Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) affect 50-75% of women with regular menstrual cycles.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) refers to ladies with cyclical monthly symptoms that lead up to menstruation, and the symptoms entirely relieved by the end of menstruation.

In severe form of PMS, also known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), symptoms include emotional lability with irritability, anger, and internal emotional tension with negative interference to personal and social life.

Symptoms of PMS and PMDD

Symptoms always start after ovulation, worsen as menstruation approaches, resolved within the first few days of menstruation, and will only recur after 12-14 days later.

Physically: The lady may experience breast tenderness, or swelling, abdominal bloating, headache, migraine, fatigue, weight gain, In those with a medical condition, PMS can be associated with worsening asthma with wheeze or triggering a seizure in epilepsy.

Emotionally: The lady can be irritable, angry, tearful, low mood, anxious, increased or decreased in appetite, disturbance with sleep.

Psychosocially: With both physical and emotional symptoms, the lady can have coping difficulties in a personal relationship, social life, and her career.

Are there any tests for PMS and PMDD? How is it diagnosed?

There are no specific tests or blood tests to diagnose PMS. Diagnosis is based on typical medical history and a strong association of symptoms with the menstrual cycle.

What can I do, if I have PMS symptoms?

It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle, having a nutritionally balanced diet, and doing regular exercise.

You are advised to:

  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Reduce intake of caffeine
  • Encourage eating whole grains and high fiber diet
  • Reduce the intake of sugary, fatty, or salty food.
  • Consume sufficient calcium
  • Regular aerobic exercises 30-60 min a day for 4-6 times a week
  • Have adequate sleep
  • Learn good ways of de-stress
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake

Medical treatment for PMS and PMDD

In those with minimal improvement despite healthy lifestyle and dietary changes, you may be referred by your doctor to a psychologist or a counselor for discussion of cognitive-behavioral therapy (A talking treatment where your behaviors are challenged for a new positive change). You may also be recommended hormonal medicines in the form of COCPs (Combined oral contraception pills), patches, or even antidepressants to alleviate your symptoms.

PMS can cause significant functional debilitation in up to 50% of women, with PMDD affecting 5% of the women with PMS. As it is not uncommon, awareness of the syndrome is useful, for one to seek early treatment to make a tremendous difference in their lives.

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