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What is PMS?

Premenstrual Syndrome (better known as PMS) is the name of a group of symptoms that start 7- 14 days prior to a woman’s menstruation. The symptoms stop soon after the period begins. Most women feel some discomfort before their periods. With PMS, however, the individual is usually greatly uncomfortable because of the pain, anxiety, and even depression, that makes it difficult to cope at home or at work, according to The Mayo Clinic.

Some of the symptoms of PMS include:
• Acne
• Bloated abdomen
• Constipation
• Crying spells
• Depression
• Fast heartbeat
• Feeling hungry
• Irritability or tension
• Tired
• Anxiety
• Headache
• Joint pain
• Mood swings
• Lack of interest in sex
• Tender and swollen breasts
• Trouble concentrating
• Trouble sleeping
• Swollen hands or feet
• Desiring to be alone
• Weight gain

Woman with a Migraine

PMS seems to be linked in part to changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. It is not caused by stress or psychological problems. Your doctor may ask you to keep track of your symptoms on a calendar. If your symptoms follow the same patterns it may be PMS. There is no cure for PMS. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and taking medicine may help. Medicines that can be prescribed include diuretics, antidepressants and birth control pills. To read more about PMS, click here.

Diuretics help the body get rid of extra sodium and fluid. They can ease bloating, weight gain, breast and abdominal pain. They are taken just before symptoms normally start. Antidepressants can help with the severe irritability, depression and anxiety that some women have with PMS. Birth control pills help ease the symptoms by ‘evening out’ hormone levels throughout the cycle. Some women’s PMS symptoms get a lot better when taking birth control pills. However, the pill can also cause side effects of its own. Make sure to talk to your doctor about those benefits and risks. Some over the counter pain relievers and diuretics can also help with mild PMS symptoms.

 

Here are some tips to manage and help control PMS symptoms:

  •  Eat complex carbohydrates (such as whole grain breads, pasta and cereals), fiber and protein. Cut back on sugar and fat.
  • Avoid salt for the last few days before your period to reduce bloating.
  • Cut back on caffeine
  • Cut out alcohol
  • Eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones
  • Get aerobic exercise. Work up to 30 minutes 4-6 times / week
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Keep a regular meal schedule

Also, taking calcium pills may reduce symptoms of water retention, cramps and back pain. Taking about 1,000 mg of calcium a day is a good start.

If you have questions about your PMS symptoms or how to better manage them, call the office today at 757-488-3333 to schedule an appointment.

~Dr. Abdelshaheed MD

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