Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the name given to a complex set of psychological behavioural and physical symptoms which occur one to two weeks before menstruation and last until menstruation begins.
PMS is a common disorder in women. Although many women experience symptoms that are linked to their menstrual cycles, the diagnosis of PMS requires that these symptoms are severe enough to affect a woman's ability to function at home or in the workplace or in her relationships with others. The symptoms occur monthly and may worsen as menstruation approaches and improve when menstruation commences, with a symptom-free phase following menstruation. PMS is distinct from Premenstrual Dysphoria (PMD). PMD is a severe form of PMS with extreme psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety and irritability and it involves a different method of treatment from PMS. PMS can occur at any stage of a woman's menstrual life, but is most frequently experienced by women in their late 20s and 30s. There are a number of proposed causes for PMS, but the exact cause is yet to be established.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Symptoms may include nervous tension and mood swings, depression, water retention, headache, food cravings and breast tenderness. Menstrual cramps are not considered to be a symptom of PMS, but some woman report experiencing cramps with PMS.
As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition. Treatment strategies include either eliminating the hormonal cycle that causes ovulation or treating a woman's symptoms as they occur.
It is a good idea to be examined properly to exclude any pathological or disease process that may be a causative factor. Any bleeding between periods should be investigated for possible fibroids or cervical lesions. Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), nutritional anaemia, iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism can be associated with PMT.
Ask your Pharmacist for advice. 1) Follow the Diet Hints. 2) Ask your Pharmacist for advice about pain relief. Anti-inflammatory medication, for example, may help to relieve painful symptoms. 3) Try using a hot water bottle on the stomach. The warmth has a relaxing effect that may help to ease the pain. 4) Relax as much as possible. A massage may be beneficial. Consider using some aromatherapy oils such as geranium or lavender. 5) Develop a healthy, active lifestyle. 6) Keep the bowels regular. Your Pharmacist might suggest a fibre supplements. 7) Exercise may help to decrease breast pain and fluid retention. 8) If the diet is inadequate consider the supplements suggested in this topic.
See the Premenstrual Syndrome Diet topic on the Healthpoint. - Avoid sugar and caffeine. - Reduce intake of salt, dairy products, margarine and meat. - Magnesium containing foods such as green vegetables nuts and seeds are recommended. - Try to consume easily digested foods. - Have everything as fresh as possible. - Have smaller meals more often. This will lower the desire to eat to excess. - Chromium rich foods are generally suggested. Chromium can help reduce sugar cravings and help to regulate blood sugar levels. These include oysters, mushrooms, raisins, asparagus, prunes and nuts. - Have plenty of fluid during the day. Filtered water is the best.
- Vitamin E may be of benefit for tender breasts. - Evening Primrose Oil, taken in sufficient quantities, may help to relieve inflammatory pain associated with menstrual problems. - Vitamin B complex may help with energy levels, sugar cravings and stress levels. - Magnesium may help relieve period pain. If periods are heavy, then an iron supplement is necessary. - Vitamin D helps regulate oestrogen action. - Vitex agnus-castus may reduce symptoms of PMS by restoring the balance of oestrogen during the second half of the menstrual cycle. - Dong quai is considered a uterine tonic.
The listed essential oils are suggested for the relief of Premenstrual Tension. The most specific oils are shown in capitals. Bergamot, BLUE CHAMOMILE, CHAMOMILE, CLARY SAGE, GERANIUM, Mandarin, Neroli, RoseApplication MASSAGE: Blend any single listed essential oil or combination of several essential oils - 5 drops (total) to 10mL (1/3 fl oz) vegetable carrier oil ie: Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel. Massage into back of neck, shoulders and abdomen or apply as full body massage. BATH: Add 5 drops (total) of any single listed essential oil or combination of several essential oils to warm bath, just before turning off the taps. Agitate water. VAPORISATION: Add 5 drops (total) single essential oil or combination of several essential oils listed to water in oil burner. Please note, essential oils that are pre-diluted in Jojoba oil are not suitable for vaporising.