3 in 4 women report symptoms such as anxiety, headaches, acne, fatigue or sadness, among others, when their period approaches; these cases are known as PMS.
In this article we will analyze the causes and symptoms of PMS, including its most severe form, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. We will also detail the treatments and home remedies that can be used to combat these disorders.
Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder
PMS is defined as a diverse set of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms that appear after ovulation, Between one and two weeks before menstruation. They usually stop after the start of the period.
It is estimated that about 80% of women have experienced symptoms of PMS at some point in their lives. It is more common to occur after the age of 30, In women who have had children or who have a history of depression, both personal and family. Symptoms tend to get worse as you approach menopause.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe variant of premenstrual syndrome that affects around 3 to 8% of women of childbearing age. Unlike PMS, PMS is considered pathological in that it interferes with the normal functioning of those who suffer from it.
In 2013, premenstrual dysphoric disorder was included in DSM-5. This conception of disorder he was criticized by many people who believe that it can have negative socio-economic consequences for women and that it was invented by pharmacists to sell drugs. On the contrary, there are those who believe that the existence of this diagnosis will increase awareness of the biological basis of this type of symptoms.
Symptoms and signs
Among the most common symptoms and physical signs we find the appearance of acne breakouts, fatigue, abdominal distension and cramps, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, back pain, muscles and joints, swelling and tenderness breasts, cravings and fluid weight gain.
Psychological symptoms of PMS they include difficulty concentrating, low mood, anxiety, tension, insomnia, irritability, aggression, mood swings, crying, social withdrawal and variations in sexual desire.
Most women who experience symptoms of PMS report that they only suffer from some of the disorders we have mentioned. In general, the pattern of symptom onset is predictable.
For premenstrual dysphoric disorder psychological and emotional symptoms are usually particularly intense; for example, feelings of sadness can become hopeless, and irritability and anger can make it easier for conflicts to arise with other people.
Causes of PMS
The alterations inherent in PMS are linked to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, also called “postovulation”. During this period the unfertilized egg disintegrates and then expels in the bleeding.
In the luteal phase, eggs secrete progesterone, a hormone involved in pregnancy, sex drive, skin tissue regeneration, blood clotting, breast growth, and breast cancer.
One thinks that deregulation of the production of progesterone and other hormones, Which varies in different women, influences the development of PMS. On the other hand, fluctuations in the neurotransmitter serotonin could partly explain symptoms such as fatigue, emotional lability, insomnia, and cravings.
The emotional symptoms would be intensified by the presence of stress or depression, while alterations in sodium, mineral or vitamin levels would increase some of the physical signs, such as fluid retention and the resulting abdominal swelling.
There are also hypotheses that socio-cultural factors could also contribute to the onset of PMS and PMS.
Treatment and remedies
are used different medical and psychological treatments as well as home remedies, To reduce the symptoms of PMS. There is no proper treatment for this syndrome because the effects of hormonal changes are temporary.
Below are the most common and effective treatments for relieving symptoms of MSM.
1. Dietary changes
Limiting salt intake and eating a lot can reduce fluid retention, bloating, and a full stomach. On the other hand, it is recommended to consume foods rich in calcium and complex carbohydrates. Avoid coffee and alcohol it can also relieve some symptoms.
2. Physical exercise
Do moderate aerobic exercise, Such as swimming, biking or brisk walking, is useful in treating fatigue, depression and weight gain. It is recommended to exercise for half an hour a day at least 5 days a week.
3. Stress reduction
To relieve stress and associated symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, irritability and headaches, it is effective sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night and do relaxation exercises. Progressive muscle relaxation, slow, deep breathing, yoga, and massage are options supported by research.
4. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be effective in relieving cramps, cramps and headaches, back pain and breast pain. Ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac fall into this category of pain relievers.
Diuretics such as spironolactone may be recommended to reduce swelling and weight gain caused by water retention in cases where exercise and limitation of salt intake are insufficient.
Research has shown that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, sertraline, or paroxetine, are effective in treating emotional symptoms of PMS. they can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Although the effect of antidepressants is more powerful if taken daily, for moderate cases of PMS it is usually sufficient to do this during the days before menstruation when symptoms are expected. Of course it is essential to have a medical indication to use these products.
7. Hormonal contraceptives
Birth control pills are prescribed for PMS and PMS with severe physical symptoms. However, the consumption of these drugs may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Likewise, it is necessary to have the corresponding medical indication.
8. Nutritional supplements
Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6 Supplements they can help reduce the symptoms of PMS, especially breast tenderness, cramps, and fluid retention.
9. Herbal remedies
Among the most used herbal remedies to treat PMS are ginger, ginkgo, soybeans, St. John’s wort, seaweed, and evening primrose oil.
It should be noted that scientific studies have not approved such therapies yet, so their efficacy, side effects and interactions with other drugs are unclear.
- Dickerson, Lori M .; Mazyck, Pamela J .; Hunter, Melissa H. (2003). “Premenstrual syndrome.” American family physician.
- To do; Lethaby, A; Roberts, H; Mol, BW (2012). “Progesterone for PMS”. The Cochrane systematic review database
- Markens, Susan (1996). “The problem of experience: a political and cultural critique of the SPM”. Gender and society.