It’s estimated that 75% of all women who menstruate have experienced some form of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, a group of symptoms related to monthly periods. These symptoms, which can occur for up to two weeks before menstruation begins, may simply be bothersome, or they may interfere with daily life. The expert team of obstetricians and gynecologists at Plano Texas Gynecology & Obstetrics Associates know how to ease PMS symptoms; they’ve already helped countless women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area get back to their daily lives.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
PMS can cause a wide variety of symptoms, which usually occur in a predictable pattern from month to month. Symptoms can be physical or emotional, and range in intensity from barely noticeable to severe. Most women with PMS experience the same combination of symptoms every month, although intensity may vary.
Common physical symptoms of PMS include:
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Fatigue or temporary insomnia
- Acne breakouts
- Joint or muscle pain
- Swollen hands or feet
- Headaches or backaches
- Upset stomach, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Temporary weight gain
- Appetite changes or food cravings
Common emotional or mental symptoms of PMS include:
- Tension or irritability
- Mood swings or crying spells
- Anxiety or depression
- Angry outbursts
- Social withdrawal
- Confusion or poor concentration
- Diminished sexual desire
What causes PMS?
Medical researchers don’t know the exact causes of PMS, but it’s clear that the hormonal changes that take place during a woman’s menstrual cycle play a key role: The signs and symptoms of PMS change with hormonal fluctuations, and disappear during pregnancy and menopause.
Fluctuations in serotonin, a brain chemical involved in mood states, may also help trigger PMS symptoms. It’s also thought that some women with severe PMS symptoms may have an undiagnosed depression, too. Although depression doesn’t cause PMS, it may make symptoms worse.
How common is PMS?
Although it’s estimated that three in four women have experienced PMS at some point, it’s also estimated that up to 85% of menstruating women experience at least one symptom of PMS every month. Most women with PMS have mild symptoms; severe symptoms affect less than 10% of women.
PMS occurs most often between a woman’s late 20s and early 40s. Women who have at least one child, have a family history of depression, or have had postpartum depression or another mood disorder are more likely to be affected by PMS.
What treatments help PMS?
Mild to moderate PMS symptoms can often be relieved through lifestyle and dietary changes. Getting regular exercise can go a long way in relieving most symptoms, as can eating a whole-foods based diet centered on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. Avoiding sugar, sodium-rich foods, caffeine, and alcohol before your period can also help ease symptoms.
While over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help relieve the minor aches and pains of PMS, women with more severe symptoms may benefit from prescription birth control medication.
Dr. Joseph offers Hormone Pellet Therapy. Call us to book your appointment today.