A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Premenstrual Syndrome, PMS

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has a wide variety of symptoms including mood swings, bloating, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in sex and depression. An estimated three out of every four menstruating women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome. These problems tend to peak from a woman's 20s to her early 40s.

Symptoms tend to recur in a predictable pattern. Yet the physical and emotional changes you experience with premenstrual syndrome may be particularly intense in some months and only slightly noticeable in others.

There is no cure for PMS, but if your symptoms are not severe, certain lifestyle changes can help you manage them. These include: a healthy diet; regular exercise to improve your health and fitness; learning techniques to help relieve stress and  regular sleep.

The exact cause of PMS is not fully understood. However, it is thought to be linked to the changing levels of hormones in the body during a woman's menstrual cycle. The fact that PMS improves during pregnancy and after the menopause, when hormone levels are stable, supports this theory. 
Psychological therapy or hormone medications may be recommended in more severe cases.

You should see your doctor if you are finding it difficult to deal with the symptoms of PMS. They can help determine if you have premenstrual dysphoric disorder PMDD, (PMDD is a more intense type of PMS) and may be able to offer you advice and treatment to manage the symptoms you're experiencing.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies


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