approaches have been used to treat this condition. Some treatments with a sound scientific basis may be helpful to the patients.

Herbal Supplements is the best solution for PMS.

Herbs which are useful :

Ashoka (Saraca indica ):

The bark of the tree is effective for excessive blood loss during menstruation due to the presence of uterine fibroids, leucorrhoea and other causes. It can be used as a substitute for ergot, a kind of dried fungus used in medicine in the treatment of uterine hamorrhages. It is taken as a decoction.

Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus) :

According to the Ayurveda, root is pungent, acrid, cooling, astringent, appetizer, stomachic, anthelmintic and useful in treatment of PMS, leprosy, thirst, fever, blood diseases, biliousness, dysentery, pruritis, pain, vomiting, epilepsy etc.

Kamal Phool (lotus Flower):

It is particularly useful in Rakta Pitta – bleeding disorders. Decoction of leaves and sandalwood or root-powder or seed-powder is useful for abnormal / irregular bleeding and PMS. Many traditional ancient medical texts also report its use for skin conditions, notably ringworm, leprosy, sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis as well as for lowering fevers, fighting fungal infections and supporting a weak heart. The milky latex found in the stems, leaves and flowers is used to fight bacterial infections.

Nagkeshar (Mesua ferrea) :

In a study of, the plant to assess its putative sex-steroidal activity, no oestrogenic or progestational activity was found. Its use in menorrhagia may he due to its action on capillaries. Oil is used to treat skin diseases and its local application is also recommended in rheumatism. The plant has been widely used in India.

Diet :

Diet is very important. Aim for a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Cut down on salt to prevent bloating and sugar which may cause your blood glucose levels to swing, affecting your energy and appetite. It may help to cut back on fat which can encourage breast swelling, and caffeine and alcohol, as both can cause mood swings

1. Eat regular, healthy meals including plenty of vegetables, fruit, mixed grains and cereals
2. Drink less caffeine – particularly if you are suffering breast tenderness. Try drinking water instead! (6-8 glasses a day)
3. Cut down on alcoholic beverages
4. Cut down on salt and salty foods to help reduce fluid retention
5. Get enough rest, sleep and exercise
6. Don’t smoke
7. Wear a well fitting cotton bra if you suffer tense, painful breasts.

Yoga to cure PMS:

Cobra (Bhujanga Asana)

The Shoulder Stand (Sarvang Asana)

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