Premenstrual syndrome refers to symptoms that some women feel in the week or two before their period begins. Symptoms usually subside as the period starts. Some women have very mild PMS, while others have severe symptoms. It is estimated that 40% of women experience PMS at some time or other during their fertile years. While PMS is not a disease, it can be debilitating to many women every month.
There are over 150 symptoms of PMS. The most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome may include breast tenderness, irritability, mood swings, bloating, cramping, muscle aches, fatigue, dizziness, headache and nausea or vomiting. You may also experience food cravings, water retention, upset stomach or swelling in the face and extremities. Some women feel depressed, they may cry unexpectedly or have anxiety or anger. Insomnia also affects some women.
The causes of PMS are not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a hormonal imbalance. This can also be affected by vitamin deficiencies, stress, poor diet and more. Eating a more balanced, nutritious diet may help. Get rid of the processed foods, sugar, caffeine, soda and alcohol. You'll be surprised at the difference in how you feel. Regular exercise can help too.
If you take oral contraceptives, PMS may be due to the high levels of hormones that are present with these contraceptives. A severe form of PMS, known as PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder adds some severe symptoms that can be disabling to the people suffering from it, including anxiety, tension, panic attacks, lack of concentration and more.