Premenstrual Syndrome is defined as the set of physical and behavioural symptoms found in the women, when they are nearing their menstrual cycle. The symptoms can begin well before 2 weeks of onset of the menstrual cycle or just few days before. This changes from woman to woman in both severity and time. Below is the detailed information on PMS.
It mostly affects the women of childbearing age. And most cases are found between teenage to 40 years of age.
The exact cause of PMS still gives a lot of room for research. However few of the predictable causes are said to be associated with the heredity, where the symptoms prevail in the woman if her mother or sister had PMS.
-- The other cause could be difference in the levels of the hormone Serotonin (responsible for moods), particularly lesser than necessary amounts of this hormone could lead to PMS
-- An undiagnosed condition of depression is said to be the crucial culprit in PMS, since the behavioural symptoms of PMS and depression coincide to a great extent.
Physical symptoms :
- Tenderness of breasts
- Joint/muscle pain
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of interest in social activities
- Craving for food, especially junk
- Fluctuations in sleep cycles
Time to see the doctor
The severity in any of above symptoms like suicidal thoughts, insomnia, severe cramps, severe muscle/joint pain etc are unusual and such a condition is called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which is when you should consider seeing a doctor. The severe cases are very rare.
Even in normal cases of PMS, the doctor doesn't follow any particular test to diagnose it. But, a Thyroid test is recommended and you might to asked to chart the symptoms for the whole month, to understand the severity.
Since the sole reason for PMS is not known, the treatment involves handling the symptoms. A doctor would suggest you to do lifestyle changes, by following a thorough exercise routine, healthy diet and cutting down on salt, sugar and chocolates.
If over a period of time, these changes wouldn't seem to impact the syndrome, drugs like hormonal contraceptives (to maintain constant levels of hormones), anti depressants, Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs ( Ibuprofren, Naproxen) are prescribed depending on the severity
Surgery however is still a controversial treatment for PMS, since it is suggested only for PMDD that too, when certain strict conditions of health are met.